Actor Ron Glass signs autographs at the Universal Pictures' Premiere of 'Serenity' held at Universal Studios on September 22, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Photo: Frazer Harrison
Photo: Frazer Harrison

Ron Glass, actor known for roles in 'Barney Miller,' 'Firefly,' dead at 71

Ron Glass, a television actor best known for his roles as Detective Ron Harris on the sitcom "Barney Miller" and Shepherd Derrial Book in the 2002 science fiction series "Firefly," has died, according to multiple reports. He was 71 years old.

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Glass' representative confirmed the actor's death to Variety on Saturday. Additional details were not immediately available.

Glass made his first television appearance on "Sanford and Son" in 1972. His prolific resume includes appearances on "Family Matters," "The Twilight Zone," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Friends." He also did voice acting for a number of shows, including "Rugrats" and "The Proud Family."

He landed the role of Harris, an ambitious detective, on "Barney Miller" in 1975, a role he held until the show's end in 1982. He landed a regular role as the spiritual Book in the short-lived 2002 series "Firefly." He reprised the role for the 2005 movie "Serenity," a continuation of "Firefly."

In a 2007 interview on "The American Perspective," Glass called his career "very fulfilling." He learned that he wanted to become an actor while attending the University of Evansville in Indiana, when a professor encouraged him to read for a play because he liked the sound of Glass' voice.

"I've had the opportunity to do a lot of things that I never thought I'd be able to do," Glass told host Judyth Piazza. "For example, being a part of a -- I guess you would call it kind of a cult success -- as far as science fiction is concerned. … It never occurred to me that, that kind of genre would be something that I would be successful in."

Glass said that throughout his career, he had been fortunate to play characters that make people happy.

"The best thing is being able to feel like I have been able to touch people, and been able to make people happy, actually. You know, by doing the work that I do," he said on "The American Perspective."

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