Best Law&Order DA ever. I remember him in Mission Impossible too. Such a memorable actor. Rest in peace, Mr Schiff.
I’m so sorry to hear this. He was a superb actor; one amazing performance that comes to mind immediately was in the 1988 “Running on Empty.” Certainly few television performers can match his integrity–his Law and Order character was unique in being a real person, instead of the standard-issue Older Person who twinkles and nods wisely. (None of his successors escaped the dreaded Twinkle temptation).
Condolences to his large family (nine children, says Wikipedia!) and many friends.
Oh, man. I’m going to miss him. Hell, I missed him when he left L&O.
I remember reading that while on Law & Order, he was the only actor who regularly asked for his lines to be cut. He only needed a few words, a look, to speak volumes. The scene on Law & Order when he signed the papers terminating his wife’s life support was heartbreaking — and he barely even made a sound.
First thing I thought of when I saw the news. It’s probably hard for an actor to NOT overplay the grumpy old man character. Almost everyone does. he did not. He absolutely owned that role. Take the rest of the week off, Mr Hill.
Whenever I think of him, it’s as the DA telling Jack to “make it go away”, in which “it” was some murder case that he didn’t want to take to trial for some reason.
Just a whimper as her heart stopped…but it spoke volumes.
I also loved the look on his face when Stone tells him, “She doesn’t have an uncle.” Two episode arc where Paul Cerreta gets shot. It’s a whole mobster thing, and after the assassin gets killed outside the courthouse by a “grieving father” the other witnesses start to die…including the victim’s little girl.
When he left/was fired from Mission: Impossible, the show lost its greatness. That first season was superb, and Hill’s Dan Briggs was the perfect leader of the team – a smart mastermind who didn’t have to resort to fighting.
Sad to hear he’s gone.
“Cut a DEAL!!!”
He was awesome on Mission: Impossible, relaying threats in the most clear-eyed and matter-of-fact manner possible: yes, he knows that he’d die getting the job done; no, he’s not enthusiastic about it, but he’s not hesitant either; he’s simply going to take you down with him unless you cooperate – and he’s on a tight timetable, here, so, you know, hurry up and decide whether you want to live.
Indeed. Not many people remember him from Mission Impossible. I never liked it after he left. I knew who he was, never saw him again until years later on Law & Order, and that was never as good after he left too.
I think we only ever saw Mission: Impossible in reruns during the 1970s and I don’t remember ever seeing his episodes. Were his episodes in the syndication package?
Certainly not because of Mr. Hill. That was around the time that a lot of shows were transitioning from black and white to color, and it is not uncommon for a single season of b+w eps not to be syndicated. Bewitched, I think, has the same issue.
Let’s not get carried away in our grief.
Steven Hill was good on MI, but the reason he left is because he wouldn’t work on the Sabbath, and not working Friday nights is anathema in Hollywood. He also started behaving erratically, not performing simple actions, fighting with the producers. I don’t think it was his faith, so much as his attitude. He didn’t like…something about the show And Peter graves did a great job as Phelps. There is room for both under the MI tent!
That said, whatever was bugging him in the 60s was gone by the time of L&O. He was great in it.
“Make a DEAL!”
Off-topic: No, all of the black and white Bewitched episodes are run in syndication alongside the color ones.
I saw it syndicated when I lived in Tokyo and his episodes popped up regularly. No idea what they do here. His episodes are (I believe) all black and white, though, so possibly they only play color episodes on whatever channel you watched?
Hill has the advantage of only being in the series while they still had fresh material to work with. A few seasons in and they seemed to be recycling the same plots/tricks pretty heavily.
I think that Hill had a better look, being more generic looking than Graves, but he used that fake Hollywood accent of the 50s/60s, so it was nice when Graves came in and sounded more like a real human.
Ultimately, the personalities of the crew were irrelevant to the series - particularly the mastermind - so it’s hard to say that one actor brought more to it than the other, really. I’d lean towards Graves just a slight amount, but both were good at it. Barbara Bain and Martin Landau were the real core of the series, since they had the most lines.
Mission: Impossible debuted in September 1966. That was the season all three networks switched to full color. So no, Hill’s episodes were not in B&W.
All of Hill’s episodes were in color. My favorite was “Zubrovnik’s Ghost,” which actually was more like a Twilight Zone episode. Hill had a bigger role than usual in it.
Awww… sorry to hear this.
This thread will self-destruct in a few minutes.
… And The Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
I’m watching an Orbach/Hill era L&O episode right this second and it’s making me sad.