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Obituary: Gerald F. Simon

Gerald Simon, an actor whose work in scores of television commercials made him a familiar face to millions, died on Friday. He was 71. His wife, Elizabeth, said Mr. Simon died at a Long Island hospital after a prolonged illness.

Mr. Simon was born in Chicago on July 15, 1938. As a child he was fascinated by acting after his grandmother made him a red cape when he was cast to play Pontius Pilate in a school passion play. Bitten by the acting bug, he studied drama at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, and Catholic University in Washington, DC.

Mr. Simon had a busy career on stage, where he performed with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, the National Players, the Washington Shakespeare Festival and in various off-Broadway plays. He was probably best know for his television work, playing a host of quirky characters in numerous television commercials and Saturday Night Live short films. In addition to television roles, Mr. Simon appeared in several motion pictures including Sweet Charity, Working Girl and Wall Street.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Simon is survived by his four children and their three grandchildren.