"Purkey" character actor appeared in several Billy Wilder films
Cliff Osmond, television screenwriter, acting teacher, and productive character actor, died on Saturday at his home in Pacific Palisades. He was 75.
Osmond's TV credits read like a checklist of virtually every major (and some minor) series throughout the '60's and '70's. He appeared on everything from Batman and The Flying Nun to All in the Family and Kojack.
Filmgoers will remember Osmond for his appearances in four Billy Wilder pictures: Irma La Douce, Kiss Me, Stupid, The Fortune Cookie, and The Front Page.
He had small roles as cops in both Irma and TFP, but it was his work as the frustrated songwriter ("I'm a poached egg, without a piece of toast...") in Kiss Me, Stupid and the gumshoe certain that Jack Lemmon is faking his injury in The Fortune Cookie that will live on forever.
Clifford Osman Ebrahim was born on Feb. 26, 1937, in Jersey City's Margaret Hague Medical Center. (He assumed the stage name Osmond, a variation of Osman, early in his career.) He grew up in Union City, N.J., and received a BA in English from Dartmouth College in 1959.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles and later became a candidate for a Ph.D. in Theater History.
He is survived by his wife, Gretchen Ebrahim; a daughter, Margaret; a son, Eric; and a granddaughter.