Born: Aug. 27, 1944 in Port Arthur, Texas
G.W. Bailey attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur with both Janis Joplin and Jimmy Johnson. He also attended Lamar University in Beaumont, eventually transferring to Texas Tech in Lubbock. He spent three years at the Lubbock Theatre Center as Artistic Director of the high school workshop program. His wife, June, suggested that he audition for Theater Communications Group, an organization representing repertory companies across the nation. The Chicago audition won him an assignment to the well-known Actor's Theatre of Louisville, where Bailey spent three seasons honing his craft in a wide range of productions, including Next, Macbeth, The Pirates of Penzance, and That Championship Season.
Later, the challenge of films and television brought Bailey to California, where he soon found himself actively involved as a director. During three seasons at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego's National Shakespeare Festival, he appeared as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Ajax in Troilus and Cressida, Frederick in As You Like It, and Kent in King Lear.
It was while appearing in a production of As You Like It that Bailey auditioned for what turned out to be a recurring role as Staff Sergeant Luther Rizzo in M*A*S*H (TV-Series 1979-83).
He has entertained millions worldwide in television and feature films, including a recurring role (Captain Thaddeus Harris) in the Police Academy movies (1984-1994). He returned to college in 1993 and graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, in May 1993, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theatre. For the 1999–2000 school year, he was the Artist-in-Residence.
He appeared in 105 episodes of the television show Major Crimes from 2012 to 2018, reprising his character Detective Lieutenant Louie Provenza from The Closer (2005 - 2012).
Bailey was also the longstanding Executive Director of the Sunshine Kids Foundation, which provides trips and activities for hundreds of young cancer patients annually. He first volunteered with the organization after his goddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia. He is a member of the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Notable People Hall of Fame.