Character actor Joseph Ergas, whose 50-year career included numerous bit parts in feature films as well as stage and TV roles, died of diabetes Feb. 3 in New York. He was 72.
Under the stage name Brutus Peck, Ergas’ theatrical credits include Off Broadway productions of “Guys and Dolls,” “The Front Page,” “Pal Joe” and “Gypsy.”
His TV credits included appearances on ABC series “Naked City” and “The Untouchables,” CBS’ “The Defenders” and “Playhouse 90” and “The Milton Berle Show” on NBC.
A Screen Actors Guild member, his film appearances included “A Face in the Crowd” (1957), “The Brotherhood” (1968), “The Odd Couple” (1968) and “The Husbands” (1970). He is perhaps best remembered as the hot dog vendor in Mel Brooks’ classic pic “The Producers” (1968).
Ergas also tried his hand at writing, working with Jerry Lewis, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. He was a member of the Writers Guild of America and later worked with up-and-coming comics.
He is survived by two sisters and his companion of 30 years, Sandi Morrof.