For years, Irv Rubin, the outspoken and abrasive chairman of the Jewish Defense League, has been trying to soften his harsh public image, born of various well-publicized confrontations that included disturbances of the peace and battles with sundry neo-Nazis, Klansmen and other anti-Semites.
But the kinder, gentler plan backfired recently when the call went out for an "Irv Rubin-type" to appear in a three-part episode of NBC's "Reasonable Doubts" that dealt with the trial of a neo-Nazi skinhead who killed a pious elderly Jew. The show's casting director, Tony Sepulveda, says he proposed hiring Rubin himself. Alas, reports Sepulveda, Rubin's audition didn't wow the producers.
"It was almost like he was intimidated by himself," Sepulveda says. "It wasn't Irv Rubin the way he is on the nightly news--it was Irv Rubin trying to act like Irv Rubin."
Rubin is disappointed. "It would have been a tremendous coup," says Rubin, "but I guess I just wasn't fiery enough."