Dan Hedaya is an American actor, who is known through playing supporting roles in numerous films and television series. He established himself as a supporting actor, but it would take him years to finally decide to pursue a career in show business. The now 79-year-old actor worked as a junior high teacher shortly after graduating from varsity. Before making his debut on the silver screen, Dan often played villainous characters, but because of his long list of appearances, it is hard to say for which he is most recognized. Nonetheless, Dan would be a familiar face to many.
Here follows all that we could dig up about veteran actor Dan the man Hedaya.
Early life and family
Daniel G Hedaya was born on 24 July 1940 in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Aleppo, Syria, who most likely sought asylum in the US during the Holocaust of World War II.
Dan was raised in Bensonhurst, a residential neighbourhood in the borough of Brooklyn, but not much else is known about Dan’s earliest life – even the identities of his parents have remained unknown to the public.
Dan studied at Tufts University in Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1962. It is not known in what Dan majored, but since he worked as a teacher, it would have most likely been educational sciences, or something similar.
While studying at University, Dan developed an interest in acting, and took part in several stage productions at the campus theatre. He later furthered his acting education at Herbert Berghof Studios in New York.
Dan’s first appearance was in 1970 as an extra in the film “Myra Breckinridge”, but only as a patient in a hospital ward, so an uncredited role. Dan’s true success as an actor only took off in the mid-seventies, when he was cast in the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope”.The following year he appeared in an episode of “Kojak”, since when the roles kept coming in, and Dan became one of the most sought-after actors both for films and on TV.
Some of the more memorable appearances he made in television shows of the seventies include “The Andros Targets” and “Paris”, and he also starred in two major films, the 1976 “The Passover Plot”, and “The Seduction of Joe Tynan” in 1979.
The eighties were eventful years for the up-and-coming actor, and saw him land numerous parts in films and television shows. Some of the more noteworthy titles are the series “Hill Street Blues”, “CHiPs”, “Miami Vice”, and “The Twilight Zone”. He also starred in recurring roles in the shows “Cheers” and its later sequel “The Tortellis”.
He played supporting roles in several films too; some noteworthy titles include “True Confessions” which starred Robert De Niro, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”, the Clint Eastwood film “Tightrope”, and the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Commando”, among a dozen other productions.
In the nineties, his repertoire of appearances continued to grow, in around 30 films and a similar number television shows. He was seen in the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy “Joe Versus The Volcano”, as well as in one of the earliest films starring Keanu Reeves – “Tune In Tomorrow” – and “The Addams Family”. Some of the TV series Dan appeared in include “Fallen Angels”, “Law and Order”, “NYPD Blue” and “ER”.
As of 2000, Dan continued to gain roles, starring in several iconic films, and providing the voice of Mr Gunk in the animation film “Robots”.
In 2006, he played the role of Adrian Monk’s long-lost father Jack Monk in the television series “Monk”, and some other titles were “The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave”, “Quicksand” and “American Cousins”.
His most recent works include the 2016 film adaption of JK Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”, and he can also be seen in the 2020 production “The God Committee”, four recent episodes of “Blue Bloods”, and the comedy series “Odd Mom Out”.
Hobbies, favourite things and interesting facts
Due to Dan’s close resemblance with the former US President Nixon, he gained a role in which he portrayed President Richard M ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon, in the film was entitled “Dick”.
Although he played several roles in which he portrayed Italian-American characters, likely because of his dark complexion, Dan is actually more Arabic, being of Syrian descent.
Dan’s personal life has never gained the attention of the public, and he has kept most of his affairs private. Thus, it is not known if Dan has ever been married, or to whom, but he did on one occasion appear on the red carpet with his children. However, their identities remain undisclosed.
- Date of Birth: 24 July 1940
- Hair colour: Brown
- Eye colour: Brown
- Height: 5ft 9ins (1.75m)
- Weight: 165lbs (75kgs)
- Shoe Size: Unknown
- Star Sign: Leo
- Nationality: American
- Ethnicity: Syrian/American/Arab
Through all the years of Dan’s career as a supporting actor, he had accumulated an estimated net worth of over $5 million, as of mid-2020.