Abraham Sofaer

Abraham Isaac Sofaer (1 October 1896 – 21 January 1988) was a Burmese-born British actor who began his career on stage and became a familiar supporting player in film and on television in his later years.

Abraham Sofaer
Sofaer.jpg
Sofaer in a 1966 episode of Mission: Impossible
Born
Abraham Isaac Sofaer

(1896-10-01)1 October 1896
Died21 January 1988(1988-01-21) (aged 91)
OccupationActor
Years active1921–1974
Spouse(s)
Angela Psyche Christian
(m. 1920)
Children6

Life and careerEdit

Although Sofaer was born in Rangoon, Burma (then a part of the British Empire),[1] he was descended from Baghdadi Jews.[citation needed] The son of very successful merchant Isaac Sofaer (who established the Sofaer Building, Rangoon, which still stands today), he was educated locally at the Diocesan Boys’ High School.[2] His education continued in England, and he initially worked as a school teacher in Rangoon and later in London.[3] Sofaer's strong features and resonant voice complemented his many exotic character roles.

Sofaer began his acting career on the London stage in 1921, but soon he was alternating between theatre productions in London and New York.[4] He appeared in the 1933 musical He Wanted Adventure alongside Bobby Howes. In 1935 he gained widespread attention on Broadway portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Victoria Regina.[3][5] During the 1930s he also began appearing in both British and American films. Among his more prominent performances were his dual role as the Judge and Surgeon in Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and as Saint Paul in Quo Vadis (1951).[6]

He also appeared on television from its earliest days in the late 1930s and on radio, including a small part in Dorothy L. Sayers' The Man Born to Be King.[4][7] Although his film appearances diminished after the 1950s, he continued to have guest roles on dozens of major U.S. television series throughout the 1960s.[8] He made three appearances on Perry Mason including as Sylvester Robey in the 1960 episode "The Case of the Crying Cherub" and his voice was featured in two episodes of Star Trek.[9] Other guest appearances were in Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, The Investigators, Daniel Boone, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, and The Outer Limits.[8] He may be best remembered for his recurring role as Haji, the master of all genies, on I Dream of Jeannie and as The Swami who advises Peter Tork in the "Sauna" scene in The Monkees' 1968 film Head.[10][11]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1920, Sofaer married Angela Psyche Christian, with whom he had two sons and four daughters. He retired from acting in 1974.

The noted jurist Abraham David Sofaer is the actor's first cousin, once removed.

DeathEdit

Sofaer died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, as the result of congestive heart failure in 1988.[3]

Complete filmographyEdit

Selected television appearancesEdit

Outer Limits:Demon with a glass hand:1964;Arch

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Abraham Sofaer | BBA Shakespeare". bbashakespeare.warwick.ac.uk.
  2. ^ "Abraham Sofaer | BBA Shakespeare". bbashakespeare.warwick.ac.uk.
  3. ^ a b c "A. Sofaer, 91; Veteran Film, Stage Actor", obituary, Los Angeles Times, January 22, 1988. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Abraham Sofaer | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  5. ^ "Abraham Sofaer", Internet Broadway Database (IBDB), The Broadway League, New York, N.Y. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "Abraham Sofaer". BFI.
  7. ^ "King Lear (1939): BBC | BBA Shakespeare". bbashakespeare.warwick.ac.uk.
  8. ^ a b "Abraham Sofaer | TV Guide". TVGuide.com.
  9. ^ "Abraham Sofaer | TV, Documentary and Other Appearances". AllMovie.
  10. ^ "I Dream of Jeannie : There Goes the Bride (1967) - Larry Hagman, Gene Nelson, Hal Cooper, Claudio Guzmán | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie.
  11. ^ "Head (1968) - Bob Rafelson | Cast and Crew". AllMovie.

External linksEdit