Daniel von Bargen, an accomplished stage actor who turned to the screen and eventually TV — most famously as “Mr. Kruger” on “Seinfeld" -- has died, according to various reports, including one in People that has this statement:
“We are learning of this event at the same time as the rest of the industry and are deeply saddened to hear of Daniel's loss,” his voice-over agents at Access Talent said in a statement to the magazine.
Mr. Kruger, as Seinfeldiacs know so well, was George's excessively lackadaisical boss at Kruger Industrial Smoothing — which rather haplessly attempted to “get the green stuff off the Statue of Liberty.” Full details here at Wikisein. He was also Commandant Spengler on “Malcolm in the Middle.”
But von Bargen's funny, softheaded portrayal of the boss who just couldn't give a damn was but one of so many radically different characters over a long career — believe me, you've seen him many times, but may just not immediately place the face. His IMDB bio describes his thusly, and accurately:
“A character actor who seems to pop up everywhere as the stereotypical cop, military officer and/or tough guy, Von Bargen can turn in performances of stunning complexity when given the chance.”
His TV-screen work was preceded by a long stage career; for example, Newsday's Linda Winer favorably reviewed his performance in the 1993 show biz satire, “The Treatment,” by Martin Crimp, writing:
“The story belongs to Anne (Angie Phillips), a lanky, rural-looking New Yorker who answers an ad for personal stories. It was placed by a couple of slick, downtown, independent producers, Jen (Randy Danson) and her husband, Andrew (played with persuasive self-importance by Daniel von Bargen), who whisk Anne into a world of gray-on-gray Tribeca offices, sushi lunches and head-spinning manipulation. Anne has escaped from Avenue X, where her blue-collar husband, Simon (Rob Campbell), has kept her bound and gagged — “silenced,” she puts it — while he wore a leather mask and talked to her about the beauty of life.”
His story is a tragic one indeed: He attempted suicide almost exactly three years ago, just before he was to go into the hospital for toe amputation related to diabetes. The People report, without giving cause of death, did offer this statement from his agent:
“For the past five years, he had been grappling with health issues that precluded his active pursuit of work.” Von Bargen was 64.
Check out this nice Kruger compilation, by a true-blue “Seinfeld” fan: