Sam Jaffe - Rotten Tomatoes

Sam Jaffe

Highest Rated:   100% Lost Horizon (1937)
Lowest Rated:   17% The Dunwich Horror (1970)
Birthday:  
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
63% 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
67% A Guide for the Married Man
  • Technical Advisor
1967
94% Born Free
  • Producer
1966
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
94% The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Prof. Barnhardt
1951
96% 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
No Score Yet The Fighting Sullivans
  • Producer
1944
No Score Yet Stage Door Canteen
  • Stage Door Canteen Star
1943
92% Gunga Din
  • Gunga Din
1939
100% Lost Horizon
  • High Lama
1937
No Score Yet We Live Again
  • Gregory Simonson
1934
90% 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 Batman
1966-1968
  • Albert A. Aardvark
  • 1966

Quotes from Sam Jaffe's Characters