Born on October 24, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, F. Murray Abraham pursued a career on stage and screen before landing the role of Antonio Salieri in the acclaimed biopic Amadeus. Abraham won an Oscar for the role and later starred in an array of TV and film projects that includes Mighty Aphrodite, Star Trek: Insurrection, The Good Wife, Homeland and The Grand Budapest Hotel, among many others.
Background and Early Career
Murray Abraham was born on October 24, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Of Syrian and Italian ancestry, Abraham went on to attend the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to New York City to pursue acting, studying under Uta Hagen, and developed a stage career with Off-Broadway productions. He later added the "F" to the beginning of his stage name in honor of his father, Frederick, and because he felt his birth name wasn't distinctive enough.
Abraham also landed small parts for TV and on the big screen, appearing in a variety of films during the 1970s, including Serpico (1973), The Sunshine Boys (1975), All the President’s Men (1976), The Ritz (1976) and The Big Fix (1978). He was also noted for being one of the Fruit of the Loom men in the brand’s series of television commercials.
Wins Oscar for 'Amadeus'
Abraham continued his screen work into the next decade, landing a part in 1983’s Scarface. He simultaneously did filming in Prague, portraying noted Italian composer Antonio Salieri in the 1984 feature Amadeus. Abraham’s gripping performance earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor, as well as a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award.
He continued his prolific output over the ensuing years, with roles in films across various genres. He co-starred with Sean Connery and Christian Slater in another period film, The Name of the Rose (1986), and a few years later made an appearance as a prosecuting attorney in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). In 1991 he played crime boss Arnold Rothstein in Mobsters.
By the mid-1990s, Abraham could be seen in a TV adaptation of the Jules Verne classic Journey to the Center of the Earth (1993) and co-starred with Mira Sorvino and Helena Bonham Carter in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite (1995), in which he led the film’s chorus. 1995 also saw Abraham play gangster Al Capone in both Dillinger and Capone and Baby Face Nelson, and the actor ventured further into sci-fi with roles in Guillermo Del Toro’s Mimic (1997), which also featured Sorvino, as well as 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection.
TV: 'Good Wife' and 'Homeland'
Abraham’s versatility has shone through in other arenas. He’s earned accolades for his voiceover/narration work, which has been showcased in documentaries for the Nature series as well live classical music performances. And he has continued to act both on and off Broadway, starring in productions of Angels of America (1993), Triumph of Love (1997) and Mauritius (2007), among others.
Abraham has also had recurring roles in TV series like The Good Wife, Homeland and Elementary. And he’s continued his big-screen work in distinguished projects like Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), helmed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
In 2015 Abraham was nominated for an Emmy for his role in Homeland.
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