Fyvush Finkel, who died Sunday at 93, was a Yiddish theater actor with just a handful of small-screen credits when a supporting role as a lawyer in the 1990 Sidney Lumet movie Q&A put him on the radar of David E. Kelley. The top TV writer-producer cast Finkel in his Emmy-winning drama series Picket Fences, launching a two-decade collaboration. Following Picket Fences, which ran on CBS for four seasons and earned Finkel an Emmy Award in 1994 for his role as public defender Douglas Wambaugh, Kelley cast Finkel as one of the leads of his Fox drama series Boston Public, which also ran for four seasons. These were the two biggest TV stints in the acting career of Finkel, who also made guest appearances on the Kelley series Harry’s Law and The Wedding Bells. Here is how Kelley remembered Finkel in a statement to Deadline:
He would probably want me to tell a joke. More than anything, Fyvush loved to share the laughter in his heart with others. And some heart it was. He reminded us daily that life was meant to be lived, best served with love and kindness.
So beyond saddened that he has passed. Consoled, knowing he will never be gone, not to those who were forever blessed to have known him. Lucky enough to have loved him. What a character. What a man.