David Opatoshu
Opatoshu in the TV series One Step Beyond, episode Earthquake, 1960
David Opatovsky

(1918-01-30)January 30, 1918
New York City, U.S.
DiedApril 30, 1996(1996-04-30) (aged 78)
Other namesDavid Opatashu
Years active1936–1996
Lillian Weinberg
(m. 1941; died 1996)

David Opatoshu (born David Opatovsky; January 30, 1918 – April 30, 1996) was an American actor. He is best known for his role in the film Exodus (1960).[1]

Opatoshu began his acting career in the Yiddish theater. Following his tenure in the role of "Mr. Carp" in the 1938 national tour of the play Golden Boy, he made his Broadway debut in 1940 in the play Night Music.[2] He then appeared in numerous television series and films. In 1991, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for his role in the episode "A Prayer for the Goldsteins" of the television series Gabriel's Fire.


His career in television began in 1949 and lasted through the 1980s.

Opatoshu in the 1969 Mannix episode "A Pittance of Faith", as Mr. Lardelli.

In 1963, he co-starred with James Doohan in an episode of The Twilight Zone titled "Valley of the Shadow". He guest-starred in the 1964 The Outer Limits episode "A Feasibility Study"; in the 1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "The Price of Doom"; and in the 1965 two-part episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. called "The Alexander the Greater Affair".

In 1967, he played Anan 7 in the original Star Trek series episode "A Taste of Armageddon". In 1969, he figured in a Hawaii Five-O episode "Face of the Dragon", and also in the 1969 season 3 Ironside episode "L'Chayim", and in Mannix, in the episode "A Pittance of Faith", as Mr. Lardelli, in the same year.

Opatoshu played in a 1970 episode of Daniel Boone as "Tamenund", an aged Pequot Indian bent on revenge for his tribe's near-extinction. He was also in the "No Way to Treat a Relative" episode of the 1973 situation comedy Needles and Pins (never broadcast because of the show's cancellation), the Kojak episode "Both Sides of the Law", the 1977 The Bionic Woman episode "Doomsday is Tomorrow", the 1978 Little House on the Prairie episode "I'll Be Waving as You Drive Away", the 1981 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Time of the Hawk", and the 1981 miniseries Masada. In 1986 he played an Iranian ambassador in the TV thriller Under Siege, about Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States.

On October 30, 1989, Opatashu guest-starred as the Tenctonese ex-slave Paul Revere in the episode "Night of the Screams", of the television series Alien Nation.

In 1991, he won an Emmy Award for his guest appearance in the episode "A Prayer for the Goldsteins" of the ABC series Gabriel's Fire.[3]


David Opatoshu in Raid on Entebbe

His first film, The Light Ahead (1939), directed by Henry Felt and Edgar G. Ulmer, is notable for being entirely in Yiddish. Opatoshu appeared as the homicide detective, Sgt. Ben Miller, in the film noir, The Naked City (1948) produced by Mark Hellinger. In 1958, he played a supporting character in The Brothers Karamazov with his future Star Trek co-star William Shatner. He also portrayed Herr Jacobi, one of the people who help Paul Newman and Julie Andrews escape from East Germany in Alfred Hitchcock's 1966 film Torn Curtain. He also played the father of Benny Rampell in 1963's "The Cardinal" uncredited.

He played the Irgun leader (and Ari Ben Canaan's estranged uncle) in Otto Preminger's 1960 film Exodus. In 1967, Opatoshu played Morris Kolowitz, the father of the main character David (Reni Santoni), in Carl Reiner's directorial debut Enter Laughing. In the 1977 film, Raid on Entebbe, he played the part of Menachem Begin, a film based on the actual Operation Entebbe and the freeing of hostages at Entebbe Airport in Entebbe, Uganda on July 4, 1976. He had played Begin's fictional counterpart in Exodus.


Opatoshu appeared on Broadway in Silk Stockings (1956), Once More, With Feeling (1958), The Wall (1960), Bravo Giovanni (1962), Lorenzo (1963), and Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? (1969).[2]


David Opatoshu also wrote the screenplay for the film Romance of a Horsethief (1971), based on a novel by his father, Joseph Opatoshu.


After serving with the Air Force in the South Pacific during World War II, Opatoshu returned to Manhattan and worked in radio, theater, television and films. His wartime experiences provided the material for "Between Sea and Sand," a collection of short stories he published in Yiddish in 1946. David Opatoshu was survived by his wife, Lillian Weinberg, a psychiatric social worker, whom he married on June 10, 1941. They had one child together, a son, Danny. Lillian died on May 13, 2000.[4][1]

Complete filmography

Partial television credits


  1. ^ a b Grimes, William (May 3, 1996). "David Opatoshu, 78, an Actor Best Known for an 'Exodus' Role". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 26, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "David Opatoshu – Broadway Cast & Staff". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (8th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 1441. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.
  4. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths WALLACH, LILLIAN WEINBERG OPATOSHU". The New York Times. May 16, 2000. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2022.