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Fahrid Murray Abraham (in Arabic فريد مراد ابراهيم الاحمد Farīd Murād Ibrāhīm Al-Aḥmad; born October 24, 1939) is an Americanmarker actor. He became known during the 1980s, after winning the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Amadeus, and has since appeared in many roles, both leading and supporting, in films, television, and mainly on stage.

Early life

Abraham was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker, the son of Josephine, a housewife, and Fahrid Abraham, an auto mechanic. His father was an Assyrian Christian who immigrated from Syriamarker during the 1920s famine; his paternal grandfather was a cantor in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Abraham's mother, one of fourteen children, was Italian American and the daughter of an immigrant who worked in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania. Abraham was raised in El Paso, Texasmarker, near the Mexicanmarker border, where he was a gang member during his teenage years. He attended Texas Western College (later named The University of Texas at El Paso), where he was given the best actor award by Alpha Psi Omega for his portrayal of the Indian nocona in 'Comanche Eagle' during the 1959-60 season. He attended the University of Texas at Austinmarker, then studied acting under Uta Hagen in New York Citymarker. He began his acting career on the stage, debuting in a Los Angelesmarker production of Ray Bradbury's The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.


Abraham made his screen debut as a taxi driver in Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue. Abraham can be seen as one of the undercover police officers along with Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet's Serpico (1973). He also appears very early in All the President's Men as one of the police officers who arrests the Watergate burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Headquarters.

Until his acclaimed role in Amadeus, Abraham was perhaps best known to audiences as a talking leaf in a series of television commercials for Fruit of the Loom underwear. He worked with Pacino again in the gangster film Scarface in 1983, playing drug dealer Omar Suarez. Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984). After Amadeus he has mainly focused on classical theatre, and has starred in many Shakespearean productions such as Othello and Richard III, as well as many other plays by the likes of Samuel Beckett and Gilbert and Sullivan. He is also known for his roles in The Name of the Rose (1986), in which he played Bernardo Gui, nemesis to Sean Connery's William of Baskerville, Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Ahdar Ru'afo in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Gus Van Sant's Finding Forrester (2000), where he once again played nemesis to Connery.

Abraham has focused on stage work throughout his career, giving notable performances as Pozzo in Mike Nichols's production of Waiting for Godot, Malvolio in Twelfth Night for the New York Shakespeare Festival, and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, for a New Yorkmarker-based theatre company called Theatre For A New Audience (TFANA) which was performed in March 2007, at The Swan Theatre, part of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Abraham's relatively low-profile film career subsequent to his Academy Award has been held by many as an example of the so-called Oscar jinx. So linked is Abraham with the phenomenon of winning an Oscar and yet failing to maintain the trajectory toward a high-level film career that, according to film critic Leonard Maltin, it is referred to in Hollywoodmarker circles as the F. Murray Abraham syndrome. Abraham himself rejects this notion. He once told an interviewer:
The Oscar is the single most important event of my career.
I have dined with kings, shared equal billing with my idols, lectured at Harvardmarker and Columbia.
If this is a jinx, I'll take two.

In the same interview, Abraham said:
Even though I won the Oscar, I can still take the subway, in New Yorkmarker, and nobody recognizes me.
Some actors might find that disconcerting, but I find it refreshing.

Abraham most recently made a guest appearance on the popular television series Saving Grace, on which he played an angel, Matthew.

Personal life

Abraham has been married to Kate Hannan since 1962; they have two children. He taught Theater at Brooklyn Collegemarker.



Year Film Role Notes
1971 They Might Be Giants Clyde the usher
1973 Serpico Detective partner
1975 The Prisoner of Second Avenue Taxi Driver
1976 All the President's Men Paul Leeper
The Ritz Chris
1978 The Big Fix Eppis
1983 Scarface Omar Suarez
1984 Amadeus Antonio Salieri Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor

1986 The Name of the Rose Bernardo Gui
1989 The Favorite Abdul Hamid
An Innocent Man Virgil Cane
Slipstream Cornelius (at Museum)
Beyond the Stars Dr. Harry Bertram
Eye of the Widow Kharoun
1990 The Bonfire of the Vanities Abe Weiss
Cadence Capt. Ramon Garcia
1991 Mobsters Arnold Rothstein
Money Will Scarlet
By the Sword Max Suba
1993 Last Action Hero John Practice
National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon Dr. Harold Leacher
Through an Open Window Narrator (Short)
1994 Nostradamus Scalinger
Surviving the Game Wolfe Sr.
Fresh Chess Hustler
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Leader
Baby Face Nelson Al Capone
1996 Children of the Revolution Josef Stalin
1997 Mimic Dr. Gates
Eruption President Mendoza
1998 Star Trek: Insurrection Adhar Ru'afo
1999 Muppets From Space Noah
2000 Finding Forrester Robert Crawford
2001 Thirteen Ghosts Cyrus Kriticos
2002 Joshua Father Tardone
The Hire: Ticker Airport Guru
2004 The Bridge of San Luis Rey Viceroy of Peru
2006 The Inquiry Nathan
A House Divided Grandfather Wahid
2007 Blood Monkey Professor Hamilton
2008 Shark Swarm (TV) Bill Girdler
2009 Perestroika Professor Gross
Barbarossa Siniscalco Barozzi Completed

Theatre credits

Awards and nominations




  1. F. Murray Abraham, Oscar Winner, Seeks Tolerance Through Arts
  2. F. Murray Abraham Biography - Yahoo! Movies

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