Theatre Community Celebrates The Life and Career of Fyvush Finkel

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Fyvush Finkel, an Emmy Award-winning actor who began his career performing in the Yiddish theater, has died at 93.

Following his role as an attorney in the 1990 film "Q&A", Finkel caught the attention of producer and screenwriter David E. Kelley, who tapped the actor to play Douglas Wambaugh on the 1992 drama series "Picket Fences".

Outside a Chase bank branch at East 10 Street and Second Avenue-the street that was once the central artery of Manhattan's Yiddish Theater community-inlaid into the sidewalk are plaques honoring the one-time stars of that world.

He appeared on "Picket Fences" (a David E. Kelly drama about a small town where freaky crimes happened) as self-righteous lawyer Douglas Wambaugh from 1992-1996.

Born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrant parents, Finkel was given the English first name of Philip but quickly became known as Fyvush, the Yiddish equivalent. Finkel's work on the series, which ran for four seasons, earned him a supporting actor Emmy nomination in 1993.

Over the course of his 80-plus years on stage and screen, Finkel appeared in several films, theatrical productions, and TV shows, including a starring role on Boston Public. Between 2000 and 2004, Finkel starred as history teacher Harvey Lipschultz in the FOX drama Boston Public.

Finkel started his career at age 9.

At age 60, after 12 years with various productions of "Fiddler on the Roof", he was cast as the owner of a man-eating plant in the off-Broadway musical "Little Shop of Horrors".

In 1964, as Yiddish theater was dying, he was hired for the touring company of the Broadway hit "Fiddler on the Roof".

Finkel was married to Trudi Lieberman for 61 years until her death in 2008. Survivors include two sons: Ian, a musical arranger and xylophone virtuoso, and Elliot, a concert pianist. "But if they love you, they'll put you in comfort'".

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