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Remembering Steve Landesberg, AKA Detective Arthur Dietrich

"Steve Landesberg, an actor and comedian with a friendly and often deadpan manner who was best known for his role on the long-running sitcom Barney Miller, died in Los Angeles on Monday," the New York Times reports. "He was 74.

"The cause was colon cancer, his daughter, Elizabeth, said.

"On Barney Miller, which ran on ABC from 1975 to 1982, Mr. Landesberg played Sgt. Arthur P. Dietrich, an intellectual detective with a quiet manner who seemed to have an unrivaled knowledge of practically any topic that arose, much to the bewilderment of his fellow detectives.


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"He was also given to odd, unexpected pronouncements. In one 1980 episode he tells his boss, Captain Miller, played by Hal Linden, that he is working on a case that dates to 1973. Miller says: 'That was seven years ago! Nixon was president!' Dietrich's low-key response: 'No, he's got an airtight alibi for this one.'"

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"But younger audiences knew him too - for a slew of recent parts such as the doctor on the 2008 hit movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Hollywood2NY reports.

"Landesberg appeared in dozens of TV shows, his curly haired, bespectacled face easily recognizable. Recent credits included Everybody Hates Chris, Just Jordan, That 70s Show and American Dad.

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"[But] his most successful role was that of Dietrich on Barney Miller, which was set in a New York City police station populated by oddballs and eccentrics. It aired from 1975 to 1982.

"Landesberg's Dietrich was noted for his endless knowledge and expertise on seemingly every obscure subject imaginable, which was coupled with a sometimes patronizing attitude. He once refused to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to a fellow officer, explaining he was an agnostic and wouldn't know who to thank."

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"Comedian Steve Landesberg (1945-2010) trying to sell his People's Court parody, Comedy Court, at a television syndicators' convention. But Barry Mitchell is more interested in resurrecting Landesberg's uncanny impression of Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. A 1997 outtake from ABC's World News Now."

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More about Steve Landesberg's life in this tribute.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on December 23, 2010


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