Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
Actor G.W. Bailey, best known for his roles in the “Police Academy” movies and the cable TV crime drama “The Closer,” will reign as this year’s Bacchus, the Carnival krewe has announced.
Bailey’s recent career highlights have included a starring role on the TNT cable drama “The Closer.” He appeared in all episodes during the show’s seven-season run. Bailey now stars in a spinoff, “Major Crimes,” continuing his role as Detective Lt. Louie Provenza.
Police roles have been his trademark, including Lt. (later promoted to Capt.) Thaddeus Harris, the Police Academy character in five of the popular 1980s movies.
His other law enforcement roles have included Sgt. Rizzo in M*A*S*H and Capt. Felix Maxwell in the 1980s movie "Mannequin."
Bailey is also one of the founders and current executive director of The Sunshine Kids Foundation, a non-profit for young cancer patients. Several Sunshine Kids are expected to make the trip to New Orleans to ride with Bailey in the parade. Bailey has worked with the group for more than 15 years, since being introduced to the organization by his goddaughter, who was diagnosed with leukemia.
"G.W.'s commitment to young cancer patients ties in well with Bacchus' work each year at Children's Hospital," said krewe captain Pip Brennan. "We know G.W. is looking forward to both meeting the patients at Children's and reigning over Mardi Gras' premier parade."
Bacchus introduced the celebrity monarch concept in 1969, with Danny Kaye as the first god of wine.
Popular Bacchus monarchs in recent years have included Drew Brees and actors Will Ferrell, James Gandolfini, Andy Garcia and Val Kilmer.
Favorites from years past include Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Perry Como, Kirk Douglas, and Ed McMahon.
Bacchus rolls on Feb. 10 on the Uptown parade route.