Known for his dry, intelligent wit and flat style of delivery, American comedian and supporting actor Steve Landesberg is best remembered for playing Detective Dietrich on the popular television sitcom Barney Miller (1976-1982). He started out as a standup comic working at the original Improvisation Comedy Club in New York in 1969, where he shared the stage with such aspiring stars as David Brenner, Bette Midler, Robert Klein, Richard Pryor, and Jimmie Walker. In 1971, Landesberg appeared for the first of many times on The Tonight Show with host Johnny Carson. Landesberg made his feature-film debut in Blade in 1972. That summer, he also appeared regularly on the variety series Dean Martin Presents. He was also a co-star on the short-lived series Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (1974-1975). Following the demise of Barney Miller, Landesberg primarily focused on his standup career and an acting career in regional theaters. He also become a popular commercial pitchman for products ranging from Office Depot to Ryder Trucks.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Son of a Bronx milliner and grocery-store owner.
- Broke into show business in 1969 as a stand-up comic, performing in the same New York clubs as Jimmy Walker, Bette Midler, Freddie Prinze and David Brenner.
- Made first appearance on The Tonight Show in December 1971.
- Was a member of an improv group (The New York Stickball Team) that appeared on NBC's Dean Martin summer-replacement variety series (starring Bobby Darin) in 1972.
- Initial appearance on Barney Miller was in a guest role (as a fraudulent priest) on the series' second-season opener in 1975; introduced the character of Det. Arthur Dietrich as a semiregular in Season 3 and became a regular in Season 4.
- Appeared on The Hollywood Squares in the late 1970s.
- Hosted a 1983 NBC comedy special.
- Met his wife, a TV-commercial producer, while filming a 1985 Ryder Trucks commercial.
- Portrayed psychiatrist Dr. Myron Finkelstein on the Starz sitcom Head Case (2007-09).
- Final role was on the series finale of the A&E drama The Cleaner (2008-09).