Steve Landsberg was an American actor, comic, and voice actor, who is best known for playing Arthur P. Dietrich on the sitcom 'Barney Miller'. His career on stage as a stand-up comic shone the spotlight on his dry wit and offbeat delivery, which was very much in evidence in his character on 'Barney Miller'. This role got him three Emmy nominations. Apart from this, he played a variety of supporting characters over the years, in television as well as movies, including a role as a psychiatrist in the Jason Segel-written movie, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’. Fans have also often recognised his characteristic dry, deep voice in various commercials and cartoons over the years. He fooled the whole world by never revealing his real age, preferring instead to give a lower number whenever he was asked about his age, because he wanted to straddle both younger and older generations at the same time. His actual age was only revealed by his daughter after his death.
Steven Landsberg started his career as a stand-up comic in the late 1960s, and went on to perform in multiple New York comedy clubs beside artists like Freddie Prinze and Jimmie Walker.
He then went on to appear on shows like ‘The Tonight Show’ in 1971 and later, ‘The Dean Martin Show’. His first big break came in the form of a role with the sitcom ‘Friends and Lovers’ in 1974. His most prestigious and well-known role which earned him three Emmy nominations, was on the ABC sitcom 'Barney Miller', which aired from 1975 to 1982. He played the character of police detective Arthur P. Dietrich, whose immense knowledge of practically any subject baffled his colleagues in the police department. During this period, in 1975, he also starred in the TV movie ‘Black Bart’, a spinoff of ‘Blazing Saddles’.
After ‘Barney Miller’, he appeared on shows like ‘The Golden Girls’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘That ’70s Show’, and ‘Everybody Hates Chris’. He also played a recurring role on ‘Conrad Bloom’, a sitcom that aired in 1998.
Younger generations would know him from the 2008 movie, ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’, wherein he played a pediatrician treating an adult patient in his 20s (Jason Segel, the writer and star of the movie). He also starred in movies like ‘Wild Hogs’ and ‘Leader of the Band’. From 2007 to 2009, he essayed the role of Dr. Myron Finkelstein in the Starz comedy show ‘Head Case’.
He also lent his voice to multiple commercials and cartoons.
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Family & Personal Life
Steven Landesberg was born on November 23, 1936, in the Bronx, New York, to milliner Ann Landesberg and grocery store owner Abraham Landesberg.
Steven was married to Nancy Ross from 1986 to 2010 (his death). They have one daughter, Elizabeth, born in 1987.
He died of colon cancer on December 20, 2010, in Los Angeles, California, USA. He was 74. Initial reports of his death put his age as 65; this was because Steven Landesberg avoided mentioning his real age throughout his career. He felt that as he had a late start in showbiz, he needed to appeal to multiple generations by pretending to be younger.