Mark York, an actor and inventor famed for playing Billy Merchant on “The Office” opposite Steve Carell, has died. He was 55.
The actor passed away in the “early morning of May 19th at Miami Valley Hospital following a brief and unexpected illness,” according to an obituary posted by Kreitzer Funeral Home, which is located near his hometown of Arcanum, Ohio, where he grew up.
The exact cause of death has not been disclosed at this time.
York played Merchant — properties manager of the Scranton office park where Dunder Mifflin is located — during seasons 2 through 5 of NBC’s cult classic sitcom. His recurring character was, like York, a paraplegic, and experienced many an awkward encounter with Carell’s bumbling branch manager Michael Scott.
York had been paraplegic since 1988 when he suffered “an almost fatal, life-changing auto accident,” according to the bio on his personal web site. That near-death experience led him back to school — and into acting.
“He had such an outgoing, uplifting, positive attitude and personality. He always tried to look at what he could accomplish and do, not what he couldn’t do,” his obit reads. “He had experienced many travel opportunities and many dreams for the future. In the past several years, he had been working as an inventor, and had obtained two patents for his inventions.”
The Arcanum High School alum was a triple major graduate from Anderson University in nearby Indiana, where he had done some print modeling before he was encouraged by several friends to head west to pursuing acting in California.
Credited as Marcus A. York on his IMDb profile, the actor also guest starred on “CSI: New York” and “8 Simple Rules” with John Ritter and appeared in uncredited roles in Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” and the 1997 indie “Going All the Way,” opposite Ben Affleck.
He was “an avid sports fan, ALL sports” — but especially liked the Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State football and Kentucky Wildcats basketball.
“Mark also loved coming home to his mom’s house and playing numerous table games with her and his brother Brian for hours on end,” according to the family statement. “He was a competitive spirit that kept them laughing throughout their time together. He will be deeply missed by all the lives he has touched.”
York is survived by his brother Brian York, mother Becky York, father Glenn York, as well as “numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends.”
In lieu of flowers, York’s family asks that memorial contributions be made to Spinal Cord Research Advancement at SCICure.org. Email condolences can be shared online at be KreitzerFuneralHome.com.