Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who's Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Nehemiah Persoff

The man that did in "Spats." In my quest to discover all things KV I'm certainly guilty of stretching its boundaries, but I hit a mother lode by learning that Nehemiah Persoff lived among us for many years. I also spoke to him today. More to come
Nehemiah Persoff (born August 2, 1919, Jerusalem, Palestine Mandate (now Israel)) is a prolific American film and television character actor.
Born in what is now part of Israel, Persoff emigrated with his family to the United States in 1929. He began to take an interest in acting in the 1940s, and after serving in the Army during World War II, he began to pursue his acting career in the New York theater. In 1947, he was accepted into the Actor's Studio, and eventually began appearing in films.
His film credits include On the Waterfront, Some Like It Hot, Al Capone, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Voyage of the Damned, The Comancheros, Yentl (where he portrayed Barbra Streisand's father), Twins, and the American Tail animated-film series, where he provided the voice of Papa Mousekewitz.
Persoff appeared in such television series as The Big Valley: Legend of a General, Parts I & II, The Twilight Zone (in the episode "Judgment Night"), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (in the episode "Heart of Gold"), The Untouchables, The Wild Wild West, Hawaii Five-O, Mission: Impossible, Charlie's Angels, Hunter, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Magnum, P.I., Law & Order, and Chicago Hope.
In the mid-1980s, Persoff began to pursue painting, specializing in watercolour. This was at a time when health problems forced him to decrease his acting workload. Now retired from acting, he devotes full-time to his painting.

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