Nehemiah Persoff Bio

Nehemiah Persoff (August 2, 1919 – April 5, 2022) was an American character actor and painter. He appeared in more than 200 television series, films, and theatre productions and also performed as a voice artist in a career spanning 55 years, beginning after his service in the United States Army during World War II.

He is best known for roles as Leo in The Harder They Fall (1956), as Little Bonaparte in Some Like It Hot (1959), as Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik in The Untouchables tv series (1959-63), as Rebbe Mendel in Yentl (1983), and as the voice of Papa Mousekewitz in the animated film An American Tail (1986) and its sequels.

Persoff retired from acting in 2003 and pursued painting, specializing in watercolors.