Danny Goldman, ‘Smurfs’ actor and beloved Hollywood casting director, dies at 80


(JTA) — Danny Goldman, a television, theater and film actor who gave voice to the character of Brainy Smurf in the hit animated series, “The Smurfs,” has died at 80.

Goldman, who grew up in an Orthodox family in New York, where he attended Jewish day school, died April 12, in Los Angeles after suffering a pair of strokes earlier this year, his friend and agent Doug Ely told CNN.

Goldman, who landed roles in scores of popular television series, including the character of Nick Dutton in “The Good Life,” had his Hollywood breakout in the memorable opening scene in Mel Brooks’  1974 film, “Young Frankenstein,” as the medical student who prods actor Gene Wilder with questions.

His most notable mark may be his decades-long work as a beloved casting director, respected for his keen eye for talent and for championing actors. Goldman served on the Western Council of the Actors Fund.

“He was incredibly funny. He loved to root for the little guy and help wherever he could. He had a huge heart. We lost a good one today. He will be missed,” Ely wrote on Facebook.

Goldman’s great niece Gavriella Lerner has taken comfort from the outpouring of tributes posted on Facebook from hundreds of performers who are expressing gratitude to her uncle for launching their careers, she wrote on Facebook and confirmed with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

While he did not die of COVID-19, “This pandemic still has the tragic impact on his passing in that we… are denied the comforts of the traditional Jewish mourning rituals, as so much of it is about people gathering together to remember, which we can’t do right now,” Lerner wrote.

Goldman, whose parents and two sisters predeceased him, leaves his wife Mary Gillis and many nieces and nephews.

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