Gerald Castillo, the veteran character actor who portrayed the father of Mario Lopez’s A.C. Slater on the NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell, has died. He was 90.
Castillo died May 4 in his home in Houston, his wife of 36 years, Dayna Quinn-Castillo, announced.
Castillo also played Det. Michael Benedict on NBC’s Hill Street Blues in 1987, Dr. Herrara on CBS’ Knots Landing in 1990 and Judge Davis Wagner on the ABC daytime soap General Hospital in 1992-94.
He showed up on many other shows throughout his career, from All in the Family, Barnaby Jones, M*A*S*H and Dynasty to Night Court, Dallas, Hunter and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
On the big screen, Castillo worked in Through Naked Eyes (1983), Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (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 strict but loving parent to A.C. He appeared on the comedy in 1989 and ’92.
Born in Chicago on Dec. 23, 1932, Castillo studied acting and stage direction at his hometown Goodman Theater in the ’60s. He then performed on stages around the country alongside such luminaries 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, and he appeared on an episode of CBS’ The Jeffersons in 1978 to mark his onscreen debut.
In semi-retirement, Castillo worked in theaters across Los Angeles 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 while he pondered a scene, then leap onto the stage to work out the blocking or whisper in an actor’s ear,” his wife noted.
Castillo acted onscreen through 2012, then 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, died last year.