Riverdale model, actor George ‘Chip’ Delaney Jr., dies at 56

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George Delaney Jr., may actually be one of the most famous faces to come out of Riverdale. 

The model and actor, known to this friends and family as Chip, may have been born in Manhattan in March 1961, but he was a Riverdalian through his mid-30s.

Delaney, however, died June 16, at his home in Chelsea. He was 56.

Delaney attended St. Gabriel Elementary School and Riverdale Country School before getting a degree in economics from Tufts University in 1983. While growing up in Riverdale, Delaney was very much an all rounder. A good student who attended school on a full scholarship, he also was a star pitcher in high school and college, as well as a member of his high school’s football team. 

“Chip was really a popular person. He got along with everybody,” said his younger brother, Andrew Delaney. ”He always smiled, (and he was) not a person who would get angry. He’s kind of a very easygoing person who was popular, and you know, he loved Riverdale, he loved everything about it.

“Even later in life he really had his heart in Riverdale and the school.” 

Chip picked up his nickname the day he was born, courtesy of his aunt Eileen Varriale remarking that he looked like a “Chip.” 

His connection to Riverdale flowed through many channels. Delaney was involved with the Riverdale Neighborhood House, played in local Little Leagues, spent time in Van Cortlandt Park, and his family was part of the Riverdale Yacht club. 

Chip came from a family well-known in their own right. His father, George J. Delaney Sr., once ran for the state senate and was president of the Riverdale Republican Club. Andrew likened him to “a big fish in a small pond,” albeit without the insinuation that he could only succeed within the confines of a relatively small neighborhood like Riverdale.

Delaney’s modeling career began quite serendipitously. During his high school sophomore year, he was stopped on the street by a scout for New York modeling agency Ford Models. Before long, he was one of their top male models featured in covers and spreads in the likes of GQ, Popular Mechanics, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and Harper’s Bazaar.  

After graduating high school in 1979, Delaney moved to Boston to attend Tufts Universitywhile continuing his career with the Hart Agency, adding brands like Jordan Marsh, Filene’s and Calvin Klein to his already impressive resume. 

Once he graduated, Delaney took his talents to television and the big screen. As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Delaney popped up in several films including “Shaft” in 2000 that starred Samuel L. Jackson, “The Pallbearer” in 1996 with David Schwimmer and Gwyneth Paltrow, and “The Peacemaker” in 1997 with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. 

“I couldn’t believe it, looking at his portfolio, all of the things he accomplished,” Andrew said.

Delaney was remembered at Riverdale-on-Hudson Funeral home June 22. He was buried next to his mother in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne.

Besides Andrew, Delaney is survived by two other younger brothers — Paul and John — along with uncle Philip Varriale and aunt Eileen Varriale, along with cousins, a niece and nephews. 

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