( b. Dec 28, 1913 Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - d. Oct 23, 2009 New York, New York, USA ) Male
Lou Jacobi, the mustachioed, scene-stealing Canadian-born actor and comedian who made a film and stage career playing comic ethnic characters but was lauded for serious dramatic roles as well, died at his home in Manhattan. He was 95.
Louis Harold Jacobovitch was born on Dec. 28, 1913, in Toronto. He began acting as a boy, making his stage debut in 1924 at a Toronto theater, playing a violin prodigy in “The Rabbi and the Priest.”
After working as the drama director of a Toronto Y.M.H.A., the social director at a summer resort, a stand-up comic in Canada’s equivalent of the Borscht Belt, and the entertainment at various weddings and bachelor parties, Mr. Jacobi tried his luck in London. There he appeared in shows including the American musicals “Guys and Dolls” and “Pal Joey,” and was part of a command performance at the London Palladium in 1952.
He made his film debut in “Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?” (1953), a British comedy with the country’s blond sex symbol of the moment, Diana Dors. He went on to make two dozen feature films. His supporting roles included the philosophical bartender in “Irma la Douce” (1963), the young hero’s unsophisticated uncle in “My Favorite Year” (1982), a lucky florist in the Dudley Moore comedy “Arthur” (1981) and a middle-aged transvestite who gets caught with his hostess’s clothes on in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” (1972). In Barry Levinson’s “Avalon” (1990), he played a dramatic role, one of four Russian brothers trying to build a future in Baltimore in the early 20th century.
Mr. Jacobi made his Broadway debut in 1955 in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” playing a less-than-noble occupant of the Amsterdam attic where the Franks were hiding, and reprised the role in the 1959 film version.
In the United States, he began making guest appearances on a variety of television series, ranging from “Playhouse 90” to “’The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”’ to “That Girl,” and appeared on series and in television movies until he was in his late 70s.
In the summer of 1976, he was the star of a CBS comedy series, “Ivan the Terrible,” in which he played a Russian headwaiter living with nine other people in a small Moscow apartment. He was a regular on “The Dean Martin Show” on NBC for two seasons in the early 1970s.
Mr. Jacobi made successful comedy recordings with titles like “Al Tijuana and His Jewish Brass” and “The Yiddish Are Coming! The Yiddish Are Coming!”
In his last film, “I.Q.” (1994), he played the logician Kurt Gödel, one of Albert Einstein’s professor friends at Princeton. His last Broadway play was “Cheaters,” a 1978 comedy about two adulterous middle-aged couples.
Source: NY Times obit