As reported by Deadline, actor and singer Marion Ramsey—best known for playing Officer Laverne Hooks in the long-running Police Academy series—has died. Her death was confirmed by her managers, and though a specific cause of death wasn’t given, Deadline says Ramsey had been “ill in recent days.” Ramsey was 73.
Ramsey got her start as a professional actor in stage productions, appearing in the original Broadway run of Hello, Dolly! and later touring versions. Deadline notes that her career stumbled after co-starring with Bette Davis in the “legendary flop” Miss Moffatt in 1974, but she started to transition to TV and movies around the same time and continued to find regular work—including a return to Broadway in 1978 with the hit biographical musical Eubie! about Eubie Blake.
In 1976, Ramsey made a guest appearance on The Jeffersons and became a series regular on sketch show Cos. In 1984, she landed what would go on to become an atypically regular film gig with her role as Laverne Hooks in the first Police Academy. She would go on to reprise the role the following year for Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, then every subsequent year until 1989 for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth Police Academy movies.
Ramsey continued to have a long career even after Police Academy, often popping up as a police officer, like in MacGyver, Daddy Dearest, and Recipe For Disaster. She also played Hooks again for Robot Chicken in 2006. In 2015 and 2016 she appeared in Syfy’s two Lavalantula movies (loose spin-offs of Sharknado) alongside her Police Academy co-stars Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow.