The Jeffersons Actor Irwin Keyes Dies

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Actor Irwin Keyes, arrives at Autonomous Films premiere Of "Wristcutters: A Love Story" held at Paramount Studios on October 9, 2007 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Automomous Films)

The Jeffersons Actor Irwin Keyes Dies

Veteran performer lost battle with acromegaly at 63.

Published July 9, 2015

Veteran character actor Irwin Keyes, best recognized as bodyguard Hugo Mojelewski on the hit '70s sitcom The Jeffersons, has died. The actor passed away at his Playa del Rey home at the age of 63, Variety reports. Keyes lost his battle with acromegaly, a pituitary gland disorder, and had recently spent months in a treatment center fighting the disease.

A New York City native, Keyes caught the acting bug in college and went on to have a career spanning nearly four decades. Apart from The Jeffersons, he appeared on television series including Laverne & Shirley, Married With Children, Growing Pains, and CSI, and films such as The Warriors, The Flintstones, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.


Keyes found a niche in horror films like House of 1000 Corpses and Friday the 13th, in which he often played the villain. The characterization was a far cry from his real-life persona, his longtime manager, Phil Brock, tells EW.

“People would look at him and be instantly afraid of him and then they would meet him, talk to him and instantly love him,” said Brock, who worked with Keyes for 20 years and described him as a “dear and close friend.” “He would play villains, but he had the kindest heart of all.”

Keyes is survived by his wife, Tracy Fontaine.

(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Automomous Films)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


Latest in news