The Eulogizer: Actor Don Diamond and journalist Gilbert Sedbon

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Eulogizer column highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org. Read previous columns here.

Don Diamond, 90, longtime TV actor

Actor Don Diamond, whose knack for dialect took him far from his New York Jewish roots to roles as Spanish, Mexican and Native American characters on scores of TV shows for four decades, died June 19 at 90.

Diamond’s longest recurring role — 50 episodes — was as Crazy Cat, the “scheming and ambitious, but inept and somewhat cowardly, underling … to Chief Wild Eagle" in the cult western comedy series "F Troop."  A TV blogger posted one of Crazy Cat’s many exchanges with the chief he wanted to replace.

Other “ethnic” roles included El Toro, a Mexican sidekick, on “The Adventures of Kit Carson,” and Corporal Reyes on “Zorro.”

Diamond came by his accents after effort. He received a degree in drama and studied Spanish at the University of Michigan before World War II, and continued studying Spanish while he was stationed in the Southwest during the war.

In the 1980s he appeared on such shows as “Newhart,” “L.A. Law,” “MacGyver,” “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” In the 1970s he was on, among many others, “Lou Grant,” “Chico and the Man” and “The Streets of San Francisco.” His film work included Elvis Presley’s “Fun in Acapulco,” and “The Carpetbaggers.” IMDB has Diamond’s full resume of more than 100 roles on TV and in the movies.

Diamond was born in New York to immigrant parents. His father was a successful clothing merchant.

Gilbert Sedbon, 94, journalist had scoop on Egypt coup

Gilbert Sedbon, a longtime correspondent for Reuters who scooped the world on the 1952 “Free Officers” Egyptian army coup against King Farouk with the help of Anwar Sadat, died June 25 in France at 94.

A Reuters reporter for nearly 50 years, his first big scoop was about a secret agreement “between British and French admirals to disarm Force X, a French naval contingent based at Alexandria, without bloodshed to prevent it serving Vichy France and its German allies.”

Sadat, then a colonel, helped Sedbon get his dispatch on the Gamal Abdul Nasser-led coup posted to Reuters even as all other communications with the outside world were cut off. But Sedbon’s residency as a correspondent in Egypt ended four years later when he was given 48 hours to leave the country after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956.

He worked for Reuters in Rome and London briefly before moving to Paris, where he reported for another three decades. Sedbon was awarded France’s Ordre du Merite medal for his work.

"He was an exceptionally endearing human being — frail, loveable, sensitive … and addicted to Reuters, to which he devoted 47 years," said former colleague Bernard Edinger.

Sedbon was born in Alexandria, Egypt, into a family of Tunisian Jews who held French citizenship. His memoirs, “From the Nile to the Seine: The Lifelong Story of a Reporter in Wars, Revolutions and Peacetime,” were published in English in 2010.

Coming soon from the Eulogizer

Stories about the lives of TV and film composer Fred Steiner, Houdini artifacts collector Sidney Radner and Jewish journalist Joseph Hochstein.

 

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