Emmy Award-winning actor Fyvush Finkel, best known for his roles in “Picket Fences” and “Boston Public“, is no more. He was 93.
Finkel died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. His death was confirmed by his son Ian, who said Finkel had been having heart problems for many months, reports nytimes.com.
In 1997, Finkel, then 75, had a star with his name added to the 30 stars on the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame, on the sidewalk outside the Second Avenue Deli in Manhattan.
While Finkel was popular in his niche stage community, he broke out into the mainstream in 1964 with “Fiddler on the Roof”, where he played Mordcha the innkeeper.
On the silver screen, Finkel had a breakout performance in the 1990 film “Q&A” as a corrupt attorney. He also appeared in “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, “For Love or Money” and “Nixon”.
Finkel was best known to TV audience as public defender Douglas Wambaugh in “Picket Fences”, for which he was twice Emmy nominated, and won one in 1994.
Two years after “Picket Fences” ended its run, Finkel was cast in a remake of “Fantasy Island”, but the show was canceled after 13 episodes.
Born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents, he was given the English first name Philip but quickly became known as Fyvush, the Yiddish equivalent.
He took to the stage at age nine. Over the years he refined his act as a singer, dancer and comedian in the Jewish theatre as well as a stand-up comedian.
Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman for 61 years until her death in 2008. He is survived by two sons — Ian, a musical arranger and xylophone virtuoso, and Elliot, a concert pianist.