In 1983, Persoff portrayed Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in the made-for-TV movie Sadat.
Played three real life gangsters over the course of his long career: Johnny Torrio, Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, and Waxey Gordon.
Offers some of his paintings for sale on his website.
He played a mobster named Little Bonaparte in the classic 1959 comedy Some Like It Hot which starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon.
He once said he chose acting as a profession in order to prove himself worthy of the gift of life.
Shalom Aleichem, Persoff's one man stage show, won the Los Angeles and Bay Area Critics Award for best show and best performance of the 1979 season.
He began his acting career on the New York stage in the play Galileo starring Charles Laughton.
He appeared with Boris Karloff and Jean Arthur on Broadway in the 1950-51 revival of Peter Pan playing a pirate.
Worked as an electrician on the New York subway system before going into acting.
Although he is of the Jewish religious faith, Persoff played the role of a Nazi U-boat commander in an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Studied acting in New York under famed acting coach Stella Adler.
Once performed a well-received one man, autobiographical stage show entitled Sholem Alochiem. Declining health due to high blood pressure forced Persoff to give this up.
Played real life mobster Johnny Torrio in the 1959 film Al Capone opposite Rod Steiger in the title role. This led to his being cast as Jake Guzik on The Untouchables.
Emigrated to New York from Israel with his family in 1929.
Wife's name is Thea. They have four children.
Provided the voice of Papa Mousekewitz in the Fivel animated series.
Appeared six times on The Untouchables. Played mobster Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik three times and essayed other characters three times.
Currently retired from acting and residing in Cambria, CA where he has taken up painting as a hobby.
Played Barbra Streisand's rabbi father in the 1982 film Yentl.
Son Perry is a DJ for a Boston radio station.
Played the cab driver in the famous "I coulda been a contenduh" scene between Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront.
Persoff: If I'm playing a good guy, I'll try to show that he has some bad in him. If I'm playing a bad guy, I'll give him some dignity and love.
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