David Hurst

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For those of a similar name, see David Hirst (disambiguation).
David Hurst
Born Heinrich Theodor Hirsch
(1926-05-08) May 8, 1926 (age 89)
Berlin, Germany
Occupation actor, theatre producer
Years active 1948–2000

David Hurst (born Heinrich Theodor Hirsch on 6 May 1926) is a British-German actor. He is best known for Hello, Dolly as Rudolph the headwaiter.


Early life and career[edit]

Hurst grew up in a family of actors. As a Jewish child living in Nazi Germany, he faced persecution from the Nazi regime. After the pogroms of Kristallnacht, British-Jewish citizens offered to bear the government expenses for the rescue of Jewish children from Germany and Austria. He was one of the thousands of children in 1938 relocated with the Kindertransport in the United Kingdom. At the time of leaving his mother, he was 12 years old. He never saw her again.

Relocated to a manor in Northern Ireland, he lived with other young emigrants in the care of a family of an estate manager. His first stage experience was gained in Belfast at a repertory theatre, where he also changed his name from Heinrich Hirsch to David Hurst. During World War II he joined the army, but because of his German background he was assigned to ENSA where he performed as an actor and a comedian.

His first film role was as Wolfgang Winkel in The Perfect Woman (1949), a role Hurst had previously played in the West End to critical praise. He went on to appear in many British films of the 1950s.

United States[edit]

In 1957, Hurst moved the United States. He spent most of his time in California, but often performed on Broadway.He created the role of Merlin in the original Broadway production of Camelot opposite Richard Burton .

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s he played in film, television, and theatre. In 1959 he received the Clarence Derwent Award and in 1964, he was awarded the Obie Award from The Village Voice for his off-Broadway performance in A Month in the Country.[1]

He performed in the film version of Hello, Dolly (1969) as Rudolph the headwaiter alongside Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. This has been his biggest role to date, and his most recognizable in America. He also had roles in the films Kelly's Heroes (1970) and The Boys From Brazil (1978). Hurst also appeared in numerous TV series including Mission: Impossible, Serpico and Star Trek.

Throughout his career he worked as a visiting professor at Yale, Boston University and Carnegie Mellon.

Return to Germany[edit]

In the 1980s he appeared in several German-American co-productions, and visited his half-brother Wolfgang Heinz in East Berlin. Hurst decided to remain in Germany, and worked in Vienna and Berlin with fellow erstwhile emigrant (and Actors Studio compadre), theatre director George Tabori.[2] From 1991 Hurst worked at the Burgtheater, Vienna, eventually returning to live in Berlin in 2000, when he retired from acting.



Play Role Theatre Dates[3]
The Faithful Brethren of Pitt Street Joseph Knaitsch Orpheum Theatre 5 – 20 November 1988
20 performances
Dracula Abraham Van Helsing Broadway 20 October 1977 – 6 January 1980
Henry IV Dr. Dionysius Genoni Broadway 28 April – 28 May 1973
Electra Paedagogus Delacorte Theater 5 – 29 August 1964
22 performances
(New York Shakespeare Festival)
A Month in the Country Ignaty Ilyitch Shpigelsky Maidman Playhouse 1963 – 1964
48 performances
Camelot Merlin Broadway 3 December 1960 – 5 January 1963
The Lunatic View Young Man Lucille Lortel Theatre November 1962
Under The Sycamore Tree The Scientist Cricket Theatre 7 March – 10 April 1960
41 performances
Look After Lulu! The Policeman Broadway 3 March – 4 April 1959
A Midsummer Night's Dream Ensemble Broadway 21 September – 17 October 1954


Year Title Role
1978 The Boys from Brazil Strasser
1978 Child of Glass Jacques Dumaine
1970 Kelly's Heroes Col. Dankhopf
1969 The Maltese Bippy Dr. Charles Strauss
1968 Hello, Dolly! Rudolph Reizenweber
1964 The Confession Gustave
1957 After the Ball Perelli
1956 The Intimate Stranger Dave Pearson (uncredited)
1955 All for Mary M. Victor
As Long as They're Happy Dr. Hermann Schneider
One Good Turn Professor Dofee
1954 Mad About Men Signor Mantalini
River Beat Paddy McClure
1953 Always a Bride Beckstein
Rough Shoot Lex
1952 Top Secret Professor Deutsch (uncredited)
Venetian Bird Minelli
Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire Mugsy
So Little Time Blumel/Baumann
1951 The Smart Aleck Poppi
1950 Tony Draws a Horse Ivan
1949 The Perfect Woman Wolfgang Winkel


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Skokie Sol Goldstein TV movie
1980 Charlie's Angels Stovich Episode: "Angel in Hiding"
1979 Ryan's Hope Dr. Nelson (uncredited) 1 episode
1978 Quincy, M.E. Dr. Fred Webber Episode: "Dead and Alive"
Eight Is Enough Episode : "The Hipbone's Connected to the Thighbone"
Child of Glass Jacques Dumaine TV movie
1977 Insight Episode: "Arnstein's Miracle"
McCloud Colonel Andrei Krasnavian Episode: "The Moscow Connection"
Nero Wolfe Fritz TV movie broadcast 1979
1976 Serpico Ducek Episode: "The Indian"
1971 NET Playhouse Chanute Episode: "The Wright Brothers"
Dark Shadows Justin Collins 3 episodes
1970 The F.B.I. Alex Keeler Episode: "The Traitor"
The Mod Squad Consulate General Fohgib Episode: "The Exile"
1969 The Flying Nun Benito Gomez Episode: "The Lottery"
Mission: Impossible Dr. Oswald Beck Episode: "The Test Case"
Star Trek Hodin Episode: "The Mark of Gideon"
1968 Run for Your Life Heinrich Kleist Episode: "The Exchange"
The Flying Nun Gus Mendoza - Sister Sixto's Uncle Episode: "A Fish Story"
The Monkees The Baron Episode: "Monkees Race Again"
It Takes a Thief Captain Kovich Episode: "When Boy Meets Girl"
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Dr. Jan Vanovech Episode: "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair"
To Die in Paris Pirot TV movie
1967 Mannix Vladek Episode: "The Many Deaths of Saint Christopher"
Mission: Impossible Victor Grigov Episode: "The Astrologer"
Hallmark Hall of Fame Petrovini Episode: "Anastasia"
1966 The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. Matthew Brecker Episode: "The Mata Hari Affair"
Hawk Louis Anselmi Episode: "The Longleat Chronicles"
1965 The Patty Duke Show Dennis Latouche Episode: "It Takes a Heap of Livin'"
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Dr. Leland Mayes Elmont Episode: "The Brain-Killer Affair"
Look Up and Live 2 Episodes: "The Initiation" and "The Judgment"
1964 The Defenders Dr. Schaeffer Episode: "Drink Like a Lady"
1962 Car 54, Where Are You? Robin Stuart, Playwright Episode: "That's Show Business"
1960 Dow Hour of Great Mysteries Baron Episode: "The Dachet Diamonds"
Play of the Week 2 Episodes: "Tiger at the Gates" and "The Emperor's Clothes"
1958 Kraft Television Theatre 2 Episodes: "Riddle of a Lady" and "Next Door to Death"
DuPont Show of the Month Mr. Stryver Episode: "A Tale of Two Cities"
1957 Armstrong Circle Theatre Government official Episode: "The Shepherd of Paris"
1956 The Adventures of Aggie Lazareff Episode: "Snap Judgment"


  1. ^ "OBIES 1963-1964". blogs.villagevoice.com. May 28, 1964. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  2. ^ David Hurst & George Tabori at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection, 1956-1969
  3. ^ "Lortel Archives - The Internet Off-Broadway Database". lortel.org. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

External links[edit]