‘Men in Black’ Actor Was 99



Mike Nussbaum, one of the oldest working actors in the U.S. industry who appeared in such films as “Men in Black” and “Field of Dreams,” has died. He was 99.

Nussbaum died of natural causes Saturday — six days short of his 100th birthday — at his home in Chicago, his daughter Karen told the Chicago Tribune.

Nussbaum played book publisher Bob Drimmer in “Fatal Attraction” (1987), a school principal in “Field of Dreams” (1989) and alien jeweler Gentle Rosenburg in “Men in Black” (1997). He also appeared in films like “House of Games” (1987), “Things Change” (1988), “Harry and Tonto” (1974), “Losing Josiah” (1995) and “Steal Big Steal Little” (1995).

On the television side, Nussbaum had turns in “The Equalizer,” “The X-Files,” “Brooklyn Bridge,” “Separate but Equal,” “Frasier,” “L.A. Law,” “227,” “The Commish” and “Early Edition.”

Nussbaum was born on Dec. 29, 1923, and raised in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago. He went on to have an extensive career in theater, particularly in David Mamet plays both on and off Broadway, as well as in Chicago. He was the first actor to portray Teach in Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” and originated the role of George Aaronow in the 1984 Broadway production of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” He also played Albert Einstein in Mamet’s “Relativity.”

“It’s wonderful to work with Mike because, like any artist, like any actor, he’s just unusual,” Mamet said in a 2014 profile of Nussbaum in Chicago magazine. “You’re constantly saying, ‘My God, where did that come from?’ It’s not coming out of a bag of ‘acting moments.’ That’s all bullshit. It’s coming out of — who the hell knows where? You either got it, or you don’t, and Mike certainly does.”

Nussbaum is survived by his second wife Julie, children Jack and Karen as well as seven grandchildren. His daughter Susan and first wife Annette Brenner preceded him in death.


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