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Nehemiah Persoff
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    (August 2, 1919- )
    Born in Jerusalem, Israel
    Appeared in the films ‘The Harder They Fall’ (1956), ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959), ‘Al Capone’ (1959), ‘The Comancheros’ (1961), ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ (1965), ‘Voyage of the Damned’ (1976), ‘Yentl’ (1983), ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ (1988) and ‘Twins’ (1988)
    Voice of Papa Mousekewitz in ‘An American Tail’ (1986) and its sequels
    Appeared in episodes of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ ‘The Untouchables,’ ‘Gunsmoke,’ ‘The Wild, Wild West,’ ‘Hawaii 5-O,’ ‘The Mod Squad,’ Columbo,’ ‘Barney Miller,’ ‘Murder She Wrote,’ and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
    He briefly tried to downplay his Jewishness by using the stage name Nick Perry.
    Early in his career, he was typecast as gangsters.
    Late in his career, he was typecast as rabbis.
    He has been married to his wife Thia for over 60 years.
    He served with the US Army during World War II.
    He was a member of the first ‘beginners’ class of the Actors Studio (1947).
    He was so prolific a character actor that John O’Hara wrote a short story for ‘The New Yorker’ in which two unemployed actors complain about Persoff getting every other acting job.
    When high blood pressure and other health problems forced him to cut back on acting, he took up painting, specializing in watercolors.
    He said, ‘If I'm playing a good guy, I'll try to show that he has some bad in him. If I'm playing a bad guy, I'll give him some dignity and love.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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