“Beverly Hills Cop” film series star Gilbert R. Hill has died. He was 84.
Hill, a real-life Detroit policeman, was best known for portraying Eddie Murphy‘s frustrated no-nonsense boss, Inspector Douglas Todd, in the classic 1984 box office hit “Beverly Hills Cop, as well as its sequels, 1987’s “Beverly Hills Cop II” and 1994’s Beverly Hills Cop III.”
According to DeadlineDetroit.com, Hill was battling respiratory problems when he died Feb. 17 at Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital.
“We are relieved that his passing was peaceful and painless,” Hill’s family said in a statement.
In addition to acting, Hill is noted for his service to the city of Detroit, which spanned more than 40 years.
The Birmingham, Ala. native, who rose to head Detroit Police Department’s homicide division, was a political success as president of the Detroit city council. Although he ran for mayor in 2001, Hill ultimately lost to Kwame Kilpatrick.
Natural for role
Hill’s time in front of the camera came through “Beverly Hills Cop” director Martin Brest, who was in Detroit scouting locations for the first film in the cop series. After meeting Hill, who showed him around town, Brest decided on a whim to ask Hill to read a few lines.
At the time, Hill had been a cop for about 25 years.
“I thought, ‘Holy smoke, there could be something here,’” Brest recalled in a January 1985 story for People magazine.
Regarding Hill, Brest noted that “not only was (Hill) able to put out a lot of hot-tempered emotion but, in a subtle way, convey an underlying love, the kind a father would have for a son. That’s difficult for a professional actor, and the fact that Gil was doing it just blew my mind.”