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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Bill Erwin, otherwise known as 'the old man' from 'Seinfeld,' dies

By Jen Chaney

Bill Erwin was a character actor with a lengthy, varied resume that included appearances in everything from "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Home Alone" to episodes of "Perry Mason" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

But above all else, he was known as Sid Fields, the cranky old man to whom Jerry Seinfeld attempts to offer companionship in the episode "The Old Man."

Erwin died over the holidays at 96. He passed away on Dec. 29, and the L.A. Times reported his death on Jan. 1, but the news is spreading today on the Internet, conferring Google "hot topic" status on Erwin.

In his honor, let's remember Erwin's Emmy-nominated work on that classic, season-four "Seinfeld" episode, a turn that allowed him to bite Kramer in the arm, have his dentures destroyed by a garbage disposal and call Jerry a fool and an idiot.

Enjoy some of his work here:

And more of it in this YouTube clip.

By Jen Chaney  | January 4, 2011; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Obits, TV  
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Everybody has had a neighbor or a relative like this guy in their lives at one time or another.

Posted by: signof4 | January 4, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The first time I ever saw Bill Erwin was in the movie "Somewhere In Time" 1980 ( with Jane Seymour & Christopher Reeve )---he played the elderly kind hotel bellhop. He always reminded me of a grandfatherly type---the kind that would always help you no matter what (like the grandfather in "Meet Me In St. Louis" 1944).

Posted by: gailschumacher | January 4, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: strade65 | January 4, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I loved this guy. He was terrific in a Kevin Bacon flick called "She's Having a Baby." He memorable said, "People don't mature anymore. They stay jackasses all their lives."

He was also in a short film called "The Frightening Frammis," in which he hustles a hustler (Peter Gallagher) playing cards on a train.

A wonderful actor.

Posted by: rbmurals | January 4, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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