Sam Jaffe was an American actor who was known for his long and varied career. Born in New York City in 1891, Jaffe began his acting career at a very young age, appearing in Yiddish theater productions with his mother who at one point was a well-known Vaudeville star. Sam Jaffe turned towards academia, becoming a math teacher before his career in acting began. His big break came in his first role as Tsar Peter III in The Scarlet Empress (1934). Following The Scarlet Empress, Jaffe played the High Lama in Lost Horizon (1937) and, in perhaps his most popular role, appeared as the title character in Gunga Din (1939). His one-time roommate, John Huston cast him The Asphalt Jungle in 1950, bringing Jaffe his lone Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Unfortunately, Jaffe's career was disrupted after he was accused of sympathizing with Communists. Briefly blacklisted by the Hollywood studios, Jaffe would make a comeback after director Robert Wise hired him for a role in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). This was followed by an appearance in the Academy Award winning Ben-Hur (1959). Sam Jaffe's later career was marked by a number of guest appearances in popular shows including Batman, Columbo and Bonanza. He passed away in 1984 after a battle with cancer.