This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Sofaer in Mission: Impossible
1 October 1896|
Rangoon, Burma (now known as Myanmar)
21 January 1988 (aged 91)|
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Abraham Isaac Sofaer (1 October 1896 - 21 January 1988) was a stage actor who became a familiar supporting player in film and on television in his later years. Although often incorrectly listed as Burmese, Sofaer was proudly descended from Baghdad Jews. He was born in Rangoon, then a part of the British Empire. The son of very successful merchants (see the Sofaer Building, Rangoon), he was educated as a British gentleman and initially worked as a school teacher in Burma and later in London. Sofaer's strong features and resonant voice complemented his many exotic character roles.
Sofaer began his acting career on the London stage in 1921, but soon he was alternating between theatre productions in London and New York. In 1935 he gained widespread attention on Broadway portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Victoria Regina. During the 1930s he also began appearing in both British and American films. Among his more prominent performances were his dual role as the Judge and Surgeon in Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (1946) and as Saint Paul in Quo Vadis (1951).
He also appeared on television from its earliest days in the late 1930s and on radio. Although his film appearances diminished after the 1950s, he continued to have guest roles on dozens of major U.S. television series throughout the 1960s. He made three appearances on Perry Mason including as Sylvester Robey in the 1960 episode "The Case of the Crying Cherub" and his voice was featured in two episodes of Star Trek. Other guest appearances were in Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Daniel Boone, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, and The Outer Limits. He may be best remembered for his recurring role as Haji, the master of all genies, on I Dream of Jeannie and as The Swami who advises Peter Tork in the "Sauna" scene in The Monkees' 1968 film Head.
Sofaer married Angela Psyche Christian, with whom he had two sons and four daughters. He retired from acting in the mid-1970s.