Robert Ellenstein

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Robert Ellenstein
Born(1923-06-18)June 18, 1923
DiedOctober 28, 2010(2010-10-28) (aged 87)
Other namesBob Ellenstein
OccupationActor, director
Years active1954–1998
Lois Sylvia Stang (m. 1952–2010)
(his death)

Robert Ellenstein (June 18, 1923 – October 28, 2010) was an American actor.

The son of Meyer C. Ellenstein, a Newark dentist, Robert Ellenstein grew up in that New Jersey city and saw his father go on to become its two-term mayor. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II: earning a Purple Heart during his service.[1]

He attended New York University and graduated with honors from the University of Iowa. He began acting, directing and teaching in Cleveland, Ohio.[citation needed]

A veteran of the "Golden Age" of live television (he played Quasimodo in a live Robert Montgomery Presents (1950) version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"),[2] for the same show played the lead in "A Case of Identity", later turned into the film The Wrong Man (1956), he was the first actor to play Albert Einstein on television. Ellenstein made his first film in 1954 (MGM's Rogue Cop), he was featured in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest. In 1961, he played the mobster Legs Diamond in an episode of NBC's 1920s crime drama The Lawless Years with James Gregory.[citation needed]

Among his television appearances, Ellenstein guest starred in three episodes of Perry Mason. In 1957 he played defendant John Addison in "The Case of the Vagabond Vixen." In 1959 he played murder victim Arthur Cartright in "The Case of the Howling Dog," and in 1960 he played Medical Examiner Dr. McBride in "The Case of the Madcap Modiste." He also made three guest appearances on The Untouchables, five appearances on The Wild Wild West, four on Ironside, and five on Mission: Impossible. He also directed television with an episode of the 1960s sitcom, Love on a Rooftop, and many live television episodes.[citation needed]

Ellenstein had over 200 television appearances. He performed hundreds of stage roles as an actor. He directed many theatre productions in New York, Los Angeles and in regional theater. He was artistic director of The Company of Angels and Founding Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Repertory Company.[1]

Ellenstein received a lifetime achievement in theatre award from the LA Weekly in 1988. He is best known for having played the villain in the pilot episode of Moonlighting (1985), and then the Federation President in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). He taught theatre professionally and academically for over 50 years, founding the Academy of Stage and Cinema Arts in Los Angeles.[citation needed]


Ellenstein died in Los Angeles of natural causes on October 28, 2010 at age 87.[3] He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lois, daughter Jan and his two sons, David and Peter, both of whom are artistic directors of theatres.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1954 Rogue Cop Det. Sidney Y. Myers
1955 Illegal Joe Knight
1957 The Garment Jungle Fred Kenner
1957 3:10 to Yuma Ernie Collins
1957 The Walter Winchell File Melk 1 episode
1958 The Young Lions Rabbi Joseph Silverstein Uncredited
1958 Too Much, Too Soon Gerald Frank
1959 North by Northwest Licht
1959 The Gazebo Ben
1960 Pay or Die Luigi Di Sarno
1961 The Big Bankroll Lenny
1965 Deathwatch Guard
1968 The Legend of Lylah Clare Mike
1978 Hawaii Five-O Bart Warren
1979 Love at First Bite VW Man
1985 Brewster's Millions Mr. Carter
1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Federation Council President


  1. ^ a b c Lentz, Harris M. III. Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2010. McFarland. pp. 119–120. ISBN 9780786486496. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  2. ^ Hawes, William (2001). Live Television Drama, 1946-1951. McFarland. p. 119. ISBN 9781476608495. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  3. ^ Obituary Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2010, page AA14.Robert Ellenstein, actor and director, dies at 87

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