The Jeffersons actor dies

2015-07-10 14:00

Los Angeles — Irwin Keyes, who was Hugo the bodyguard on TV's The Jeffersons and had a long career playing villains and henchmen, died on Wednesday in Southern California. He was 63.

Talent manager Travis Engle said Keyes died of complications from acromegaly, a hormonal disorder in which the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone. The condition can cause changes in facial bone structure and lead to premature death.

Engle said Keyes had the disorder throughout his life. He spent the last two years living at a rehabilitation center in Playa del Rey. Actor Andre Rene Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant, also had the condition.

Engle called Keyes "probably one of the last of a generation of true character actors".

"There aren't really a lot of them left," he said Thursday.

Keyes was born in New York City and went on to play roles in films including Friday the 13th and House of 1 000 Corpses as well as comedies, action movies and sitcoms. He played a malicious henchmen in the Coen brothers film "Intolerable Cruelty" and Fred and Barney's friend Joe Rockhead in the Flintstones movies.

"Although you may not know his name, you certainly know him and his work," Engle said. "Most of us grew up with him and didn't even know it."

Engle said Keyes was a warm, caring person who liked to stop by his talent manager's office just to say hi. Recently, he completed an autobiography expected to be published in 2016. It will also feature some of Keyes' paintings.

"He was the nicest guy who played some of the meanest characters," Engle said. "In show business, it is very rare to meet someone as kind and gentle as Irwin was."

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