Tustin papal impersonator/actor Greytak, 84, dies

Gene Greytak, a retired real estate broker whose resemblance to Pope John Paul II turned him into a papal impersonator in movies and on television, has died. He was 84.

Greytak died Sunday at his home in North Tustin of cancer, his wife of 62 years, Dorothy, told the Los Angeles Times.

He was a lifelong Catholic who at first was reluctant to become a celebrity impersonator despite the obvious physical similarities and the encouragement of family and friends, The Times reported.

"It took me about five years to get up enough courage," he told the Orange County Register in 1987.

Greytak appeared on late-night television with Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall and in several series in the 1980s and '90s, including "Ally McBeal," "Picket Fences," "Murphy Brown," "Golden Girls," "Alf" and "Night Court," according to The Times.

His movie bits included "Sister Act" in 1992 and "Naked Gun 33 1/3: the Final Insult" in 1994, the newspaper reported.

He also appeared at birthday parties, telethons, reunions and charity events.

Greytak is survived by his wife, two sons, a sister and three grandchildren, The Times reported.

There will be a viewing from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Fairhaven Memorial Park and Mortuary in Santa Ana, according to the newspaper. Services will be at 1 p.m. March 13 at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange.

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