Sam Jaffe - MovieActors.com

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Jaffe in GUNGA DIN

About Sam Jaffe (1891 - 1984)

Sam Jaffe was born on March 10, 1891 in New York, New York.  He had frizzled hair and a high, gravely voice.

Originally a math teacher from the Bronx, Sam Jaffe started acting in 1915 with the Washington Square Players. Later Sam moved to Broadway, and then to Hollywood, making his screen debut as the mad Grand Duke Peter in The Scarlet Empress (1934).

Sam Jaffe played in the High Lama in the 1937 movie, LOST HORIZON.  He played a professor in GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT in 1947, with Gregory Peck. In the 1950 John Huston movie, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, Jaffe played criminal mastermind 'Doc' Riedenschneider, who plans a million dollar heist.  He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.

In the 1951 sci-fi classic, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, Sam Jaffe plays Professor Jacob Barnhardt, whose advice is sought in understanding the thoughtful alien, Klaatu, who lands on earth to deliver a message to humans.  His role was in danger of being cut, due to his being targeted during the HUAC hearings.

Subsequently, Sam Jaffe was blacklisted by major Hollywood studios for 7 years, until Director John Huston brought him back to the screen in his 1958 THE BARBARIAN AND THE GEISHA.  He next played the slave, Simonides, in the William Wyler biblical tale, BEN HUR [1959], which won 11 Academy Awards.  

Sam Jaffe frequently worked in television, where he was well known as Dr. Zorba on the "Ben Casey" series (1961-65). He was still acting in the same year he passed away, at age 93.

Jaffe's other notable credits include...

ON THE LINE (1984)
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER (1984)
THE TELL-TALE HEART (1971)
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971)
BEN-HUR (1959)
GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT (1947)
GUNGA DIN (1939)
THE SCARLET EMPRESS (1934)

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Sam Jaffe (right) in BEN-HUR

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Sam Jaffe in THE GREAT BANK ROBBERY (1969)

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Sam Jaffe in GUNGA DIN

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Sam Jaffe in LOST HORIZON

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Jaffe in BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980)

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Sam Jaffe in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

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Sam Jaffe in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)

 

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