Fans of classic 1980’s movies are in mourning, as Gil Hill is dead. The real-life Detroit police officer that appeared alongside Eddie Murphy in the ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ movies passed away after battling pneumonia and respiratory problems. He was 84.
Gil Hill may have only starred in three films, but since they were the Beverly Hills Cops movies, three was all he needed to become a pop culture icon. Sadly, the real life police officer that gave grief to Eddie Murphy, 54, in those movies has died.
Gil was admitted to DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on Feb. 17 with pneumonia, according to PEOPLE magazine. He was in critical condition and sadly, passed away at 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 29. Gil had battled respiratory problems for years, and had recently undergone treatment for a lung condition. His heartbroken family said that they “are relieved that his passing was peaceful and painless. We ask that you pray for the family and respect our privacy during this very difficult time.”
Though Eddie played a copy when he took on the role of Axel Foley in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop, Gil was the real deal! The movie’s director, Martin Brest, was in Detroit to scout locations when he met Gil, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He asked Gil, the officer assigned to showing him around, to read a few lines on a lark.
“I thought, ‘Holy smoke, there could be something here,'” Martin said. “Not only was [Gil] 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.” Gil was then cast as Inspector Douglas Todd, and the rest is 80’s movie history.
While some officers would trade in the badge for the big screen, Gil didn’t pursue acting beyond the Beverly Hill Cops films. Instead, Gil felt loyalty to the people of his city. He would become the head of the homicide division of the Detroit Police Department and he was elected to the city council in 1989.
“Gil Hill spent more than 40 years serving our city in the Detroit Police Department and as a member of the Detroit City Council,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said to Deadline Detroit. “He never stopped believing in our city and dedicated his life to making our city a better place for all.”
Our thoughts and condolences go out to Gil’s family and friends during their time of loss.