The TV character actor Fyvush Finkel dies at 93


Fyvush Finkel (Born on October 9, 1922), an American actor known as a star of Yiddish theater dies at the age of 93. The cause was complications from heart problems, said his son Ian Finkel. He is well known for his portrayal of Harvey Lipschultz, a crotchety history teacher, on the television series Boston Public.

Finkel first appeared on the stage at age 9, and acted for almost 35 years in the thriving Yiddish theaters of the Yiddish Theater District of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, as well as performing as a standup comic in the Catskill’s Borscht Belt. In 2008 he recalled:

“I played child parts till I was 14, 15, then my voice changed. So I decided to learn a trade and went to a vocational high school in New York. I studied to be a furrier, but I never worked at it. As soon as I graduated high school, I went to a stock company in Pittsburgh, a Jewish theater, and I played there for 38 weeks, and that’s where I actually learned my trade a little bit as an adult.”

Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman from March 1947 until her death in 2008. They had two sons: Ian, a musical arranger, and Elliot, a concert pianist. He achieved several awards like American Comedy Award, Picket Fences 1993, Emmy Award, Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series, Picket Fences 1993–1994, Obie Award: Performance, Cafe Crown 1988–1989.

After graduating from high school, he took a job with Yiddish theater in Pittsburgh just shy of his 18th birthday. He said, “I thought, ‘This is where I belong.’ And I’ve been in the theater ever since.”

In 1964, as Yiddish theater was fading, he was hired for the touring company of the Broadway hit “Fiddler on the Roof.” He later said: “I went to do ‘Fiddler’ for less money than I was getting in Yiddish theater, but I had to make the move. And it was the best move I ever made.”

He dies in Manhattan on August 14, 2016 at age 93.


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