Fyvush Finkel Dead At 93: ‘Picket Fences’ Actor Reportedly Had Heart Problems, Former Cast Mates Share Tributes

Actor Fyvush Finkel, best known for his role on the ’90s series Picket Fences, died Sunday at the age of 93.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the longtime actor passed away in his Manhattan home. Finkel’s son Ian confirmed the news of Fyvush’s passing to the New York Times. Ian also told the news outlet that his father “had been having heart problems for many months. “

Over the years of Fyvush Finkel’s extensive acting career, he played a number of different roles on the small screen, movie screen, and even the Broadway stage. However, he is perhaps most remembered for playing Douglas Wambaugh in the popular drama series Picket Fences. The show lasted for four seasons between September 1992 and July 1996. It aired 88 episodes and won 14 Emmy Awards along with a Golden Globe during its original run.

Fyvush Finkel
(Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect)

The drama, which was produced by 20th Century Fox, starred an ensemble of talented actors and actresses – including Tom Skerritt, Kathy Baker, Lauren Holly, and Holly Marie Combs. Quite a few of Fyvush’s former Picket Fences cast mates shared their reaction to the news of his death with tweeted tributes and photos.

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin played Mayor Laurie Bey on the David E. Kelley-created series. Marlee’s performance in the series earned her a nomination for an Emmy Award. She was also brought on-board as a series regular for the final season of Picket Fences.

Long before his Oscar-nominated performance in the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle starred alongside Fyvush Finkel in Picket Fences as District Attorney John Littleton in nearly 40 episodes. Cheadle referred to Fyvush as “one of the great ones” on Twitter – crediting the recently deceased actor for being “whip smart and professional” back then.

Philip “Fyvush” Finkel’s acting career spanned a timeline of more than five decades. Long before Picket Fences premiered on the small screen, Finkel debuted on the Broadway stage in the mid-1960s. He joined the cast of the popular musical Fiddler on the Roof as the innkeeper Mordcha in 1965 and again in its 1981 revival, according to the Internet Broadway Database (IBDB).

Even after Picket Fences was over, Fyvush Finkel had another opportunity to work with David E. Kelley yet again on the popular series Boston Public in 2000. Finkel played Harvey Lipschultz, a history teacher, throughout the show’s four-year run.

However, perhaps Fyvush Finkel’s work on Picket Fences will remain one of his most memorable performances. The actor’s performance earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series along with several other award nominations.

[Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images]