Marion Ramsey, best known for her role as the sweet and soft-spoken Officer Laverne Hooks in the comedy film franchise Police Academy, died on Thursday (Jan. 7) at her home in Los Angeles. She was 73.
Although the cause of death has yet to be revealed, a rep from Ramsey’s management agency, Roger Paul of Roger Paul Inc., disclosed to Variety that she had recently fallen ill.
“Marion carried with her a kindness and permeating light that instantly filled a room upon her arrival,” Paul wrote in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “The dimming of her light is already felt by those who knew her well. We will miss her, and always love her.”
The Philadelphia native began her career in the theatre appearing in the 1964 Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! She then went on to land a role in the hit Broadway biographical musical about jazz pianist Eubie Blake, Eubie!
Before landing her titular role in Police Academy, Ramsey was seen on The Jeffersons and held a recurring role on the sketch comedy series Cos. She portrayed Officer Hooks, who later went on to become Sgt. Hooks, in all six installments of the franchise from 1984 to 1989.
During an interview in Jan. 2020, Ramsey stated that Michael Jackson inadvertently helped her land the role of Officer Hooks. While working on Little Shop of Horrors, she met Jackson the night before her audition. The script described the character as speaking with a little voice and since she just met the King of Pop, “I based the voice on him, but all the mannerisms … the timidness, I made all of that up.”
She began voice acting in The Addams Family cartoon series and later went on to make guest appearances on Adult Swim shows Robot Chicken and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
It wasn’t until 2015 when she reunited with her Police Academy co-stars Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow in the Syfy movie Lavaluntula and its sequel 2 Lava 2 Lantula!
Ramsey was a strong advocate for HIV AIDS awareness. She is survived by three brothers.