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Paul Napier, First Mr. Goodwrench in General Motors Ads, Dies at 84

Image: Paul Napier, First Mr. Goodwrench in General Motors Ads, Dies at 84
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 01:13 PM

Paul Napier, the actor recognized as the first "Mr. Goodwrench" in General Motors ads who appeared in more than 400 commercials and televisions shows in the 1970s and 1980s, died Saturday after collapsing in front of his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

Napier was an active member of the Screen Actors Guild and he even received the Ralph Morgan Award in 2010. It's the top honor given out by SAG's Hollywood Division, according to Variety.

The actor originated the Mr. Goodwrench character for General Motors in 1977, which was later played by a variety of actors, including Stephen Colbert in 2003, noted The New York Times. General Motors used the character for more than three decades before phasing out Mr. Goodwrench in 2010.

"Paul's successful acting career is just one facet of a deeply engaged and engaging person," SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard told Variety, noting that Napier served on the AFTRA board for nearly three decades.

"Whether it was dedication to coaching youth sports, serving fellow union members or helping to create our highly respected awards show, everything Paul touched was better for his involvement," Howard continued. "He gave so much to SAG-AFTRA and to his fellow members. Our deepest condolences go out to his wonderful wife Marie, his children and grandchildren, and his many friends and fans."

Along with his commercials and work with the actor's union, Napier's acting credits also include work on "Kojak," "Dynasty," "Knots Landing," "L.A. Law," and "Coach." His film work included "Old Grace," "The Secret Life of an American Wife," and "Time Changer."

After graduating from Cornell University, he broadcasted sporting events for WBBF-AM in Rochester, New York, before moving out to Hollywood in 1960, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Bill Napier, Paul Napier's nephew and an assistant Monroe County executive in New York, told the newspaper that his uncle would regularly come back to the Rochester area to meet with old friends.

"He never really became a guy anybody knew his name off the top of their tongue, but he was admired and revered by his colleagues," Napier said. "Paul was a just a guy with a bright smile and happy demeanor. You never saw him have a cross word with anybody. He was always a joy to be with."

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Paul Napier, the actor recognized as the first "Mr. Goodwrench" in General Motors ads who appeared in more than 400 commercials and televisions shows in the 1970s and 1980s, died Saturday after collapsing in front of his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.
paul napier, mr goodwrench, dies
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2015-13-24
Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 01:13 PM
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