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Nehemiah Persoff
Nehemiah Persoff in 1960
Born August 2, 1919(1919-08-02) (age 102)
Jerusalem, Israel
Residence Cambria, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1947–1999
Spouse(s) Thia Persoff (1951–present)
Children 4
Signature

Nehemiah Persoff (born August 2, 1919) is a retired American actor.

Early life[]

Born in Jerusalem, Persoff emigrated with his family to the United States in 1929. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, he worked as a subway electrician, maintaining signals while he began to pursue his acting career in the New York Theater. In 1947, he was accepted into the Actors Studio and eventually began his acting career in 1948.[1]

Acting career[]

One of his first notable roles was as the gangster boss "Little Bonaparte", a parody of Benito Mussolini[2] in Billy Wilder's film classic Some Like It Hot (1959; since the death of Tony Curtis, Persoff is the last surviving member of the credited cast). He appeared in supporting roles in films such as The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) and The Comancheros (1961). In the film Yentl (1983), Persoff portrayed Barbra Streisand's character's father, also the comedy film Twins (1988) and the American Tail (animated-film series) as Papa Mousekewitz. His last movie was 4 Faces, which was the last film to be directed by Ted Post.

His many television credits include Five Fingers ("The Moment of Truth"), The Big Valley ("Legend of a General", Parts I & II, episode), Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Heart of Gold" episode), The Twilight Zone ("Judgment Night"), The Untouchables, Naked City, Route 66 (two episodes), Seaway ("Last Voyage" episode, 1965), The Legend of Jesse James, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Gunsmoke, Gilligan's Island (1965), The Wild Wild West, The High Chaparral ("Fiesta" episode, 1970), Hawaii Five-O (7 episodes), Ellery Queen ("The Adventure of the Pharaoh's Curse" episode), Mission: Impossible (3 episodes), Adam-12 ("Vendetta" episode), and The Mod Squad.

In the mid-1980s, when health problems decreased his acting workload, Persoff pursued painting, specializing in watercolor.

Personal life[]

He retired from acting in 1999 and devoted his full-time to his painting. He currently lives with his wife, Thia, in Cambria, California.[3] They have four children.

Television and filmography[]

  • The Naked City (1954) uncredited
  • On the Waterfront (1954) as Cab Driver - uncredited
  • The Harder They Fall (1956)
  • The Wrong Man (1956)
  • The Wild Party (1956)
  • Mayerling (1957)
  • Men in War (1957)
  • The Badlanders (1958)
  • Never Steal Anything Small (1959)
  • Green Mansions (1959)
  • Al Capone (1959)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • The Untouchables (1959-1963)
  • Day of the Outlaw (1959)
  • The Twilight Zone (episode "Judgment Night") (1959)
  • The Comancheros (1961)
  • Thriller (episode "The Fingers of Fear") (1961)
  • The Hook (1963)
  • Fate Is the Hunter (1964)
  • Rawhide (episode "Incident of the Wanderer") (1964)
  • The Tenderfoot (1964) for Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
  • Seaway (episode "Last Voyage") (1965)
  • The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
  • Gilligan's Island (episode "The Little Dictator") (1965)
  • Mr. Novak, as Henry Selkirk in "Enter a Strange Animal" (1965)
  • The Time Tunnel, as Prof. Anton Biraki in "Secret Weapon" (1966)
  • Gunsmoke (6 episodes) (1965-1975)
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (episode "Deadly Creature Below") (1966)
  • Too Many Thieves (1967)
  • The Day of the Owl (Il giorno della civetta) (1968)
  • The Wild Wild West (episode "The Night of the Undeground Terror") (1968)
  • The Power (1968)
  • Hawaii Five-O (episode "Deathwatch") (1968)
  • The Money Jungle (1968)
  • The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1969)
  • The Mod Squad (1969 - 1972)
  • The People Next Door (1970)
  • The High Chaparral (1970 - Fiesta)
  • Mrs. Pollifax-Spy (1971)
  • Red Sky at Morning (1971)
  • Adam-12 (1972) Angelo Covelli
  • Mannix (episode "A Puzzle for One") (1972)
  • Hawaii Five-O (episode "Will the Real Mr. Winkler Please Die") (1973)
  • The Missiles of October (1974)
  • The Stranger Within (1974)
  • Hawaii Five-O (episode "Charter for Death") (1975)
  • Psychic Killer (1975)
  • Voyage of the Damned (1976)
  • Columbo (episode "Now You See Him...") (1976)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (2-part episode "Death Probe") (1977)
  • Hunter (episode "The Hit") (1977)
  • Quincy, M.E. (1977)
  • Barney Miller (1977)
  • McCloud (1977)
  • Charlie's Angels (1977 – as Anton Metzger in episode "Angels in the Wings")
  • Land of the Giants (1969 - as Titus in episode "Land of the Lost")
  • Little House on the Prairie (1978)
  • Logan's Run (1978 – Turnabout)
  • The Word (1978)
  • Battlestar Galactica (1979)
  • Barney Miller (1979)
  • Hawaii Five-O (1978-79 – Number One with a Bullet, Parts 1 and 2)
  • The Rebels (1979)
  • The French Atlantic Affair (1979)
  • Condominium (1980)
  • Fantasy Island (episode "Aphrodite") (1980)
  • St. Helens (1981)
  • O'Hara's Wife (1982)
  • Sadat (1983)
  • Yentl (1983)
  • Magnum, P.I. (episode "Torah, Torah, Torah") (1985)[4]
  • An American Tail (1986) Papa Mousekewitz (voice)
  • The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
  • Twins (1988)
  • MacGyver (1989)
  • L.A. Law (1990)
  • Murder, She Wrote (1990)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation – cameo in "The Most Toys" (1990)
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) Papa (voice)
  • Doogie Howser, M.D. (1992)
  • Reasonable Doubts (1993)
  • Law & Order (1993)
  • Chicago Hope (1995)
  • Tracey Takes On... (1996)
  • An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island (1998) Papa (voice)
  • An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster (1999) Papa (voice)

References[]

External links[]

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