Philip “Fyvush” Finkel was born on October 9, 1922, and died on August 14, 2016.
He was an American actor.
He was known as a star of Yiddish theater and for his role as lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on the television series Picket Fences, for which he earned an Emmy Award in 1994.
Fyvush Finkel was also 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.
Finkel worked frequently until the ethnic venues began dying out in the early 1960s, then made his Broadway theatre debut in the original 1964 production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, joining the cast as Mordcha, the innkeeper, in 1965.
That production ran through July 2, 1972.
Finkel then played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, in the limited run 1981 Broadway revival, and eventually played the lead role of Tevye the milkman for years in the national touring company.
After the end of Picket Fences, Finkel had a regular role on the short-lived revival of Fantasy Island (ABC, 1998) and then reteamed with writer-producer Kelley to play history teacher Harvey Lipschultz in Boston Public (Fox, 2000–2004).
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, he made various appearances in movies including Nixon and The Crew, guested on TV series including Chicago Hope, Law & Order, Early Edition, and Hollywood Squares, and provided voiceovers for episodes of the animated series The Simpsons (“Lisa’s Sax”) and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (“Ickis! You’ll Be Snorched!”) and the animated direct-to-video feature The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars. In 2009, he appeared in the Coen brothers’ film A Serious Man, and in 2013 had a guest appearance in Blue Bloods (“Men In Black”).
Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman from March 1947 until her death in 2008, together they had two sons.
Fyvush Finkel passed away at 93 years old.