Nehemiah Persoff was a charter member of the Actors Studio who appeared in dozens of notable films and TV shows. He is best known for “Yentl”, “The Twilight Zone” and “The Untouchables”. The actor is dead at 102 after an incredible life.
Persoff died Tuesday night at a rehabilitation facility in San Luis Obispo, California. His son Daniel broke the news to The Hollywood Reporter. He retired from acting due to a stroke and other health issues several years ago.
Born in Jerusalem, the thespian and his family moved to the US in 1929, eventually ending up in New York City. His road to stardom began in 1947 when Persoff was discovered by Charles Laughton and cast in his production of “Galileo.” A year later, Persoff made his film debut in “The Naked City” (1948), following it up with an uncredited role as a silent cabbie in the seminal film “On The Waterfront” (1954).
Nehemiah Persoff went from the uncredited role of a cab driver in On The Waterfront‘s iconic “coulda been a contender” scene to become one of the busiest character actors in television and film for five decades. The fledgling actor went on to appear in a smorgasbord of iconic TV series of the decade, including “Goodyear Playhouse,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Playhouse 90” and “The Twilight Zone.”
Persoff’s career blossomed in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and even into the ’90s. Some of his more legendary TV roles during that time included on “The Wild Wild West,” “Gunsmoke,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Baretta,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.“ He also was on CBS’ Mission: Impossible for three times.
Persoff is survived by children Daniel, Jeff, Perry and Dahlia, several grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews.
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