Entertainment

Nehemiah Persoff, “Twilight Zone,” “Yentl” star, dead at 102

Nehemiah Persoff, a prolific character actor known for his roles in The Twilight Zone, Yentl and countless others, died Tuesday at the age of 102. A family friend confirmed this Submission of a statement to Deadline.

Persoff had died in a rehabilitation facility in San Luis Obispo, California, several years after retiring from acting due to a stroke and other health problems.

The Jerusalem-born actor moved to the United States with his family in 1929, eventually ending up in New York City. His road to fame 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), followed by an uncredited role as a silent cab driver in the seminal film On The Waterfront (1954).

Barbra Streisand listens to Nehemiah Persoff in a scene from the film "Yentl" from 1983.
Barbra Streisand listens to Nehemiah Persoff in a scene in the 1983 film Yentl.
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Persoff poses for the film "Yentl" around 1983.
Persoff in “Yentl” around 1983.
Getty Images

The young actor appeared in a smorgasbord of iconic television shows of the decade, including Goodyear Playhouse. Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Playhouse 90 and Twilight Zone. In the latter, he played Carl Lanser in the 1959 episode Judgment Night, in which a “man finds himself on a ship in the Atlantic without knowing who he is or how he got there”.

Persoff’s career flourished in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and even into the ’90s. Some of his more iconic TV roles during this period were The Untouchables, The Wild Wild West.“Mission Impossible,” “gun smoke”, “Marcus Welby, MD”beret”, The Six Million Dollar Man, Little House on the Prairie, Hawaii Five-0 and Star Trek: The Next Generation..

Persoff in the ABC TV movie "The sex symbol."
Persoff in the ABC TV movie The Sex Symbol (1974).
Disney General Entertainment Con
Persoff as Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, extras in the ABC TV movie "The Rockets of October" (1974).
Persoff as Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the ABC TV movie The Missiles of October (1974).
Disney General Entertainment Con
Persoff in "The Great Valley" (1966).
Persoff in The Big Valley (1966).
Disney General Entertainment Con

As well as being a star on the small screen, the prolific playwright has appeared in a number of hit films, including Humphrey Bogart’s final film role, The Harder They Fall (1956), Some Like It Hot and The Greatest Story Ever “. Told” and “Yentl,” in which he portrayed Mendel, the father of Barbra Streisand’s title character. He also voiced Papa Mousekewitz in the 1986 animated immigration epic An American Tail.

Persoff is survived by children Daniel, Jeff, Perry and Dahlia, several grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

Nehemiah Persoff as Lt.  Cal Nourse in the "CLIMAX!" Consequence, "On the take" (1958).
Nehemiah Persoff as Lt. Cal Nourse in “CLIMAX!” episode of “On The Take” (1958).
CBS via Getty Images
Persoff in "mob squad" (1972).
Persoff in Mod Squad (1972).
Disney General Entertainment Con

https://nypost.com/2022/04/06/nehemiah-persoff-twilight-zone-yentl-star-dead-at-102/ Nehemiah Persoff, “Twilight Zone,” “Yentl” star, dead at 102

Dais Johnston

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