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October 28, 1988 - Image 94

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Al Waxman is honored for his police work as Lt. Samuels on CBS-TV's
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Al Waxman Brings Some

Yiddishkeit Into His Roles

MICHAEL ELKIN

Special to The Jewish News

A

1 Waxman wears his
Jewishness like a
badge of honor.
As a top cop on "Cagney
and Lacey," Waxman cops at-
tention and accolades for his
gentle giant Lt. Samuels. It is
an edgy portrayal of a man
slightly rough around the
edges; a gritty and grand
reminder that human hearts
beat behind the badges of
men often beaten into sub-
mission by the grueling
nature of their job.
But there are the lighter
moments in the television
series, moments when
Samuels breaks into a Yid-
dish tune, breaking the grim
atmosphere that pervades a
station house that seems a
halfway house for roving
hookers and drug addicts.
In a way, Waxman is ad-
dicted himself — to a Jewish
culture he considers impor-
tant, to a personal heritage of
tzedakah and charity. When-
Waxman locked into the
character of Lt. Samuels
seven years ago, he was
meeting a Jewish man much
like himself.
"I am what I am," says Wax-
man. At 53 and with a career
bio brimming with awards
and credits, "I am what I am"
is quite a lot.
"When I first came out to
Hollywood, there was an im-
portant agent interested in
representing me," Toronto
native Waxman recalls of his
arrival on the West Coast
some 30 years ago.

"So he starts introducing
me, 'This is Albert Gardner.' "
The name of the game Was for
actors with Jewish names to
change them. "So I stop him
and tell him, 'I'm not an
Albert Gardner. I'm an Albert
Waxman. I like my name? "
He also likes his family life;
he has been married to Toron-
to Sun food columnist Sara for
the past 20 years and is pro-
ud papa to daughter Toby and
son Adam.
"I love my homelife," says -
the actor. "That's why I fly
back and forth between
Toronto and Hollywood. I'm
excited by watching my
children prepare for their
future."
Waxman has his own future
to consider. "Cagney and
Lacey,"much honored and ad-
mired, will be ending its six-
year run on CBS after this
summer's reruns.
Bilt the end of a run doesn't
mean an end run for Wax-
man. Direct, to the point —
much like Samuels — he
knows the end of a series is no
life sentence. He is proud to
point out that his name ap-
pears on screens larger than
23 inches and outside of the
living room.
Waxman has starred in
Louis Malle's Atlantic City as
well as Class of 1984 and
among other
Tulips,
theatrical films.
Life has taken yet another
direction for the arresting
Waxman, who refuses to be
handcuffed to one role in life.
He has been honored for his
work as a director, having
done the honors for his own

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