Unexpected Film Roles for Jews – Part 1

My Review: 9

“Hallo. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Many of us have heard that line hundreds of times. He says it a total of six times throughout the movie, and I’ve seen the movie at least 27 times… you do the math. But did you know that Mandy Patinkin is the actor who plays Inigo? Further, did you know that Mandy Patinkin is Jewish?

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Mandy Patinkin is an Emmy and Tony award winning Jewish actor, singer and entertainer. He loves to sing and perform Yiddish songs and theater, and has published books on Yiddish culture. He has performed on Broadway. Recently (in the last few years) he has starred in a prime time television series called Criminal Minds. A few weeks ago he left the show, but his work there was excellent as well. Wikipedia has a good overview of his career and personal life, and there is no need for me to re-write here. Though it is cool that he was a classmate of Kelsey Grammer’s at Juilliard.

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It is hard to see him acting today, in various roles, and not hear the faux-Spanish accent coming out of his mouth. I am so primed to see his scarred visage in the role of the greatest swordsman in the world. But it was even crazier when I found out that he was Jewish. It just never occurred to me that the actor playing Inigo might be Jewish. I suppose that’s why they call it acting – the person in the role does not need to be anything like the character they are portraying. Maybe it’s about association. I first saw Topol in Fiddler on the Roof, so now I think of him as Jewish and a Jewish actor. If I had first seen him in Flash Gordon, as Dr. Hans Zarkov – he might have made it into this series.

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In my next edition of Unexpected Film Roles for Jews, I will tell you about a villainous, dirty culprit from many of your favorite familiar Westerns. Stay tuned.

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