Richard Erdman, known among classic film buffs for the war dramedy “Stalag 17” but remembered by millennials for his work on “Community” as Greendale’s smart-alecky Leonard Rodriguez, died Saturday. He was 93.
Film historian Alan K. Rode broke the news on Twitter Saturday, stating simply, “Goodbye pal. Dick Erdman 1925-2019.” No additional information on his passing were given.
Erdman won over a new generation with his debut in “Community”‘s fifth episode “Advanced Criminal Law.” During one of his custom end-of-episode speeches, Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger declared that everyone at Greendale was nuts, to which Leonard yelled from the school’s swimming pool, “Not me!”
“Oh, come on, Leonard. If you’re gonna argue with me, put on a bathing suit,” said Jeff, to which Leonard only replied “Busted!”
Over the course of the series, Erdman’s performance as Leonard became one of “Community”‘s most beloved gags. He would interrupt a scene with a sarcastic swipe at the main characters, to which one of them — usually Jeff — would shoot him down. Sample line: “Shut up, Leonard! Those teenage girls you play ping-pong with are doing it ironically!”
“Community” cast members have joined with fans in honoring the late actor’s legacy. McHale praised Erdman as “such a good & funny man,” while Ken Jeong posted a highlight reel of some of Leonard’s funniest moments. Check out that reel and more tweets honoring Richard Erdman below.
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) March 17, 2019
Ugh, awful. I just looked at his IMDb 2 days ago and was reminded about what a legend he was. Sweet, funny and game for anything. Plus great Brando stories. What more was there even left to do? RIP to legend & friend Richard Erdman. #shutupleonard https://t.co/MwuubntCLp
— Charley Koontz (@charley_koontz) March 17, 2019
— Blayz (@jusblayz_) March 17, 2019
I guess Leonard did finally shut up ????
— Goose is my Spirit Animal (@goatboyuk) March 17, 2019
A proud moment in the history of the AV Club's Community comments section: this photo of Richard Erdman holding up a copy of @tvoti's 2012 article on the "Regional Holiday Music" recap hitting 30,000 comments.
R.I.P. Leonard. pic.twitter.com/jHj8WkHWzi
— Greendale AV Club (@AVClubCZ) March 17, 2019