The Office actor Mark York is dead at 55

The Office actor Mark York, who went toe-to-toe with series star Steve Carell, is dead at 55

  • York is best known for playing building owner Billy Merchant on NBC’s modern classic workplace comedy The Office
  • He played opposite star Steve Carell on season two’s The Injury, one of the show’s most popular episodes
  • The actor, whose lower body was paralyzed, also had small roles on CSI: NY, 8 Simple Rules and in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • He succumbed to a ‘brief and unexpected illness’ on May 19 at age 55
  • York was born and raised in Ohio, before moving to California to pursue acting
  • In recent years he had moved back to Ohio and focused on being an inventor 

Mark York, who contributed to some of The Office’s best-loved early episodes, has died at age 55.

The actor was at Ohio’s Miami Valley Hospital when he succumbed to a ‘brief and unexpected illness’ on May 19, according to his obituary.

York was raised in Ohio before heading west to California, where he picked up a series of television roles on shows including CSI: NY and 8 Simple Rules, though it was NBC’s iconic workplace comedy that he’s best known for.

TV star: Mark York, who contributed to some of The Office’s best-loved early episodes, has died on May 19 at age 55

The actor, whose lower body had been paralyzed since 1988, is best known for appearing in The Injury, a season-two episode of The Office that ranks among its funniest and most popular.

He played Billy Merchant, the owner of the office building in which the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin was located. 

After Michael Scott (Steve Carell) injured his foot by stepping on a hot George Foreman Grill, he put on a hasty conference session with the employees about disability, only to compare his mild foot injury to Billy’s paralysis.

York’s used an effective deadpan in his showcase scene to put Michael in his place while getting in a few great lines of his own to stand up against the comedy legend.

Fan favorite: The actor, whose lower body had been paralyzed since 1988, is best known for appearing in The Injury, a season-two episode of The Office that ranks among its funniest and most popular; still from The Office

Yikes: After Michael Scott (Steve Carell) injured his foot by stepping on a hot George Foreman Grill, he put on a hasty conference session with the employees about disability, only to compare his mild foot injury to Billy’s paralysis; still from The Office

‘Let me ask you something, how long does it take for you to do something simple, every day, like brush your teeth in the morning?’ Michael asks at one point to illustrate Billy’s disability.

‘I don’t know, like 30 seconds?’ he replies.

‘Oh my God, that’s three times as long as it takes me,’ Michael says.  

York was also featured briefly in season two’s Casino Night, the season four episode Fun Run, and then finally in the fifth season’s Dream Team.

That episode saw him finding a new office space for Michael and his receptionist Pam Beasley (Jenna Fischer) after they left Dunder Mifflin to start a rival paper company.

In addition to his TV work, York also had an uncredited role in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence. 

 Early run: York was also featured briefly in season two’s Casino Night, the season four episode Fun Run, and then finally in the fifth season’s Dream Team; still from The Office

Sports obsessive: He was also an avid sports fan and a devotee of the Cincinnati Reds, the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team and Ohio State’s football team; seen at Dwight Schrute’s desk on the Office set

According to his funeral home obituary, York had been focusing on working as an inventor in recent years and had secured two patents.

His final acting credits appear to be his Office episodes, with the last airing in 2009.

He was also an avid sports fan and a devotee of the Cincinnati Reds, the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team and Ohio State’s football team.

York attended Anderson University, a Christian college located in the Indiana city of the same name.

After doing some print modeling, he moved to California to pursue his dreams of film and television stardom.

York is survived by his parents Glenn and Beck York and his brother Brian York.

Going west: After doing some print modeling, he moved to California to pursue his dreams of film and television stardom; seen with The Office’s Steve Carell

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