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David Opatoshu; Film, TV and Stage Actor

May 04, 1996

David Opatoshu, 78, versatile Emmy Award-winning actor in film, television and stage best remembered for his role in the film "Exodus." A native of New York City, Opatoshu made his Broadway debut in 1938 in the plays "Golden Boy" and "Night Music." His motion picture debut came a year later in the Yiddish film "The Light Ahead," which was revived in 1982 as the first Yiddish production screened at the New York Film Festival. After serving in the Army during World War II, Opatoshu performed in stage shows such as "Me and Molly" and "Silk Stockings" and mainstream Hollywood films including "The Naked City" and "The Brothers Karamazov." In 1960, he played the role of Jewish resistance leader Akiva Ben Canaan in "Exodus." His roles in television miniseries and movies centered on the Middle East and included Shimon in "Masada" and Menachem Begin in "Raid on Entebbe." In 1985, the actor appeared in "Twelve Angry Men" at Los Angeles' Henry Fonda Theater. Opatoshu received an Emmy in 1991 for outstanding guest appearance in a dramatic series for his work in "Gabriel's Fire." The son of a Yiddish novelist, Opatoshu wrote a collection of short stories in Yiddish and the 1971 screenplay "Romance of a Horse Thief." On Tuesday in Los Angeles.

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