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Steven Hill Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (35) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Seattle, Washington, USA
Died in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameSolomon Krakovsky
Height 5' 11½" (1.82 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Seattle, Washington, in 1922, as Solomon Krakovsky, to Russian Jewish immigrants, Hill became interested in the theater as a little boy. After graduation from high school, he served in the Naval Reserve (1940-44). From there, he worked alongside a young, unknown star Marlon Brando in "A Flag is Born." His real acting debut came about in 1950, when he co-starred opposite Hedy Lamarr in A Lady Without Passport (1950), and his career took off from there.

For the rest of the 1950s and 1960s, he co-starred in B-movies such as: The Goddess (1958), Kiss Her Goodbye (1959), A Child Is Waiting (1963), The Slender Thread (1965). Hill also became a leading character actor guest-starring in a wide variety of shows such as: Schlitz Playhouse (1951), Danger (1950), Playwrights '56 (1955), Studio One in Hollywood (1948), Playhouse 90 (1956), Naked City (1958), Espionage (1963), Dr. Kildare (1961), Ben Casey (1961), among many others. Another guest-starring role on Rawhide (1959), led him to starring on Mission: Impossible (1966). Though the series lasted seven seasons, Hill was not pleased with his role because he refused to abide by the production schedule that required working on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, being an Orthodox Jew. Hill was fired after 1 season, and was replaced in the series by Peter Graves. After his firing, he went on a sabbatical from acting, to focus on selling homes in real estate, hence he moved to New York.

After his long absence from acting, he returned to the small screen with the TV mini-series, King (1978). The 1980s saw Hill returning to the box office, co-starring in such blockbuster films such as: It's My Turn (1980), opposite Jill Clayburgh and Michael Douglas, Eyewitness (1981), Yentl (1983), Garbo Talks (1984), opposite Anne Bancroft and Carrie Fisher, On Valentine's Day (1986), and it's sequel, Courtship (1987), he played a Mafia Don in Arnold Schwarzenegger's another blockbuster film, Raw Deal (1986), then, in a blockbuster ten movie Running on Empty (1988), followed by The Boost (1988), White Palace (1990), and one of the last films, Billy Bathgate (1991).

In the 1990s, at 68, after a 23-year-absence from the small screen, he reestablished his career, as the last minute replacement for a starring role in Law & Order (1990), where he played the role of a pragmatic District Attorney, Adam Schiff, a character whom everyone grew to love. Despite not appearing in the pilot episode of the series, he quickly became one of Hollywood's likable and bankable stars, where he often had scenes, that were filmed, only in court. His co-stars on the show consisted of actors who have also made bankable names like Hill himself like Chris Noth, former Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986) alumnae, S. Epatha Merkerson, Sam Waterston, and newcomers Jill Hennessy and Benjamin Bratt. On Law & Order (1990) he was also nominated for Emmies twice, but did not win. The entire cast was shocked when, in 2000, he left his role to enjoy his retirement. Before then, the entire cast appeared with Hill on Larry King Live (1985), to say goodbye to a legendary star. Today, he lives in retirement.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Richard Collins II (brothergaryii@yahoo.com)

Spouse (2)

Rachel Schenker (1967 - 23 August 2016) (his death) (5 children)
Selma Stern (8 April 1951 - 1964) (divorced) (4 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Often tells stories about his life as an Orthodox Jew
Usually played roles that are both parental and authority figures
His pragmatic voice

Trivia (35)

Is one of the few current Orthodox Jewish actors working today.
He was a founding member of Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio
Left the cast of Mission: Impossible (1966) after one season because, as an Orthodox Jew, he was unwilling to abide by the show's production schedule. (That would have required him to work on the Jewish Sabbath.)
Was a founding member of the Actor's Studio and, as such, knew and worked with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Gene Hackman before they became famous.
Is an alumnus of Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity.
Played the Manhattan District Attorney in both Legal Eagles (1986) and Law & Order (1990).
He rarely shared any scenes with any of the actors who played cops on Law & Order (1990).
Left acting from 1967 to 1978.
His son-in-law is a high school teacher in Manhattan, New York City.
Has appeared with Roscoe Lee Browne in two different, completely unrelated productions in which he played the New York County District Attorney: Legal Eagles (1986) and Law & Order (1990).
Although he and Jerry Orbach appeared in 177 episodes of Law & Order (1990) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Entitled (2000) together, they only appeared on screen together twice: during one brief scene in the Law & Order: Corruption (1996) and in the opening scene of the episode Refuge Pt. 2 (#9.24.
Was considered for the role of Dr.Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978).
Best known by the public for his starring role as D.A. Adam Schiff on Law & Order (1990).
Appeared in every episode of Law & Order (1990), for the first ten seasons, except one, until his retirement in 2000. The series pilot, Law & Order: Everybody's Favorite Bagman (1990), was filmed in 1988 and starred Roy Thinnes as the district attorney. It was neither aired nor picked up for a series at that time. It first aired as episode 6 in the first season.
When he departed from his role on Law & Order (1990), he became the fourth longest-running cast member.
Was a spokesperson for T.D. Waterhouse, alongside his Law & Order (1990), co-star Sam Waterston, in the 1990s.
Adam Schiff, his character from Law & Order (1990), was loosely based on the real former district attorney of New York, Robert Morgenthau, and it is reported that Morgenthau was a fan of the character.
Moved to a religious community in Rockland County, New York, in 1967.
Made a comeback with the television series at 68.
Before he returned to acting, he was working as a real estate agent.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to work in stage productions.
Was re-enlisted in the Navy, between 1952 and 1954, before he seriously returned to acting.
Served 4 years in the Naval Reserve.
Of Russian immigrants.
Graduated from West Seattle High School in Seattle, Washington, in 1940.
Met Martin Landau at the Actors' Studio (when he studied there) and eventually landed a role, opposite Hill on Mission: Impossible (1966), where he played Rollin Hand, for 3 seasons.
Was stricken with a virus the night of a sold out performance for the Masters Children's Center of Dobbs Ferry. As a result, the producers decided to cancel the performance just as the curtain was about to go up. [12 April 1961].
Began acting at age 24.
When he was a little boy, he was interested in the theater, after his sister entered a talent contest.
After guest-starring on Rawhide (1959), producer Bruce Geller recruited him to play the lead role of what would become Mission: Impossible (1966), which was based on his character's squad.
Has 9 children.
Since his retirement from acting, he does voice-overs.
Appeared with future Law & Order (1990) replacement, Dianne Wiest, in It's My Turn (1980).
Acting mentor and friends of: Jill Hennessy and Benjamin Bratt.

Personal Quotes (5)

I felt I had to be brash to make my mark. In this business you don't make out application forms - you have to make an instant impression. I had to do it over and over again before I was finally recognized.
I think probably because of all years and time that has gone by, I enjoy my work far more than I ever did before. Certainly more than I did in my early years when it took a lot of effort to do the best job I wanted to do. Now it is more of a joy and much more exciting.
I guess it's because what I'm doing in my work today is an accumulation of all the blood, sweat and tears went through in this business.
[on his popularity of playing the seventy-something Adam Schiff on Law & Order (1990)] There's a certain positive statement in this show. So much is negative today. The positive must be stated to rescue us from pandemonium. To me, it lies in, that principle: Law & Order.
[in 1996] But our stories are about real-life, and that's how life is today. We plea bargain all over the place.

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