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Star of “Law & Order,” (insert chung-chung sound here) and the 1st season of “Mission: Impossible,” Steven Hill died at the spry age of 94.

Hill will be most remembered for his role of the stern, seemingly imperturbable district attorney Adam Schiff on “Law & Order,” (insert chung-chung sound here).  But he really kicked ass as Daniel Briggs in the 1st season of “Mission: Impossible.”

But why only the 1st season?  Because he was Jewish.

As one of the few Orthodox Jewish actors working in Hollywood, he made it clear in advance of production that he was not able to work on the Sabbath (i.e., sundown Friday to dusk Saturday), and that he would leave the set every Friday before sundown.

The producers were all: “Yeah, sure, guy, that sounds great…”  Then, when Sundown

Steven Hill

“I’m gonna make it to that goddamned Seder if it kills my career!”

neared on Fridays and he left the studio (sometimes while still filming) the producers were suddenly like: “Oh, wait.  You were serious about that shit?  ‘Cuz that shit ain’t gonna fly.”

This became quite a sticking point with the producers.  They tried to use him less and less as episodes went on.  Normally, the show starts with the IMF team leader getting a mission (should he choose to accept it), doing the mission (because he always accepted it) and then kicking back with a scotch and soda at the nearest go-go bar.

Towards the end of the season, Hill would just get the mission and IMF his team would do the mission without him.  There were even a few episodes where he didn’t even do that much.

They couldn’t fire him because two years earlier that whole “Civil Rights Act” had been passed and equal employment meant that you couldn’t fire someone because of their religion.

Not to mention that doing so is totally a dick move.

Towards the end of filming, Hill was told to to climb the rafters via a soundstage staircase as was called for in the script and he refused.  This was likely a safety thing and not a Jewish thing.

But the producers were all: YES!  We can fire his ass now!

After that, Hill was blackballed and couldn’t get any work for the next ten years.  

In 1983, he made his big comeback in “Yentl.”  How embarrassing for him.

This hit goes to: Mary!  Another ten point brings her to 50 below the leader!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 170 – (Scott Weiland  – 60, Pat Harrington, Jr. – 20, Umberto Eco – 20, Rob Ford – 60, Erik Bauersfeld – 10)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 140 (Dolph Schayes – 20, Meadowlark Lemon – 20, Monte Irvin – 10, Muhammad Ali – 30, Pat Summitt – 40, Buddy Ryan – 20)

Lee Kwang-Soo (Giraffe): 130- (Daniel Fleetwood – 70, Abe Vigoda – 10, Nancy Fucking Reagan! – 10!, George Martin – 10, Elie Wiesel – 20, Mike “Mighty Atom, Jr.” Greenstein – 10)

The Girl on Fire: 120 (Wayne Rogers – 20, René Angélil – 30, George Gaynes – 10, James Noble – 10, Doris Roberts – 10, Marni Nixon – 20, Fyvush Finkel – 10, Steven Hill – 10)

Occupy the Casket: 100 – (Natalie Cole – 40, Vanity – 50, Boutros Boutros-Ghali – 10)

Joanne: 90 (Joey Feek – 60, Joe Garagiola – 10, Julius La Rosa – 20)

Team Sushi: 80 (Chyna, aka Joanie Laurer – 60, Morley Safer – 20)

Mostly Mike: 60 (Marvin Minsky – 20, Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros – 30, Janet Waldo – 10)

Age of Aquarius: 60 (William Guest – 30, Merle Haggard – 30)

Harmony: 60 (Harper Lee – 20, George Kennedy – 10, Frank Sinatra, Jr. – 30)

Nathaniel: 50 (Alan Young – 10, Kenny Baker – 20, Glenn Yarbrough – 20)

Mortician’s Daughter: 50 – (Justice Antonin Scalia – 30, Bud Collins – 20)

Gianna: 40 (Robert Stigwood – 20, Lois Duncan – 20)

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