Stage and screen actor Joseph Ruskin died of natural causes at UCLA Santa Monica on December 28. He was 89.
Joe was a long serving actors' union member and officer. In 1979 he became the first Western Regional Vice President of Actors Equity Association, and was on the board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1976-1999 with eight of those years serving as 1st National Vice President. He was honored for distinguished service by AEA with the Lucy Jordan Award in 2003 and the Patrick Quinn Award in 2013, and by SAG with the Ralph Morgan Award in 2011.
Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Joe attended High School in Cleveland and enlisted in the Navy in 1942. He returned to study drama at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) and began his professional career at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and the Rochester Arena Stage. His list of 124 television credits include multiple appearance on such shows as "Twilight Zone," "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible" and "Alias." His 25 film appearances include "The Magnificent Seven," "Prizzi's Honor," "Indecent Proposal" and "Smokin' Aces." Over the years Joe always returned to theatre, performing at the Mark Taper Forum, UCLA's Freud Playhouse, Theater 40 and his final appearance this year as a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company.
Joe is survived by his wife Barbara Greene Ruskin; daughter Alicia Ruskin and son-in-law Larry Bucklan; step-daughters Rachel Greene and her husband Jim, Martha Greene and her son Jake, and Liza Page, her husband Joe Page and their children Zoe and Eli; and brother and sister-in-law David and Helene Schlafman and their children Daniel and Lani.
Plans for a memorial service are forthcoming, and in lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to The Actor's Fund, the SAG Foundation or the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
RUSKIN, Joseph (Joseph Schlafman)
Born: 4/14/1924, Haverhill, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 12/28/2013, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.
Joseph Ruskin’s westerns – actor:
Bronco (TV) – 1959 (Jackson)
Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV) – 1959 (Gus Vogel)
Zane Grey Theater (TV) – 1959 (Chief)
Black Saddle (TV) – 1960 (Obie Wilkins)
Colt .45 (TV) – 1960 (Jace Kirby)
Hell Bent for Leather – 1960 (Shad)
Law of the Plainsman (TV) – 1960 (Crow)
Lawman (TV) – 1960, 1961 (Ed James, Reed Benton)
The Magnificent Seven – 1960 (Flynn)
Stagecoach West (TV) – 1960 (Clyde Hardisty)
Outlaws (TV) – 1961 (Kopek)
Two Faces West (TV) – 1961 (Coley)
Whispering Smith (TV) – 1961 (Jess)
Tales of Wells Fargo (TV) – 1961 (Shelby)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1962, 1966 (Curt Hansen, Judge)
The Dakotas (TV) – 1963 (Rider)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1963 (Jeb Daley)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1965, 1967 (Viper Black, Felice Munez)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1969 (Ainsworth Pardee)