RIP STEVEN HILL, STARRED ON ‘LAW & ORDER’ AND ‘MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE,’ DIES AT 94. The Times quotes Dick Wolf, Law & Order’s creator, who describes Hill as “the Talmudic influence on the entire zeitgeist of the series.”
But Hill paid a heavy price for his Orthodox faith: He was fired before the second season of Mission: Impossible and replaced with Peter Graves. “His refusal to work late on Fridays, because of his observance of the Jewish sabbath, was also reported to be a problem…Mr. Hill’s co-star Martin Landau is quoted as saying, ‘I felt he was digging his own grave,” the Times notes, adding later in their obit that “Hill gave up acting from 1967 to 1977 and, in the interim, took a variety of jobs, including real estate sales. When he returned to show business, he was welcomed back and appeared in a string of 16 feature films in the ’80s,” before joining Law & Order for the show’s first decade. That show’s classic early line-up, with Hill, Michael Moriarty, Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth was a riveting spin on the police procedural, set in the bad old days of Dinkins-era Manhattan, before what we now call Social Justice Warriors drove the show’s writing hard left.