'Law and Order' Actor Steven Hill Dead at 94 - NBC 10 Philadelphia

'Law and Order' Actor Steven Hill Dead at 94

The actor died Tuesday morning at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. His wife said he suffered from several ailments.

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Things to Do In and Around Philly This Weekend: Dec. 7-9<br />
    NBC via Getty Images
    File Photo of Steven Hill as D.A. Adam Schiff (Photo by Jessica Burstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

    Steven Hill, a versatile character actor in theater, films and television who achieved his greatest success late in life as grumpy District Attorney Adam Schiff on TV's long-running "Law & Order," died Tuesday. He was 94.

    He died Tuesday morning at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, his wife, Rachel, said. The cause of death was not immediately available, but his wife said he suffered from several ailments.

    Hill, who also starred for a season in the 1960s series "Mission Impossible," was remembered warmly by "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf.

    "Steven was not only one of the truly great actors of his generation, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. He is also the only actor I've known who consistently tried to cut his own lines," Wolf said in a statement.

    J. Lo Concert in NYC Cut Short by Power Outage

    [NATL] J. Lo Concert in NYC Cut Short by Power Outage

    The Jennifer Lopez concert was cut short at Madison Square Garden due to the massive power outage in Manhattan. 

    (Published Monday, July 15, 2019)

    Hill, whose more than two dozen films included "Billy Bathgate," ''White Palace" and "Yentl," recalled in 1999 how his presence as "Law & Order's" grouchy legal stickler developed gradually during his 10 years with the show.

    "It was like a very pleasant back-and-forth kind of thing," he said. "I'd come up with these ideas, give suggestions on (Schiff's) kind of thinking, and the writers used that as a kind of springboard."

    He also studied up on the law to make his character more believable.

    "I believe the audience needs to feel you understand what the heck you're talking about and they can tell if you don't," he said.

    After he left the show in 2000, Hill remained visible on TV for a time as the no-nonsense pitchman in commercials for TD Waterhouse Investor Services.

    Hill had honed his craft in the years immediately after World War II, taking classes at the Actors Studio in New York with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift.

    No Power, No Worries: New York's Musicians Entertain During Blackout

    [NATL] No Power, No Worries: New York's Musicians Entertain During Blackout

    Check out some of the most talented actors and musicians in New York performing for crowds on the streets amid a blackout that knocked out power to thousands of customers in New York City on July 13, 2019. 

    (Published Saturday, July 13, 2019)

    He made his Broadway debut in 1946 with "A Flag Is Born" and was in the original casts of "Mister Roberts" and "The Country Girl."

    When the TV networks began broadcasting live drama programs during television's Golden Age, Hill made the transition to the small screen seamlessly, appearing on "Studio One," ''The Ford Theatre Hour," ''Lux Video Theatre," ''Goodyear Television Playhouse" and "The Philco Television Playhouse."

    Later, he appeared on shows including "thirtysomething," ''The Fugitive," ''Rawhide," ''Ben Casey," ''Dr. Kildare," ''The Untouchables" and "Route 66."

    When "Mission Impossible" debuted in 1966, he landed a starring role, as undercover team leader Daniel Briggs. But he left after one season when the show's shooting schedule interfered with his observation of the Jewish Sabbath. He was replaced by Peter Graves.

    An Orthodox Jew, Hill abandoned acting for a time in the late 1960s to study religion. He said later he believed the sabbatical improved his acting ability.

    He had made his movie debut in 1950 in "A Lady Without Passport" with Hedy Lamarr. Other notable films over the years included "Teachers," ''Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Legal Eagles." He also portrayed the father of Christine Lahti in "Running on Empty," of Meryl Streep in "Heartburn" and Jill Clayburgh in "It's My Turn."

    12-Year-Old Boy Makes Custom Bow Ties To Help Shelter Dogs

    [NATL-AH] 12-Year-Old Boy Makes Custom Bow Ties To Help Shelter Dogs

    At just 12-years-old, Darius Brown, is helping animals get adopted with cute little bow ties! The young man, who was diagnosed with developmental delays when he was 2, dished to Access Live how creating "Beaux & Paws" not only helped him grow, but also has benefited animals in need. Darius also dishes to Access about getting recognition from celebs, including Kim Kardashian and Barack Obama.

    (Published Monday, July 15, 2019)

    Born Solomon Krakovsky to Russian immigrant parents in Seattle, Hill said his interest in acting was ignited at age 6, when he landed the lead in a production of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."

    He married Selma Stern in 1951 and the couple had four children before divorcing in 1964. He married his second wife, Rachel, in 1967, and they had five children together, according to the New York Times.