|Born||July 14, 1901|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||February 27, 1980 (aged 78)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Mount Carmel Cemetery, Glendale, Queens, New York City|
George Tobias (July 14, 1901 – February 27, 1980) was an American theater, film and television actor. He had character parts and supporting roles in several major films of Hollywood's Golden Age. He is also known for his role as Abner Kravitz on the TV sitcom Bewitched from 1964 to 1971.
Born in New York on July 14, 1901, Tobias was the younger of two sons born to Russian-Jewish immigrants Samuel and Esther—aka Nettie—Tobias, both of whom were active in the Yiddish theatre, as was his older brother Benjamin. Far removed fom the stereotypical stage parent, both Mr. and Mrs. Tobias did their utmost to discourage the acting bug in their youngest:
[T]hey made up their minds very definitely that I was not going to spend my life nearly starving as they did. They wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer, but I knew from a very early age that I would follow the same career as my mother, father and brother[...] So whenever I got an acting job in between my other jobs, I had to keep it secret from my family.
Tobias began acting at age 15, at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse. He appeared in Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape in 1922, and in Charles Méré's La Flamme and Channing Pollock's The Fool the following year, before making his Broadway debut in Maxwell Anderson's What Price Glory? in 1924.
In 1939, he signed with Warner Bros. and was cast in supporting roles, many times along with James Cagney, in such movies as Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), as well as with Gary Cooper in Sergeant York (1941) and Irving Berlin, Ronald Reagan, and George Murphy in This Is the Army (1943). In 1950, he was cast against type as a ruthless killer and felon in the film noir Southside 1-1000.
Tobias portrayed Penrose in eight episodes of the ABC program Adventures in Paradise (1959–1961). From 1964 to 1971, he played Abner Kravitz, the long-suffering neighbor on the ABC sitcom Bewitched. Tobias often appeared in an uncredited role as a courtroom spectator on the CBS program Perry Mason, and he played Sidney Falconer in the episode titled "The Case of the Antic Angel" (1964).
In 1972-1973, Tobias appeared in three episodes of The Waltons as junkman Vernon Rutley.
Tobias never married and retired from acting in 1977 after reprising his role as Abner Kravitz in a guest appearance on the Bewitched sequel Tabitha.
A Democrat, he supported Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election.
On February 27, 1980, Tobias died of Bladder cancer at the age of 78 at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Glendale, Queens, New York City.