‘The Office’ Star Mark York, Who Played Billy Merchant, Dies At 55

Mark York as Billy Merchant in The Office
NBC/YouTube

Mark York, the actor best known for his role as property manager Billy Merchant in The Office, has passed away at the age of 55.

According to a local obituary, York died in the early morning of May 19 at the Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio after a brief and unexpected illness. He is survived by his mother, Becky; father, Glenn; three brothers, Brian, Jeff and David; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends.

A paraplegic since 1988, York never let his disability get in the way of his dreams. After graduating from Anderson University, he moved from his home state of Ohio to California to pursue a career in acting. His credits include Six Feet Under, Passions, 8 Simple Rules, and CSI: New York. But it was his guest-starring role as Billy Merchant in The Office that fans will best remember.

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Billy first appears in Season 2, when Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott (Steve Carell) brings him into the office for a disability-awareness meeting. Of course, Billy doesn’t play into Michael’s game and the pair end up clashing. The character would become a recurring thorn in the side of Michael in future seasons, appearing in a total of four episodes throughout the series. He eventually sells the Scranton Business Park to Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) at the end of Season 6.

Wilson paid tribute to him on social media, calling him a “terrific human” and “dynamic actor.”

“[York] had such an outgoing, uplifting, positive attitude and personality,” the actor’s obit reads. “He always tried to look at what he could accomplish and do, not what he couldn’t do. He had experienced many travel opportunities and many dreams for the future… He will be deeply missed by all the lives he has touched.”

In recent years, York had been working as an inventor and had obtained two patents for his inventions.