- 25 October 1918
- Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Possessing one of TV's more identifiable mugs, Jewish-American character actor Milton Selzer was here, there and everywhere in the 1960s and 1970s, playing a host of usually unsympathetic mobsters, gamblers, and crooks with a sad, almost pathetic quality in about every popular crime story offered, notably The Untouchables (1959), The Fugitive (1963), Hawaii Five-O (1968) and Mission: Impossible (1966). Always in demand with his trademark glum face, bulb nose and spoon-shaped ears, Selzer went on to enjoy a five-decade plus career. Milton was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1918 but moved with his family while young to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Graduating from Portsmouth High School in 1936, he studied at the University of New Hampshire before serving in World War II. Moving to New York, he trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Art and The New School in the 1940s and received his first big break with minor roles in the Broadway classical plays "Richard III", "Julius Caesar" and "Arms and the Man". In the late 1950s, Selzer turned to film and (especially) to TV's "Golden Age", making an early mark in solid ethnic roles (German, Arab, etc.) He finally made a definitive move to Los Angeles in 1960. Occasional movies included The Last Mile (1959), The Young Savages (1961), Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968), In Enemy Country (1968) and Lady Sings the Blues (1972), but it was the small screen that proved a sounder medium for him. With hundreds upon hundreds of guest parts to his credit, he also was called upon to play more upstanding gents including store-owners, judges and colonels on occasion, always offering a solid, authentic presence to every sound stage he set foot on. In later years Selzer managed a few regular series roles including Needles and Pins (1973) and The Famous Teddy Z (1989). Broaching 80 years old, he officially retired in the late 1990s and passed away of pulmonary and stroke complications just shy of age 88 in Oxnard, California.