Oct. 9th, 1922
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Fyvush Finkel's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2009 - A Serious Man
1995 - Nixon
1993 - For Love or Money
1993 - The Pickle
1991 - Mobsters
1990 - Q & A
1986 - Brighton Beach Memoirs
1986 - Off Beat
Guest TV Roles
Jackie Jarr (Voiced)
Simon - Tailor
Philip “Fyvush” Finkel (born October 9, 1922) is an American actor best known as a star of Yiddish theater and for his role as lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on the television series Picket Fences, for which he earned an Emmy Award in 1994. He is also known for his portrayal of Harvey Lipschultz, a crotchety U.S. history teacher, on the TV series Boston Public.
Early life and career Finkel was born at home in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York City, the third of four sons of Jewish immigrant tailor Harry Finkel, from Warsaw, Poland, and housewife Mary, from Minsk, then part of Russia. Born Philip Finkel, with no middle name, he adopted the stage name "Fyvush," a common Yiddish given name.
Finkel first appeared on the stage at age 9, and acted for almost 35 years in the thriving Yiddish theaters of Manhattan's Lower East Side, as well as performing as a standup comic in the Catskill's Borscht Belt. In 2008 he recalled that,
“ I played child parts till I was 14, 15, then my voice changed. So I decided to learn a trade and went to a vocational high school in New York. I studied to be a furrier, but I never worked at it. As soon as I graduated high school, I went to a stock company in Pittsburgh, a Jewish theater, and I played there for 38 weeks, and that's where I actually learned my trade a little bit as an adult. ” He worked regularly until the ethnic venues began dying out in the early 1960s, then made his Broadway theatre debut in the original 1964 production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, joining the cast as Mordcha, the innkeeper, in 1965. The production ran through July 2, 1972. Finkel then played Lazar Wolf, the butcher, in the limited run 1981 Broadway revival, and eventually played the lead role of Tevye the milkman for years in the national touring company.
Personal Life Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman from March 1947 until her death in 2008. They had two sons - Ian, a musical arranger, and Elliot, a concert pianist.
- Fyvush is Yiddish for Phillip, a name he used in school.
- Fyvush appeared in the touring company of "Fiddler On The Roof" for 12 years. Initially he performed the role of the innkeeper, but ultimately assumed the lead role of Tevye.
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