Nehemiah Persoff

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Nehemiah Persoff
File:Nehemiah Persoff 1960.JPG
Nehemiah Persoff in 1960
Born (1919-08-02) August 2, 1919 (age 99)
Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–1999
Spouse(s) Thia Persoff (1951–present) 4 children

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


Born in Jerusalem, Persoff immigrated with his family to the United States in 1929. After serving in the Army during World War II, he worked as a subway electrician doing signal maintenance 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

His first notable role was as the gangster boss "Little Bonaparte", a parody of Benito Mussolini in Some Like It Hot from 1959 (he is the last survivor of the credited cast). He appeared in supporting roles in films such as The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Comancheros. In the film Yentl Persoff portrayed Barbra Streisand's character's father, also the 1988 film Twins 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), 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).

In the mid-1980s, when health problems decreased his acting workload, Persoff pursued painting, specializing in watercolor. He retired from acting in 1999 and is devoted full-time to his painting. He currently lives with his wife in Cambria, California.

TV and filmography


  1. Shadrak, Herbert (March 26, 2010). "Nehemiah Persoff: From Jerusalem to Hollywood – and Beyond". Cinema Retro. Retrieved May 10, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links