The actor best known for playing intellectual Detective Arthur P. Dietrich on Barney Miller has died. Steve Landesberg had been battling cancer for some time.
Landesberg was born in November of 1945 in New York City. He was reportedly discovered by Bill Cosby during open auditions for The Tonight Show. A veteran of stand-up at places like the Improv and a member of the New York Stickball Team improv group, Landesberg had a long career in television, movies, commercials, and on the stage.
On the small screen, he made guest shots on series like The Golden Girls, That ’70s Show, Ghost Whisperer, Law & Order, The Rockford Files, and Everybody Hates Chris. He also worked quite a bit in voice overs, acting on shows like American Dad!, Capitol Critters, Dinosaurs, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
After guesting several times and appearing as a semi-regular, Landesberg joined Barney Miller as a regular in its fourth season. His character’s deadpan delivery of myopic facts became a staple of the series. He was nominated three times for supporting actor Emmys for the sitcom. The series ran for eight seasons, from 1975 until 1982.
Most recently, Landesberg starred and wrote on Head Case, a comedy series for Starz. On screen, he played Dr. Myron Finkelstein, an odd Freudian psychiatrist. The show ran for three seasons.
In a statement about his passing, Landesberg’s agent Jeffrey Leavitt said, “It is with great sadness to report the loss of my friend and client Steve Landesberg… Working with Steve was an honor both personally and professionally. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed.”
Landesberg is survived by his wife Nancy and daughter Elizabeth.
What do you think? Did you enjoy his work? How will you remember Steve Landesberg? For Barney Miller, Head Case, or some other project?
An incredible actor. I enjoyed his talent greatly, he put numerous smiles on my face & even pushed me to slap my leg many times. Steve will be sadly missed, cheers to a special individual.
He was my favorite character on Barney Miller. I absolutely loved him and he will be missed a great deal!
I’ll remember him for being on head case personally. That’s a shame he died. He was a fuuny guy.