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Ron Glass, ‘Barney Miller’ and ‘Firefly’ Actor, Dies at 71 (Updated)

Glass was also known for appearances on ”Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.“ and ”Friends“

UPDATED 2:41 p.m. PT: Glass’ agent has confirmed to TheWrap that the actor died on Friday night due to respiratory failure.


Ron Glass, known for his roles on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly,” has died at age 71, TheWrap has confirmed.

Glass was born in Evansville, Indiana, and made his onscreen debut in a 1973 guest spot on “All in the Family.” He would go on to appear on numerous shows over the next few years, including “Maude,” “Hawaii 5-0” and “The Bob Newhart Show.”

His big break, however, came in 1975 when he was cast as Det. Ron Harris on the popular comedy series “Barney Miller” alongside Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, and Steve Landesberg. The series ran for nearly 200 episodes until 1982, with Glass appearing in nearly all of them.

Following the end of “Barney Miller,” Glass would go on to star in “The New Odd Couple” as Felix Unger to Demond Wilson’s Oscar Madison. He continued to work steadily throughout the rest of his life, appearing in numerous TV shows and movies. Notably, Glass had guest roles on “Friends,” “Agents of  S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “CSI.”

Sci-fi fans best know Glass for playing Shepherd Derrial Book on Joss Whedon’s short-lived series “Firefly” and its followup movie “Serenity.” Book’s sage-like wisdom frequently provided the renegade space crew the spiritual guidance they needed.

In addition to his work as an actor, Glass was a leader in the California Buddhist community. He was a prominent member of the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization.