‘Judgment Night’ for Nehemiah Persoff

Image courtesy IMDB

In 2020, I wrote of the connection between iconic character actors Nehemiah Persoff and Norman Lloyd, and marveled at the fact that both centenarians were still alive. Sadly, Lloyd passed away last year and Persoff just three weeks ago. (See Deadline.com.)

I encourage you to revisit my original post from two years ago and join me in celebrating the career of Persoff who, though not well known to today’s audiences, starred in probably the greatest Twilight Zone episode of all time (“Judgment Night,” from 1959) and also gave one of the greatest supporting performances during the 10-year-run of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Persoff’s surly gem came in “Heart of Gold” (season three, episode four). (As for my promised article on the best episodes of that famous TV show, that is coming soon.)

Persoff’s best known big-screen appearance might have been as Little Bonaparte in Some Like it Hot, but there was nothing little about that performance or the man. He was an acting giant from the moment he joined the inaugural class of Elia Kazan’s Actors Studio in 1947 until his retirement in 2003 with more than 200 credits to his name.

In the aforementioned Twilight Zone episode, his character, a former U-boat commander, is doomed to spend eternity riding the ghost of the ship he sank during World War II. That’s his judgment in the afterlife. As for Persoff — if you believe in such things — the judgment meted out to him will be resplendent.

© 2022 MeierMovies, LLC

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