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Joseph Ruskin, a character actor and long-serving SAG board member, died Dec. 28 from natural causes at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. He was 89.
As an actor, he appeared in 25 films and 124 television shows. His notable film appearances included The Magnificent Seven and Prizzi’s Honor. His television credits include appearances on The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Alias.
Ruskin served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1976 to 1999, with eight of those years as the First National Vice President. In 1979, he became the first Western Regional Vice President of Actors Equity Association (AEA). Ruskin also was honored for his service to SAG with the organization’s Ralph Morgan Award in 2011, and by AEA with the Lucy Jordan Award in 2003 and the Patrick Quinn Award in 2013.
The actor studied drama at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) and began his acting career at the Pittsburg Playhouse and the Rochester Arena Stage. He returned to theater with performances at the Mark Taper Forum, UCLA’s Freud Playhouse and Theater 40. His final appearance was at the Antaeus Theater Company this year.
He was born in Haverhill, Mass., graduated from high school in Cleveland, Ohio, and served in the Navy during World War II.
Ruskin is survived by his wife, Barbara Greene Ruskin; daughter, Alicia Ruskin, and son-in-law, Larry Bucklan; step-daughters Rachel Greene, Martha Greene and Liza Page.
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