Hy Anzell


Widely known as a semi-regular in the films of cinema legend Woody Allen, New York-native Hy Anzell appeared in many of the director's most popular films, including Bananas (1971), Annie Hall (1977), and Radio Days (1987). Although his family initially encouraged him to follow them in the restaurant business, Anzell instead opted to pursue a career on the stage. In 1946, the burgeoning actor made his Broadway debut in a production of the Duke Ellington musical Beggar's Holiday, and though he would soon segue into film and television, stage roles in Oklahoma and Checking Out found him remaining true to his theatrical roots. Though he appeared uncredited in such early efforts as Bengal Brigade (1954) and Party Girl (1958), Anzell's first official big-screen appearance would be for Allen in the director's early comedy Bananas. The two formed a close working relationship and Anzell continued to appear in Allen's films (most notably as Joey Nichols in Annie Hall). The busy actor also had roles in such efforts as Dead Bang (1989), Pacific Heights (1990), and The Cemetery Club (1993). Anzell remained active onscreen until his late-'90s final screen appearances in Allen's Deconstructing Harry (1997) and the made-for-TV drama Legalese (1998). Anzell died of natural causes August 23, 2003, in Fresno, CA. He was 79.