Argentine comedian known for Jewish humor

Argentine actor and comedian Norman Erlich, best known for his Jewish humor, died Nov. 6 in Buenos Aires after battling leukemia. He was 75.

The son of Polish immigrants, he began his career in Hebrew legit performances and in his twenties joined a Yiddish repertoire group with Jacob Ben Ami, Maurice Schwartz and others that performed in the Soleil Theater in Buenos Aires for five years.

In 1972, Erlich entered the mainstream Spanish-language scene, establishing himself as a Jewish comedian with his self-mocking monologues on Corrientes, the Broadway of Buenos Aires. He played in musical variety shows with stars like Susana Gimenez, Mario Sanchez and Georgina Barbarrosa, and starred in a version of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” at the Teatro del Globo.

In 1997, he was nominated for the comedy actor award for his role in “Socios en el amor” (Partners in Love), which took top comedy at the 1997 annual kudos ceremony of the Entertainment Reporters Association (ACE) in Argentina.

On TV, he appeared in popular comic shows like “Casi una pareja” (Almost a Pair), “Porcelandia” and “Saben quien vino a cenar?” (Do You Know Who’s Come to Dinner?).

He had parts in hit films like action comedy “Brigada explosiva” (Bomb Squad), romantic comedy “Cohen vs. Rosi” and Daniel Burman’s Berlin-laurelled father-and-son drama “El abrazo partido” (Lost Embrace). He acted alongside William Hurt, Robert Duvall and Raul Julia in the 1993 “La peste” (The Plague), directed by Luis Puenzo (“The Official Story”).

He performed most recently in the 2004 kidnapping drama “Palermo Hollywood” and “18-J,” a collection of shorts about the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

The author of four humor books, Erlich continued his comic monologues until his death, with performances of “Prueba de humor” (Test of Love) on Corrientes.

He is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

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