Sam Jaffe

Sam Jaffe

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
  • Lowest Rated: 17% The Dunwich Horror (1970)
  • Birthday: Mar 10, 1891
  • Birthplace: New York, New York
  • Nature obviously intended for Sam Jaffe to spend much of his screen career playing eccentric scientists and peppery little old men. As a child, Jaffe appeared in Yiddish stage productions with his mother, a prominent actress. He gave up the theater to study engineering at Columbia University, then served for several years as a mathematics teacher in the Bronx. He returned to acting in 1915 and never left, despite efforts by the more rabid communist-hunters of the 1950s to prevent the gently liberal-minded Jaffe from earning a living. Jaffe's now-familiar shock of wild, white hair was first put on view before the cameras in 1934's The Scarlet Empress, in which he played the insane Grand Duke Peter (several critics compared Jaffe's erratic behavior and bizarre appearance to Harpo Marx). Still only in his mid-40s, Jaffe went on to play the centuries-old High Lama in Capra's Lost Horizon (1937). In 1939, he essayed the title character in Gunga Din, though Hollywood protocol dictated that top billing go to Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Jaffe was Oscar-nominated for his performance as Doc, the "brains" in the 1950 crime film The Asphalt Jungle. His resemblance to Albert Einstein (minus the bushy moustache, of course) led to Jaffe being cast in Einsteinlike roles in Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Jaffe was the lifelong best friend of Edward G. Robinson, with whom he appeared in the made-for-TV film The Old Man Who Cried Wolf (1971). TV viewers with long memories will recall Sam Jaffe as snowy-haired father-figure Dr. Zorba on the 1960s TV series Ben Casey, in which Jaffe was co-starred with his second wife, Bettye Ackerman.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Under The Gun Actor 2013
No Score Yet Broadway Theatre Archive - Enemies Actor 2003
No Score Yet George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey Himself 1984
No Score Yet Nothing Lasts Forever Father Knickerbocker 1984
No Score Yet On the Line Gabacho 1983
No Score Yet West of Hester Street Narrator 1983
45% Battle Beyond the Stars Dr. Hephaestus 1980
No Score Yet Gideon's Trumpet Justice No. 1 1980
66% Bedknobs and Broomsticks Bookman 1971
No Score Yet The Tell-Tale Heart Actor 1971
17% The Dunwich Horror Old Whateley 1970
No Score Yet Guns for San Sebastian Father Joseph 1968
57% A Guide for the Married Man Technical Advisor 1967
94% Born Free Producer 1966
No Score Yet Damon and Pythias Producer 1962
86% Ben-Hur Simonedes 1959
No Score Yet The Barbarian and the Geisha Henry Heusken 1958
No Score Yet Les Espions (The Spies) American Agent 1957
No Score Yet I Can Get it For You Wholesale Sam Cooper 1951
95% The Day the Earth Stood Still Prof. Barnhardt 1951
97% The Asphalt Jungle Doc Erwin Riedenschneider 1950
No Score Yet Rope of Sand Dr. Francis Hunter 1949
No Score Yet The Accused Dr. Romley 1949
78% Gentleman's Agreement Prof. Lieberman 1947
83% 13 Rue Madeleine Mayor Galimard 1947
100% The Fighting Sullivans Producer 1944
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen Stage Door Canteen Star 1943
92% Gunga Din Gunga Din 1939
93% Lost Horizon High Lama 1937
No Score Yet We Live Again Gregory Simonson 1934
87% The Scarlet Empress Grand Duke Peter 1934
No Score Yet Ace of Aces Producer 1933
No Score Yet Emergency Call Producer 1933
No Score Yet Diplomaniacs Producer 1933

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet Kojak
1973-1978
Papa
  • 1977
No Score Yet The Bionic Woman
1976-1978
Admiral Ricter
  • 1976
No Score Yet Columbo
1968-2003
Henry
  • 1975
No Score Yet The Streets of San Francisco
1972-1977
  • 1974
93% Batman
1966-1968
Albert A. Aardvark
  • 1966
No Score Yet Bonanza
1959-1973
Joshua Norton
  • 1966
No Score Yet Ben Casey
1961-1966
Dr. David Zorba
  • 1966
  • 1965
  • 1964
  • 1963
  • 1962
  • 1961
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
1955-1962
Archimandrite Ballew
  • 1961
  • 1960
No Score Yet Night Gallery
1970-1973
Bleum

QUOTES FROM Sam Jaffe CHARACTERS

Doc Erwin Riedenschneider
"One way or another, we all work for our vice."
Doc Erwin Riedenschneider
One way or another, we all work for our vice.