Fyvush Finkel got his start in the Yiddish theatre and won an Obie Award for his 1988 Broadway work in Cafe Crown, but didn't attain true celebrity until he played a lawyer on TV. As Douglas Wambaugh on CBS' "Picket Fences," Finkel won two Emmy Awards and became a household name for his bulbous nose, outsized personality and warmly conveyed Jewish gestures.
As a special honor, on Nov. 24, 11 AM, Finkel will receive a star on the "Yiddish Walk Of Fame" -- that is, NYC's Second Avenue and 10th St., in front of the Second Avenue Delicatessen. Scheduled to join Finkel at the ceremony are Marilu Henner (Grease!), Jackie Mason, Ron Leibman (A Dybbuk), Marilyn Michaels (Catskills On Broadway), Julie Budd, Larry Keith and the legendary Joe Franklin.
Back in 1991, Off-Broadway theatregoers were lucky enough to catch Finkel at the John Houseman basement space in his revue, Finkel's Follies, comprising songs and sketches of the Yiddish theatre era. Finkel returned, briefly, to the Houseman mainstage with, Fyvush Finkel - From Second Avenue To Broadway in late 1996. He'll be coming back again this year, Dec. 25-31, at NYC's Town Hall, 123 West 43rd St., with the same show, opening, ironically enough, on Christmas Day (Dec. 25).
Second Avenue begins with comedy and musical moments from the heyday of the Yiddish theatre (where Finkel, son of a Brooklyn tailor, got his start at age 9). Act II offers the performer telling stories of his years on Broadway and singing show tunes from Fiddler On The Roof (he toured in that one), Gigi and others.
Finkel also appeared in the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop Of Horrors. Joining FF in the show will be his sons, Ian Finkel and Elliot Finkel, and the Finkel Orchestra featuring Byron Stripling. For tickets ($25-$37.50) and information on Fyvush Finkel, call (212) 307-7171.
-- By David Lefkowitz