Actor. He is best remembered for his supporting role of 'Dr. David Zorba' in the television soap opera, "Ben Casey" (1961 to 1965), and for his role as 'Gunga Din', in the 1939 movie of the same name. Born Shalom Jaffe in New York City, he studied engineering at Columbia University, then began a career as a math teacher in the Bronx, and began acting in 1915 with the Washington Square Players, following the lead of his mother, who was a prominent actress in Yiddish theater productions. His first screen picture was as the mad Grand Duke Peter' in "The Scarlet Empress" (1934). He would play the benevolent 'High Lama in "Lost Horizon" (1937), but was wildly acclaimed for his role two years later, at the age of 46, in "Gunga Din" (1939), in which he played the supporting character of an Indian water boy some twenty years younger. In 1950, he earned an Oscar nomination for his role of 'Doc Erwin Riedenschneider', in the movie, "The Asphalt Jungle." He would continue to act in television series, often as a guest star, and in movies, mostly in believable supporting roles, including such films as "Gentlemen's Agreement" (1947), "Under the Gun" (1951), "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), "Ben-Hur" (1959), "Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion" (1967), "Night Gallery" (1969), "Enemies" (1971), "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" (1971), "Ghost Story" (1972), and "Battle Beyond the Stars" (1984). His last film was in "On the Line" (1984), released just after his death. He died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California.
Bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni