George Tobias

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
George Tobias
George Tobias 1942.jpg
Tobias in 1942
Born(1901-07-14)July 14, 1901
DiedFebruary 27, 1980(1980-02-27) (aged 78)
Resting placeMount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale, Queens, New York City
OccupationFilm and television actor
Years active1927–1977

George Tobias (July 14, 1901 – February 27, 1980) was an American theater, film and television actor. He had character parts and supporting roles in several major films of Hollywood's Golden Age. He is also known for his role as Abner Kravitz on the TV sitcom Bewitched from 1964 to 1971.

Early life[edit]

Born to a Jewish family[citation needed] in New York, Tobias attended the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.[1]


Tobias began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. He then spent several years in theater groups before moving on to Broadway and, eventually, Hollywood. His Broadway credits include Silk Stockings (1955), Good Hunting (1938), You Can't Take It With You (1936), Star Spangled (1936), Hell Freezes Over (1935), Paths of Glory (1935), Black Pit (1935), Sailors of Cattaro (1934), Red Rust (1929), Fiesta (1929), S. S. Glencairn (1929), The Grey Fox (1928), The Road to Rome (1928), The International (1928), and What Price Glory (1924).[2]

In 1939, he signed with Warner Bros.[1] and was cast in supporting roles, many times along with James Cagney, in such movies as Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), as well as with Gary Cooper in Sergeant York (1941) and Irving Berlin, Ronald Reagan, and George Murphy in This Is the Army (1943). In 1950, he was cast against type as a ruthless killer and felon in the film noir Southside 1-1000.

Tobias (right) with James Cagney (left) in Warner Bros. 1941 film The Strawberry Blonde.

Tobias portrayed Penrose in eight episodes of the ABC program Adventures in Paradise (1959-1961).[1] From 1964 to 1971, he played Abner Kravitz, the long-suffering neighbor on the ABC sitcom Bewitched.[3] Tobias often appeared in an uncredited role as a courtroom spectator on the CBS program Perry Mason, and he played Sidney Falconer in the episode titled "The Case of the Antic Angel" (1964).

Tobias never married and retired from acting in 1977 after reprising his role as Abner Kravitz in a guest appearance on the Bewitched sequel Tabitha.

Personal life[edit]

In 1954, actress Lynn Baggett was involved in a collision in Los Angeles while driving a car borrowed from Tobias, and a 9-year-old boy was killed. (Baggett and Tobias were old friends, and she reportedly had been his girlfriend in the 1940s, but at the time of the accident she was the estranged wife of producer Sam Spiegel.) She eventually was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of felony hit-and-run, and she spent 55 days in jail. The boy's mother sued Baggett and Tobias in separate court proceedings. They shared responsibility for damages, which amounted to $2,599 ($24,800 today).[4]

A Democrat, he supported Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election[5].


On February 27, 1980, Tobias died of cancer at the age of 78 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[6] He is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Glendale, Queens, New York City.

Complete filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gordon, Dr Roger L. (2018). Supporting Actors in Motion Pictures. Dorrance Publishing. p. 78. ISBN 9781480944992. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  2. ^ "George Tobias". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on 11 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  4. ^ Four Boys Given $2,599 in Lynn Baggett Suits. November 5, 1955. The Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  6. ^ "Actor George Tobias Dies". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missouri, St. Louis. Associated Press. February 28, 1980. p. 45. Retrieved August 10, 2018 – via open access

External links[edit]