Bill Erwin, 'Seinfeld' Actor, Dies At 96

Written By Rana G on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | 8:57 AM

Bill Erwin, an actor best known for his Emmy-nominated turn as a crotchety old man on "Seinfeld," died at his home in Studio City, California, on Wednesday at 96 of age-related causes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A well-respected character actor whose career spanned films, television and the stage, Erwin starred in a 1993 episode of "Seinfeld," playing an elderly man named Sid Fields with whom Jerry Seinfeld volunteers to spend time. Erwin's portrayal of the foul-mouthed, paranoid shut-in became one of the more memorable guest spots in the show's history. Fields is convinced that the CIA is after him, his maid is stealing his money and Jerry has come to kill him.

"I wasn't born yesterday," Fields says in the episode. "I might drop dead today, but I sure as hell wasn't born yesterday."

Erwin began his career in Hollywood in the early 1950s, popping up in roles on television shows like "I Love Lucy," "Perry Mason" and "Leave It to Beaver." In 1958 he appeared opposite Jack Nicholson in the movie "The Cry Baby Killer," playing Nicholson's father. He went on to amass credits on the stage, winning a 1983 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for "Old Friends," and in TV programs such as "The Twilight Zone," "Gunsmoke," "The Golden Girls," "Growing Pains" and "Who's the Boss?"

In 1980, Erwin played a bellman, to great popular acclaim, in "Somewhere in Time," a time-travel drama starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. But it was his irascible "Seinfeld" appearance that remains his best-remembered entertainment moment. He received an Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category but lost out to David Clennon, who won for his turn on HBO's "Dream On."

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