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‘Law & Order’ and ‘Mission: Impossible,’ Star Steven Hill Dies at 94

 hiillsSteven Hill, who originated imposing lead roles on two notable television series, “Mission: Impossible” in the 1960s and “Law & Order” in the 1990s, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 94.

His daughter Sarah Gobioff confirmed his death. He lived in Monsey, N.Y., a hamlet in Rockland County.

Mr. Hill was 44 and a veteran stage and television actor in 1966 when he was cast as Daniel Briggs, the leader of an elite covert-operations unit, in the new series “Mission: Impossible.” But he left after the first season, paving the way for Peter Graves’s six-season run as the show’s lead.

Even decades later, Mr. Hill declined to discuss his reasons for leaving the series, other than to say that the first season had been a bad experience. Other sources, including Patrick J. White, author of a book on the series, “The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier,” said Mr. Hill was dismissed and learned the news only when he read a Daily Variety announcement that Mr. Graves was being hired.

According to Mr. White, Mr. Hill had developed a reputation for being difficult. His refusal to work late on Fridays, because of his observance of the Jewish sabbath, was also reported to be a problem. In Mr. White’s book, Mr. Hill’s co-star Martin Landau is quoted as saying, “I felt he was digging his own grave.”

Almost a quarter-century after that experience, Mr. Hill took on the role of the district attorney Adam Schiff on a new cops-and-lawyers series based in New York, “Law & Order.” He played the role, said to be modeled on the long-serving Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, from 1990 to 2000.

In a 1996 interview with The Washington Post, Dick Wolf, the creator of “Law & Order,” called Mr. Hill “the Talmudic influence on the entire zeitgeist of the series.”

“Steven has more moral authority than anyone else on episodic TV,” Mr. Wolf said.

 

Source: msn

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