Gerald Castillo, the veteran actor who played the father of Mario Lopez’s AC Slater on the NBC sitcom Saved by the bell, has passed away. He was 90.
Castillo died May 4 at his home in Houston, his wife of 36, Dayna Quinn-Castillo, announced.
Castillo also played Det. Michael Benedict on NBCs Hillstreet blues in 1987, dr. Herrara on CBS’ Landing buttons in 1990 and Judge Davis Wagner on the ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital in 1992-94.
He appeared on many other shows during his career, from All in the family, Barbara Jones, M*A*S*H And Dynasty Unpleasant Night court, Dallas, Hunter And CSI: Crime scene investigation.
On the big screen, Castillo cooperated Through naked eyes (1983), Death Wish 4: The Hard Gig (1987), Kinjite: forbidden subjects (1989), Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990), State of emergency (1994) and Above suspicion (1995). He often portrayed a tough guy.
Fans of Saved by the bell know him for his turn as Major Slater, a military man who was a stern but loving parent to AC. He appeared in comedy in 1989 and ’92.
Born in Chicago on December 23, 1932, Castillo studied acting and directing at his hometown Goodman Theater in the 1960s. He then performed on stages across the country alongside such celebrities as Rita Moreno, Jessica Tandy, James Broderick, Jeanne Crain and Sherman Hemsley.
It was Hemsley who convinced Castillo to move to Los Angeles to pursue a film and television career, appearing in an episode of CBS’ The Jeffersons in 1978 to mark his on-screen debut.
In semi-retirement, Castillo worked in Los Angeles theaters and at the Santa Paula Theater in Ventura County. He was known as “a charismatic and insightful director who would jingle the change in his pocket as he contemplated a scene, then leap onto the stage to elaborate on the block or whisper in an actor’s ear,” his wife noted on.
Castillo acted on screen until 2012 and moved to Houston with his wife a year later.
Survivors also include his grandchildren, Brian and Stephanie, and great-grandsons Allen and Bernie. His daughter Lisa from his first marriage passed away last year.