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Sam Jaffe Overview:

Character actor, Sam Jaffe, was born Shalom Jaffe on Mar 10, 1891 in New York City, NY. Jaffe died at the age of 93 on Mar 24, 1984 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and was laid to rest in Eden Memorial Park Cemetery in Mission Hills, CA.


Sam Jaffe looked wizened even in early middle age, and specialized in obscure foreign characterizations -- Tibetan, Indian, Russian, Israeli and Mexican were only a few. His film appearances were limited by his prolific stage work, but his roles have often been memorable, notably his native water-carrier in Gunga Din and his High Lama in Lost Horizon. He was married to actress Bettye Acherman (2nd of two wives) from 1955 until his death in 1984; she appeared with him during his years as Dr. Zorba in TV's Ben Casey. He was nominated for an Oscar in The Asphalt Jungle. He died from cancer.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



Although Jaffe was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1950Best Supporting ActorThe Asphalt Jungle (1950)Dr. Erwin RiedenschneiderNominated

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By Amanda Garrett on Feb 25, 2015 From Old Hollywood Films

was one of old Hollywood's most sought after character actors appearing in films like Gunga Din (1939), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Ben Hur (1959), but he was also a talented composer and mathematician. Shalom Jaffe was born on March 10, 1891, in the Lower East Side of New ... Read full article

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Sam Jaffe Quotes:

Doc Riedenschneider: That copper, he recognized me.
Cobby: How'd you know he was a copper?
Doc Riedenschneider: I can smell one a block off.
Cobby: Oh, don't worry about Ditrich. He's on my payroll. Practically a partner. Me and him, we're like that.
[Cobby holds up his index and middle finger]
Doc Riedenschneider: Experience has taught me never to trust a policeman. Just when you think one's all right, he turns legit.

Father Joseph: My son, here. Put this on - it will protect you from the sun.
[Father hands Leon a cowl with a cross on the back]
Leon Alastray: Ha? Thank you.
Father Joseph: ...and who knows? Perhaps it will bring you a little faith!
Leon Alastray: Faith? Oh, I had plenty of faith the other night. Hey, priest - you wanna hear my confession?
[clasps hands in mock prayer]
Father Joseph: No, thank you!
Leon Alastray: Come on - it'll make you feel 10 years younger!
[laughs lewdly]
Father Joseph: ...or perhaps older!

Dr. Francis Hunter: [In an alcoholic haze to Mike] You'll spoil the rhythm of Dr. Hunter's famous prescription for pickling the heart: one injection every 15 minutes.
[He finishes a shot of whiskey, and the bartender pours him three more]
Dr. Francis Hunter: The rhythm is very important.

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Also a Pisces

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1950

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Sam Jaffe Facts
He was a victim of the Hollywood blacklist during the HUAC hearings. Although he had already been signed, 20th Century-Fox wanted to remove him from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Producer Julian Blaustein felt that Jaffe was so crucial for the role of the Albert Einstein-like Prof. Barnhardt that he appealed to studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. Zanuck approved Jaffe for the role, but it was his last Hollywood film until the late 1950s.

His cousin Alma's grandson is NYC amateur comedian Jeremy Jacobs.

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