Mark York, the actor who played Billy Merchant on The Office, died last week at age 55. TMZ reports that York, a paraplegic since 1988, died "quickly" at an Ohio hospital after falling ill, but that his cause of death is not clear. His obituary says the ailment was "brief and unexpected." York, who grew up in Ohio but came to California to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, also had roles on TV shows including CSI: New York, 8 Simple Rules, and Fighting Words. York's recurring Office character was the property manager of the office park containing Dunder Mifflin, Deadline reports.
York's website says that the "almost fatal, life-changing auto accident" that left him paralyzed also gave him "a new lease on life," and that, in his acting career, he tried "to open the minds of casting directors, and others in Hollywood, to also see a wheelchair-user in real-life roles such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and such, because...well, they are." More recently, he had worked as an inventor, getting two patents for his inventions. (Read more obituary stories.)