Picket Fences star Philip “Fyvush” Finkel died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.
The actor’s son Ian confirmed the news to the New York Times, noting that Finkel had heart problems leading up to his death.
Finkel’s career began long before his appearance as a lawyer on David E. Kelley’s 1990s series Picket Fences, which earned him an Emmy in 1994. He became known as a Yiddish theater actor, having kicked off his career at age 9 in the Yiddish Theater District in New York’s Lower East Side. Finkel made his Broadway debut in the original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof as Mordcha, the innkeeper, and participated in several productions of the show throughout his career, including some rounds as Tevye in the national touring company.
After appearing in a small role in Sidney Lumet’s 1990 film Q&A, Kelley cast Finkel on Picket Fences, which ran from 1992 to 1996. Their working relationship continued when Finkel landed a role as a history teacher on Boston Public, which aired from 2000 to 2005.
Finkel continued acting even after that, appearing in the 2009 film A Serious Man, as well as episodes of Kelley’s Harry’s Law in 2011 and Blue Bloods in 2013.
Finkel is survived by his two sons, Ian and Elliot, brother Nat, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.