Produced on October 9, 1922, in Brooklyn, Ny, Fyvush Finkel became an actor, singer and comedian who worked in Yiddish theatre for decades, after starring in Fiddler on the Roof. He won an Obie Award before getting an important character in the TV series Picket Fences, that he won an Emmy. He’s got also starred in Boston Public, Nixon and A Serious Man, as well as his own live shows.
Award winning actor Fyvush Finkel was born Philip Finkel on October 9, 1922, in Brooklyn, Ny. The son of European immigrants, he began playing in productions when he was 9 years old, and went to become an idol of the Yiddish theatre community on Manhattan’s Second Avenue.
Though he studied in high school to be a furrier, Finkel selected to continue in the performing arts, also creating himself as a comic who played the Borscht Belt in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. He embraced the stage moniker “Fyvush,” as it’s a Yiddish translation of his first name.
He married playwright Gertrude Lieberman in 1947, and continued to work in Yiddish theatre until he was in his 40s. Then he joined the touring cast of Jerome Robbins’ classic Fiddler on the Roof, playing other parts before getting the lead role of Tevye the Milkman in the musical’s Broadway avatar.
He continued his theatre work, impersonating shop owner Mr. Mushnik in the Off Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors. Finkel after starred in the 1989 revival of Cafe Crown, that he won an Obie Award. From the mid-1980s, Finkel had began to produce his way on earth of television and movie at the same time.
Finkel additionally received Screen Actors Guild nominations along with a Golden Globe nod. Finkel also appeared in the 2002 documentary The Komediant and afterwards in Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s 2009 movie A Serious Man, along with guest-starring on the NBC play Harry’s Law.
Even with his screen work, Finkel kept his career on the stage. On these productions, he’s worked closely with his musician sons Elliot and Ian, who play the piano and xylophone, respectively. In 2008 Finkel was featured in the David Ives play New Jerusalem, as well as in 2010 he starred in Fyvush Finkel Live! a National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production.