Leon Belasco

Leon Belasco (born Leonid Simeonovich Berladsky; 11 October 1902 – 1 June 1988) was a Russian-American actor and musician who had a 60-year career in film and television from the 1920s to the 1980s, appearing in more than 100 films.

Leon Belasco
Leon Belasco in Topper Takes a Trip.jpg
Belasco in Topper Takes a Trip (1938)
Leonid Simeonovich Berladsky

(1902-10-11)11 October 1902
Died1 June 1988(1988-06-01) (aged 85)
  • Actor
  • musician
Years active1926–1976

Musical careerEdit

Born in Odessa, Russian Empire, Belasco attended St. Joseph College in Yokohama, Japan, and trained as a musician in Japan and Manchuria. He was briefly the concertmaster of the Japanese-Russian Symphony Orchestra, a predecessor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra.[1]

When he moved on his own to California in 1921 (leaving his parents and brother behind in Harbin, Manchuria), Belasco found occasional work in Hollywood. He made his film debut in 1926 in the silent film The Best People. To supplement his income, he played the violin. Later he formed his own band, which mainly performed in hotels in and around New York City. The Andrews Sisters were introduced through his band.[2]

In 1933, Belasco and his orchestra were heard on the Oldsmobile Program on CBS radio.[3]

Film careerEdit

Leon Belasco with June Clyde in Hollywood and Vine (1945)

During a season break from a hotel engagement, he returned to Hollywood, first appearing in Broadway Serenade and Topper Takes a Trip (1938). He acted in 13 films in 1942, including Holiday Inn, Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Road to Morocco.[2]

He appeared with the Marx Brothers in their last film together, Love Happy (1949).[4] Being able to speak Russian, he was a dialogue director in Norman Jewison's 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.

Belasco often played eccentric or befuddled European and ethnic characters.[2] He also played heavier roles in espionage dramas. On radio, he played a thieving informant in The Man Called X. His best-known television role was as Appopoplous the landlord in My Sister Eileen (1960).[1] His last film was Superdad (1973), and his final television movie was Woman of the Year (1976).[2]

Television careerEdit

Beginning in 1953,[2] Belasco appeared in a variety of television shows, including Maverick (1961), Twilight Zone (1963), My Favorite Martian,(1965) The Lucy Show (1963), The Beverly Hillbillies (1964-1967), My Three Sons (1966), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1966), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), Little House on the Prairie (1978) and Trapper John, M.D. (1980).

On his death in 1988 in Orange, California, Belasco was cremated, and his ashes scattered.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b Hal Erickson (2012). "Leon Belasco - Full Biography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Leon Belasco as a Dealer". mcgady.net. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  3. ^ Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 494.
  4. ^ "Leon Belasco". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2010.

External linksEdit