RIP Law & Order Actor Steven Hill, 94, ‘One of the Most Intelligent People’

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Seattle-born Hill played District Attorney Adam Schiff in L & O’s First Decade

9:25 AM PDT 8/23/2016 by Chris Koseluk, The Hollywood Reporter                                                                 

 

Also known for his work on the stage and on ‘Mission: Impossible,’ Hill “was not only one of the truly great actors of his generation, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met,” said Dick Wolf.

Steven Hill, the stoic actor who was an original castmember on both the 1960s iconic television series Mission: Impossible and the ground-breaking 1990s drama Law & Order, died Tuesday. He was 94.

Hill, who began his career on the New York stage and went on to build an impressive list of film and television credits that spanned more than five decades, died in Monsey, N.Y., his son, Rabbi Yehoshua Hill, told The Hollywood Reporter.

“Steven was not only one of the truly great actors of his generation, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met,” said Law & Order creator Dick Wolf in a statement. “He is also the only actor I’ve known who consistently tried to cut his own lines. He will be missed but fortunately he can be seen ubiquitously on Law & Order reruns.”

When Mission: Impossible debuted in 1966 on CBS, it was Hill, as Daniel Briggs, who originally led the covert Impossible Missions Force. IMF was known for taking on government assignments that were so classified, the Secretary would disavow any knowledge of their actions if a member were caught or killed.

Briggs also was the first to hear the show’s iconic catchphrase, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.” But in the pilot episode, he actually received his mission on an LP and was told, “As usual, this recording will decompose one minute after the breaking of the seal.”

Nearly a quarter-century later, Hill made his mark in Law & Order as no-nonsense District Attorney Adam Schiff. Starting with the show’s debut on NBC in 1990, Hill anchored the legal side of the long-running procedural for its first 10 seasons.

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