Fritz Weaver

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Fritz Weaver
Actor Fritz Weaver.jpg
Fritz William Weaver

(1926-01-19)January 19, 1926
DiedNovember 26, 2016(2016-11-26) (aged 90)
Alma materPeabody High School
OccupationActor, voice artist
Years active1956–2016
Sylvia Short
(m. 1953; div. 1979)
; 2 children
(m. 1997⁠–⁠2016)
AwardsTony Award (1970)

Fritz William Weaver (January 19, 1926 − November 26, 2016) was an American actor in television, stage, and motion pictures. He portrayed Dr. Josef Weiss in the 1978 epic television drama, Holocaust.[1] In cinema, he made his debut in the film Fail Safe (1964) and also appeared in Marathon Man (1976), Creepshow (1982) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Among many television roles, he performed in two seminal projects: the movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) and the mini-series Holocaust (1978), for which Weaver was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. He also worked in science fiction and fantasy, especially in television series and movies like The Twilight Zone, 'Way Out, Night Gallery, The X-Files, The Martian Chronicles and Demon Seed. Weaver also narrated educational TV programs.

Early life[edit]

Weaver was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on January 19, 1926,[2] the son of Elsa W. (née Stringaro) Weaver and John Carson Weaver.[1] His mother was of Italian descent and his father was a social worker from Pittsburgh with deep American roots.[3] His younger sister was art director Mary Dodson.[4]

Weaver attended the Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School[5] at the University of Pittsburgh as a child, followed by Peabody High School. He served in the Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector during World War II.


Following the war, Weaver worked at various jobs before turning to acting in the early 1950s. His first acting role for television came in 1956 for an episode of The United States Steel Hour. Weaver continued to act in television during the next four decades. In 1969 he appeared as Hebron Grant, a Mormon married to two women, on The Big Valley in the episode "A Passage of Saints."

He also appeared in the made-for-TV movies The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975) in which he played Andrew Borden; and Holocaust (1978). He earned an Emmy nomination for the latter; the award went to his co-star Michael Moriarty.

Weaver won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance for the Broadway play Child's Play (1970). His other Broadway credits included The Chalk Garden (Tony nomination and Theatre World Award win), All American, Baker Street, Absurd Person Singular, Love Letters, and The Crucible. He appeared in the off-Broadway play Burnt Piano for the HB Playwrights Theatre, and with Uta Hagen in a television adaptation of Norman Corwin's play The World of Carl Sandburg.

Weaver also acted in motion pictures, generally as a supporting player. He appeared in such movies as Fail-Safe (1964; as a jingoist and increasingly unstable U.S. Air Force colonel, ashamed of his foreign-born and alcoholic parents, whom he refers to as "those people"), Marathon Man (1976; as a professor advising the protagonist, a graduate student), Black Sunday (1977; as the lead FBI agent in an anti-terrorism effort) and Creepshow (1982); as a scientist who discovers a monster in a crate, and John McTiernan's remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). He also had roles in The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Demon Seed (1977), The Big Fix (1978), and Sidney Lumet's Power (1986). Beginning in 1995, Weaver worked primarily as a voice actor, providing narration for programs on the History Channel. After making his third guest appearance on Law & Order in 2005,[6] Weaver made a "secret decision to retire".[7]

In 2010, Weaver was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[8] Shortly thereafter, he came out of retirement to make an uncredited cameo in This Must Be the Place (2011), voicing the deceased father of Sean Penn's protagonist. He went on to give prominent supporting performances in the Emmy-nominated television film Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (2013) and the theatrically-released We'll Never Have Paris (2014), The Cobbler (2014) and The Congressman (2016).

Personal life and death[edit]

Weaver's second marriage was to actress Rochelle Oliver in 1997. His first marriage ended in divorce. He died at his home in Manhattan on November 26, 2016, at the age of 90.[2]

Select filmography[edit]




  1. ^ a b "Fritz Weaver Biography". Film Reference Library. Toronto. 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Fritz Weaver, Tony-Winning Character Actor, Dies at 90". The New York Times. November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  3. ^ Jones, Chris (April 22, 2004). "Fritz Weaver tackles a 'Trying' role in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tronc Inc.
  4. ^ Barnes, Mike (February 21, 2016). "Mary Weaver Dodson, Art Director on 'Murder, She Wrote,' Dies at 83". The Hollywood Reporter. United States: Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  5. ^ "Feature - Pitt Magazine - University of Pittsburgh". Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  6. ^ Law & Order-Season 15-Episode 20-Tombstone
  7. ^ On the Fritz
  8. ^ "Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony, Honoring Linda Lavin, Brian Dennehy, Michael Blakemore, Presented Jan. 24". Playbill. New York City: TotalTheater. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.

External links[edit]