Edward Herrmann, the towering, melodious-voiced actor who brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to life in films and documentaries, won a Tony Award and charmed audiences as the stuffy dad on TV's "Gilmore Girls," died Wednesday. He was 71.
Herrmann died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital of brain cancer, said his son, Rory Herrmann. The actor, who had been hospitalized for several weeks, was surrounded by family members including his wife, Star, and his three children, his son said.
"He was full of knowledge and kindness and goodness. ... He always wanted to share the great and beautiful things in life," said Rory Herrmann. That included art, music and classic cars.
The 6-foot-5 actor's favorite role was playing President Roosevelt, his son said, which he did in projects including the TV movies "Eleanor and Franklin" (1976) and its sequel "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (1977) and in the 1982 movie musical "Annie."
Herrmann also provided the voice for FDR in Ken Burns' documentary series "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History," which aired on PBS last year.
His urbane tones were heard on other documentaries and on hundreds of audio books including Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken." He had recently narrated a documentary on cancer, Rory Herrmann said.
He appeared frequently on the big screen, in major films including "Reds" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," and was an acclaimed stage actor whose Tony-winning performance came in 1976 for a revival of "Mrs. Warren's Profession" opposite Lynn Redgrave.
Television was also a familiar home, with appearances on "The Good Wife" and "How I Met Your Mother. His best-known role came on the 2000-07 series "Gilmore Girls," on which he portrayed the patrician father of a single mother, played by Lauren Graham.
Besides his wife and son, Herrmann's survivors include daughters Ryen and Emma. A private funeral was planned, followed by a public memorial early next week, Rory Herrmann said.