Abraham Sofaer

Active - 1931 - 1970  |   Born - Oct 1, 1896   |   Died - Jan 21, 1988   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Burmese actor Abraham Sofaer had the strong semitic features and cultured mannerisms to allow him to play a variety of ethnic types. In various films and TV shows, Sofaer portrayed Jews, Arabs, Armenians, Turks and plenty of East Indians (though he usual shied away from the latter because, in his words, "it is so ridiculously easy"). Offscreen, Sofaer thought of himself as an old-school-tie Englishman. He came to London at age 19 to complete his education, secured a job as stage manager with a Shakespearian company, and went on to a British stage career in 1921 -- making his BBC television debut as early as 1936. One of his most famous portrayals in both England and on Broadway was as Disraeli in the original Helen Hayes production of Victoria Regina. Ensconced in Hollywood by the '50s, Sofaer continued to live the live of an English gentleman, playing cricket in his spare time. He also was a keen scholar of different cultures, especially Hebrew tribal customs. Among Abraham Sofaer's many films were Dreyfus (filmed in Britain in 1931), Elephant Walk (1956), The King of Kings (1961) and Head (1969); certainly Sofaer's most conspicuous film performance was as God Himself in A Matter of Life and Death (1945).

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