Opatoshu in 1969
January 30, 1918
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||April 30, 1996 (aged 78)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Other names||David Opatashu|
(m. 1941; died 1996)
|Parent(s)||Joseph Opatoshu |
Opatoshu began his acting career in the Yiddish theater and made his Broadway debut in the 1937 play Golden Boy. He then appeared in numerous television series and films. In 1991, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for his role in the episode "A Prayer for the Goldsteins" of the television series Gabriel's Fire.
His career in television began in 1949 and lasted through the 1980s. In the fall of 1953, he played a theatrical agent representing Ezio Pinza's title character in the NBC situation comedy Bonino. Other costars were Mary Wickes, Chet Allen, and Van Dyke Parks. The series focused upon an Italian American opera singer trying to rear his six children after having been widowed.
In 1963 he co-starred with James Doohan in an episode of The Twilight Zone, titled "Valley of the Shadow". He guest-starred in the 1964 The Outer Limits episode "A Feasibility Study"; in the 1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "The Price of Doom'; and in the 1965 two-part episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. called "The Alexander the Greater Affair". In 1967 he played Anan 7 in the original Star Trek series episode "A Taste of Armageddon", and also in the 1969 season 3 Ironside episode "L'Chayim", and in Mannix, in the episode "A Pittance of Faith", as Mr. Lardelli, in the same year.
Opatoshu played in a 1970 episode of Daniel Boone as "Tamenund", an aged Pequot Indian bent on revenge for his tribe's near-extinction. He was also in the "No Way to Treat a Relative" episode of the 1973 situation comedy Needles and Pins (never broadcast because of the show's cancellation), the Kojak episode "Both Sides of the Law", the 1977 The Bionic Woman episode "Doomsday is Tomorrow", the 1981 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Time of the Hawk", and the 1981 miniseries Masada. In 1986 he played an Iranian ambassador in the TV thriller Under Siege, about Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States. On October 30, 1989, Opatashu guest-starred as the Tenctonese ex-slave "Paul Revere", in the episode "Night of the Screams", of the television series Alien Nation. In 1991 he won an Emmy Award for his guest appearance in the episode "A Prayer for the Goldsteins" of the ABC series Gabriel's Fire.
His first film, The Light Ahead (1939), directed by Henry Felt and Edgar G. Ulmer, is notable for being entirely in Yiddish. Opatoshu appeared as the homicide detective, Sgt. Ben Miller, in the film noir, The Naked City (1948) produced by Mark Hellinger. In 1958, he played a supporting character in The Brothers Karamazov with his future Star Trek co-star William Shatner. He also portrayed Herr Jacobi, one of the people who help Paul Newman and Julie Andrews escape from East Germany in Alfred Hitchcock's 1966 film Torn Curtain. He also played the father of Benny Rampell in 1963's "The Cardinal" un credited.
He played the Irgun leader (and Ari Ben Canaan's estranged uncle) in Otto Preminger's 1960 film Exodus. In 1967, Opatoshu played Morris Kolowitz, the father of the main character David (Reni Santoni), in Carl Reiner's directorial debut Enter Laughing. In the 1977 film, Raid on Entebbe, he played the part of Menachem Begin, a film based on the actual Operation Entebbe and the freeing of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Entebbe, Uganda on July 4, 1976. He had played Begin's fictional counterpart in Exodus.
David Opatoshu also wrote the screenplay for the film Romance of a Horsethief (1971), based on a novel by his father, Joseph Opatoshu.
- The Light Ahead (1939) — Fishke
- The Naked City (1948) — Sgt. Dave Miller (uncredited)
- Illegal Entry (1949) — Al (uncredited)
- Any Number Can Play (1949) — Bartender (uncredited)
- Thieves' Highway (1949) — Frenchy — Thug in Cap (uncredited)
- The Goldbergs (1950) — Mr. Dutton
- The Most Wanted Man (1953) — Slim le Tueur
- Crowded Paradise (1956)
- The Brothers Karamazov (1958) — Capt. Snegiryov
- Where Is Thy Brother? (1958, TV movie) — Father
- Party Girl (1958) — Lou Forbes
- Cimarron (1960) — Sol Levy
- Exodus (1960) — Akiva Ben Canaan
- Black City (1961) — Il commissario Natalucci
- The Best of Enemies (1961) — Italian Physician Bernasconi
- Guns of Darkness (1962) — President Rivera
- The Cardinal (1963) — Mr. Rampell (uncredited)
- Sands of Beersheba (1963) — Daoud
- One Spy Too Many (1966) — Mr. Kavon
- Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) — Augustus Vinero
- Torn Curtain (1966) — Mr. Jacobi
- The Defector (1966) — Orlovsky
- Enter Laughing (1967) — Mr. Morris Kolowitz
- Ha-Dybbuk (1968) — Zadik
- The Fixer (1968) — Latke
- The Smugglers (1968, TV movie) — Alfredo Faggio
- Death of a Gunfighter (1969) — Edward Rosenbloom
- The D.A.: Murder One (1969, TV movie) — Dr. Rudolph Grainger
- A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970) — (uncredited)
- Incident in San Francisco (1971, TV movie) — Herschel Roman
- Romance of a Horsethief (1971) — Schloime Kradnik
- Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John (1973, TV movie) — Rabbi Isaac Herzog
- Conspiracy of Terror (1975, TV movie) — Arthur Horowitz
- Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident (1976, TV movie) — Grinev
- Raid on Entebbe (1976, TV movie) — Menachem Begin
- Woman on the Run (1977, TV movie) — Ed Mills
- Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978, TV movie) — Flo's Father
- Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) — Bender
- In Search of Historic Jesus (1979, Documentary) — Herod
- Americathon (1979) — Abdul Muhammad
- Beyond Evil (1980) — Dr. Solomon
- Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982, TV movie) — Vultan (voice)
- Forced Vengeance (1982) — Sam Paschal
- Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1982) — Henry Morgenthau, Sr.
- Under Siege (1986, TV movie) — Ambassador Sajid Moktasanni
- Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8 (1987, TV movie) — Judge Julius Hoffman