Entertainment & Arts

Law & Order actor Steven Hill dies at 94

Steven Hill in Law & Order Image copyright NBC/AP
Image caption Steven Hill was the longest-running member of the original Law & Order cast

US actor Steven Hill, who was best known for roles on the original Law & Order and Mission: Impossible TV shows, has died at the age of 94.

Hill played undercover team leader Daniel Briggs in the first series of Mission: Impossible in 1966.

And he appeared as District Attorney Adam Schiff on NBC's Law & Order for 10 years from 1990.

Law & Order producer Dick Wolf described Hill as "one of the truly great actors of his generation".

He was also "one of the most intelligent people I have ever met", Wolf said, adding: "He is also the only actor I've known who consistently tried to cut his own lines."

Hill began his acting career on Broadway in 1946 and took classes alongside Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift at the Actors Studio in New York.

In a 1983 interview, Actors Studio founder Lee Strasberg described him as "one of the finest actors America ever produced".

While at the studio, Hill worked with director Elia Kazan. Hill later recalled: "His phrase, 'acting is an act of will', still stays with me. By that he meant tenacity and perseverance, no matter what."

In a 1996 interview with The Washington Post, Hill reflected: "I don't think I ever worked as hard as I should have."

He was a regular on Broadway and on television in the 1950s and '60s, but quit acting after Mission: Impossible, which he said was "not the happiest experience".

He took a string of jobs as a salesman in the subsequent decade, peddling, among other things, real estate and bathroom deodorisers.

But he returned to showbusiness with supporting roles in films like Yentl, Billy Bathgate and The Firm, and earned two Emmy Award nominations for his Law & Order performances in the 1990s.

He died on Tuesday at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, his wife Rachel told the Associated Press news agency.

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