Gil Hill, former Detroit City Council President and actor who played Eddie Murphy’s no-nonsense boss in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise has passed away, The New York Times reports.
Hill, who battled respiratory issues, died peacefully Feb. 17 at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. His family has yet to release the cause of death. Director Martin Brest cast the officer in the film after Hill gave him a tour around the city. Hill starred as Inspector Douglas Todd in the 1984 action-comedy and the sequels that followed.
Brest explained his choice to cast the veteran cop via PEOPLE Magazine:
“Not only was he able to put out a lot of hot-tempered emotion but, in a subtle way, convey an underlying love, the kind a father would have for a son. That’s difficult for a professional actor, and the fact that Gil was doing it just blew my mind.”
The Alabama native was widely respected in the city of Detroit for his off-screen position with the Detroit Police Department. The Detroit Free Press reports that Hill spent over 40 years dedicated to the community. In 1989, he was elected to the City Council and became its president in 1997.
Some of his bigger achievements included the Fare Reduction and Elimination Initiative, an ordinance that allowed senior citizens to ride city buses for free and students to ride for a reduced fare. There was also the Commercial Strip Revitalization Project, which used federal funds to help community groups build businesses in local neighborhoods.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan offered condolences to his family this week.
“Gil Hill spent more than 40 years serving our city in the Detroit Police Department and as a member of the Detroit City Council,” Duggan said. “He never stopped believing in our city, and dedicated his life to making our city a better place for all. Our condolences go out to his family.”
“He was a person who had a deep commitment to the people of the city,” former council member Sheila Cockrel said. “He had an understanding of the average Detroiter’s experience. He was fair. He was a quiet kind of leader in that he really allowed all of the voices on council to be heard.”
In 2001, he lost the mayoral race to Kwame Kilpatrick, but continued to serve the community by visiting churches and taking calls from residents.
Hill is survived by his two sons, a daughter, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Delores Hill, passed away in September 2015.