Steve Landesberg, second from right, is seen in Hollywood in 2005 surrounded by some of his Barney Miller colleagues, including, from left, Ron Glass, Max Gail and Hal Linden. The TV classic was honoured with a Wall of Fame Plaque installation at Sunset Gower Studios. ((Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images))

Former standup comedian and veteran actor Steve Landesberg, perhaps best known for his role as an intellectual detective on 1970s police sitcom Barney Miller, has died at age 65.

Landesberg died Monday, according to his agent, Jeffrey Leavitt. No cause of death was given, but U.S. media reported he had been battling cancer.

"He was a wonderful comic and superb actor who gave so much of himself in every performance," said Shirley Jones, who appeared opposite Landesberg in the TV drama The Cleaner in 2009.

A New Yorker born in 1945, Landesberg rose to prominance as part of the city's standup scene during the 1970s, alongside contemporaries such as Freddie Prinze and Jimmy Walker.


One of Steve Landesberg's final roles was as a therapist on the improvised comedy series Head Case. ((Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images) )

In 1975, he landed what might be considered his most successful role: Det. Arthur Dietrich, the calm, know-it-all cop amid a Greenwich Village precinct full of eccentrics on the New York cop show Barney Miller. He remained with the series until it ended in 1982.

He went on to be a familiar face on television, with the curly haired, bespectacled actor turning up on shows like The Rockford Files, Cosby, The Golden Girls, Law and Order, Seinfeld, Everybody Hates Chris and The Ghost Whisperer.

Among his most recent roles were as a pediatrician in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, his portrayal of a therapist in the improvised comedy series Head Case and a featured appearance on drama The Cleaner (for which Jones and Landesberg portrayed an alcoholic married couple and nightclub act).

"Working with Steve was an honour both personally and professionally. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed," Leavitt said in a statement.

With files from The Associated Press