Jack Kruschen

Jacob "Jack" Kruschen (March 20, 1922 April 2, 2002) was a Canadian character actor who worked primarily in American film, television and radio. Kruschen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Dreyfuss in the 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment.

Jack Kruschen
Kruschen in 1976
Jacob Kruschen

(1922-03-20)March 20, 1922
DiedApril 2, 2002(2002-04-02) (aged 80)
Years active1949–97
Spouse(s)Marjorie Ullman (1947–1961; divorced; 2 children)
Violet Rafaella Mooring (1962–1978; her death)
Mary Pender (1979–2002; his death)

Early life

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Jacob Kruschen, to Moses (aka Maurice and Morris) Kruschen and Sophie (née Bogushevsky) Kruschen, both of Russian Jewish descent, Jacob and his family migrated to New York City in the early 1920s, and then to California. His sister, Miriam, was born in New York City in 1927.



Kruschen began his radio career while still in high school, and during the 1940s, he became a staple of West Coast radio drama. He had several roles in programs made especially for the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) broadcast for the benefit of members on active duty in the military in the 1940s and 1950s. He had regular or recurring roles on Broadway Is My Beat (as Sgt. Muggavan), and Pete Kelly's Blues (as Red, the bass player), as well as frequent episodic roles on anthology series, Westerns and crime dramas.

He was heard on such high-profile series as Escape, Dragnet, Gunsmoke (usually as law-abiding locals), Crime Classics, Frontier Gentleman, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Nightbeat and Suspense.


His movie career is highlighted by his performance as neighbor Dr. Dreyfuss in Billy Wilder's The Apartment (for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor).

Other film assignments included George Pal's The War of the Worlds (as Salvatore, one of the first three victims, a role he reprised on the Lux Radio Theater adaptation), in Cecil B. DeMille's final film, The Buccaneer, as astronaut Sam Jacobs in the 1959 cult classic The Angry Red Planet, The Unsinkable Molly Brown (as saloon owner Christmas Morgan), Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, Lover Come Back, McLintock! (with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara), Follow That Dream (with Elvis Presley), Cape Fear, starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, and Money to Burn with Eve McVeagh.


Kruschen appeared as Maurice Pulvermacher in the original 1962 Broadway production of I Can Get It for You Wholesale with neophyte singer/actress, 19-year-old Barbra Streisand. In 1969, he co-starred in the London staging of the musical Promises, Promises, reprising his film role in this show based on The Apartment.


Kruschen was performing on television as early as 1939, appearing in dramas on Don Lee's experimental television station in Los Angeles, where he was seen on some two hundred television sets with three-inch screens. Thereafter, Kruschen's television career included guest villain Eivol Ekdol, a villainous magicians' craftsman on Batman (episodes 9 and 10). He was seen in twelve episodes of NBC's Dragnet (portraying a pedophile in one infamous episode) as well as the ABC/Desilu series, Zorro. He had a recurring role across three seasons on Bonanza (Italian grapegrower Giorgio Rossi,) as Tully the bartender in the 1960–1961 ABC series Hong Kong (that launched Aussie actor Rod Taylor into his film career).

In 1969, Kruschen co-starred with Stefanie Powers in an unsold ABC sitcom pilot, Holly Golighty, adapted from Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. The husky, mustachioed Kruschen seemed to specialize in playing benevolent ethnic paternal figures and had roles in Columbo (The Most Dangerous Match, 1973), Barney Miller, Odd Couple (TV series), Busting Loose, The Incredible Hulk, and, in later years, Murphy Brown, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

He appeared in the recurring role of "Grandpa Papadopolis" on Webster (1985–87), and in the early 1990s, as another Greek grandfather and as Pam and Jesse's grandfather, Iorgos "Papouli" Katsopolis on Full House, appearing in only two episodes before his character is killed off in the episode, "The Last Dance".

His final on-screen appearance was in the 1997 film 'Til There Was You as "Mr. Katz". He played the doctor in two episodes of The Rifleman: "Trail of Hate" (episode 77) and "Baranca" (episode 82). He also played Clyde Bailey in "The Retired Gun" (episode 17) and Sammy in "One Went to Denver" (episode 25).

Personal life and death

Kruschen was married to Marjorie Ullman from January 1947 to 1961, and his second marriage was to Violet Rafaella Mooring from 1962 to 1978 (her death). He was married a third time, to Mary Pender from July 23, 1979, until April 2, 2002, when he died in Chandler, Arizona, while vacationing. He had been in ill health for some time. He was 80. Though he died on April 2, his death was not widely reported to the media until late May 2002. He was survived by his children and his third wife.

Complete filmography

Partial television credits

For TV movies, see above.
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