He was a World War II veteran who had some acting credits, on stage and on TV throughout the 1950s, but wouldn’t gain any measure of fame until more than 30 years later. He went on to play small but pivotal roles in two of the most significant TV series of the 1990s, while three of his children had lengthy careers in Hollywood.
Warren Frost is perhaps best known for playing Dr. Will Hayward, the town doctor, on Twin Peaks, which was co-created by his son, Mark Frost. Dr. Hayward was the father of regular Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle on the show, Moira Kelly in the movie), and also identified the body of Laura Palmer in the series’ pilot episode. Soon after, Ross had a memorable recurring role on Seinfeld as the father of George Constanza’s fiancee, Susan, playing opposite another Twin Peaks alum, Grace Zabriskie.
Frost died Friday, at the age of 91, in his home state of Vermont, as reported by THR, citing a statement from his son, Frost had suffered a lengthy illness. According to the younger Frost’s statement:
“We’re saddened today to announce the passing of our dear old dad, Warren Frost… From the Normandy shores on D-Day to his 50-year career on stage and screen, he remained the same humble guy from Vermont who taught us that a life devoted to telling the right kind of truths can make a real difference in the lives of others. We’re grateful to have shared him with the world for as long as we did.”
Warren Frost was born in Vermont on June 25, 1925. Upon returning from the war, he worked as a stage actor and had occasional TV appearances on such shows as Perry Mason. His credits in the ‘60s and ‘70s are more sparse, but in the ‘80s he appeared on such series as Matlock and L.A. Law.
When Mark Frost co-created Twin Peaks, he cast his father in the role of Dr. Hayward, the town physician who was an unabashed good guy in a series with not a whole lot of them. “The most important thing an actor can have is nepotism. Without it, it’s a very tough road,” Frost said in a 2014 interview, as cited by THR.
After Peaks Frost was cast on Seinfeld as George’s skeptical would-be father-in-law, who owned the cabin that Kramer burned down and had a box of letters from his onetime lover, novelist John Cheever. Also in the 1990s, Frost guest-starred on The Larry Sanders Show as Larry’s father.
In addition to Mark, Warren Frost’s children included actress Lindsay Frost and novelist Scott Frost, who also wrote for Twin Peaks. Lucas Giolito, a major league baseball pitcher with the Chicago White Sox, is Frost’s grandson. Frost was married to his wife, Virginia, for 68 years.
Frost is listed as an actor the upcoming new season of Twin Peaks, in what was ultimately his final role.
R.I.P. Warren Frost- June 25, 1925- February 17, 2016