Sasson Gabai

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sasson Gabai
Sason Gabai.jpg
Gabai at the Ophir Film Award Ceremony in 1997
Born (1947-11-24) 24 November 1947 (age 71)
Other namesSasson Gabay
Years active1973–present

Sasson Gabai (Hebrew: ששון גבאי; born 24 November 1947) is an Israeli actor.[1] He is the winner of an Ophir Award,[2] Asia Pacific Screen Award (nominated),[3] European Film Awards[4] and Jerusalem Film Festival[5] in 2007 as Best Actor in a highly acclaimed Israeli film The Band's Visit.[6]


Gabai was born in Baghdad in 1947 to an Iraqi Jewish family. During his childhood he immigrated together with his family to Israel. After serving his mandatory military service in the Israeli Defense Forces, he studied theater and psychology at the Tel Aviv University.[7] After graduating, he began playing in the Khan Theater in Michael Alfreds group. Afterwards, he played in several stage productions at the Hacameri Theater, the Be'er Sheva Theater and the Beit Lessin Theater, he is one of the permanent staff members at the Beit Lessin Theater. Among the many plays he participated in were Servant of Two Masters, Catch-22, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Rain Man. Gabai also played in the 1989 children's musical Peter Pan as Captain Hook.

Through the years, Gabai played in various Israeli and international films: Sipurei Tel-Aviv;Time for Cherries, for which he won an Ophir award; Rambo III; the Escape from Saudi Arabia; Made in Israel; Aviva, My Love and many others.

Gabai has also been on Israeli television in series The Haim Neighborhood (שכונת חיים), Siton (סיטון), Late Night Stories (סיפורים לשעת לילה מאוחרת), and in the drama series The Kastner Trial (משפט קסטנר) in which he played Rudolf Kastner, he was a host in the comedy series Zehu Ze!, and played a cameo role in the popular comedy series Krovim Krovim, in addition to many other productions.

Career highlights[edit]

  • In 2007 Gabai starred in the critically acclaimed film The Band's Visit, a role for which he won an Ophir Award and a European Film Award.
  • In 2008 he played the role of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr in the American TV mini-series House of Saddam.
  • In 2009 Gabai began to play the lead role in the TV series Polishuk, a role for which he won an Israeli Television Academy Award in the category of best actor in a comedy series[citation needed].
  • In 2011 he played the lead role in a film Restoration, a role for which he was nominated for an Ophir Award. He won the IFFI Best Actor Award (Male) at the 42nd International Film Festival of India.[8]
  • Gabai also played one of the leading roles in the highly acclaimed Israeli TV series Shtisel, which to date, has run for two seasons (2013-2015).[9] Gabai played the role of Nuchem Shtisel, the paternal uncle of the main protagonist, Akiva Shtisel. Nuchem is also the brother of Shulem Shtisel and father of Libbi Shtisel, Akiva's first cousin, and love interest. Nuchem is an Antwerp-based travel agent who shows up at Shulem's apartment with his daughter Libbi, at the beginning of Season 2. One of Nuchem's first lines in the show is when he explains why he is late, blaming the immigration/custom officials at Ben Gurion airport, and calling them Reshaim Arrurim (Yiddish vernacular for "accursed evil people"). Reshaim Arrurim is a line Nuchem reprises to great comedic effect, at the slightest perceived slight, throughout the season.
  • It was initially announced on February 28, 2018[10] that Gabai would reprise his role as Tewfiq in the Broadway adaptation of The Band's Visit in the summer of 2018. The lead producer of The Band's Visit, Orin Wolf, confirmed the news in a press conference on June 10,[11] following the 72nd Annual Tony Awards (in which The Band's Visit won ten awards, including Best Musical); the news was later confirmed by[12]


List of film and television credits
Year Title Role Notes
1973 Or Min Hahefker Shaya
1974 Hayeladim Meshchoonat Khaiyim Sasson
1987 The Impossible Spy General Haled[13]
1988 Rambo III Mousa Ghani
1991 Time for Cherries or Cherry Season Choko Original title: Onat Haduvdevanim
1991 Not Without My Daughter Hamid
1992 Blink of an Eye Khalil
1998 Escape: Human Cargo Suliman Nasir Rasi TV Movie
1999 Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol Minister Oman
2001 The Order Yuri
2006 Aviva My Love Oded Zar
2007 The Band's Visit Lt. Col. Tawfiq Zacharya Original title: Bikur Ha-Tizmoret
2008 Hello Goodbye Police chief
2008 House Of Saddam President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr TV drama
2009-2015 Polishuk Minister Polishuk TV series
2011 When Pigs Have Wings Jafaar
2011 Restoration Yaakov Fidelman Original title: Boker Tov Adon Fidelman
2013 Hunting Elephants Eliyahu Original title: Latzud Pilim
2013-2016 Shtisel Nukhem Shtisel TV drama series
2014 Gett – The Trial of Viviane Amsallem
2018 The Angel President Anwar Sadat
2018 The Other Story
2019 A Brother's Love


Gabai resides in Tel Aviv, is married and has five children.


  1. ^ "SASSON GABAI BIOGRAPHY". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  2. ^ "'Zero Motivation' gets 12 Ophir nods". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  3. ^ "INAUGURAL APSA NOMINEES ANNOUNCED". Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  4. ^ ""Sasson Gabai named European Film Awards' best actor".". Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Jonah Hill to Receive the Israel Film Festival's Achievement in Film Award". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ "The Bands visit: The Casts". Sony Pictures Classics. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  7. ^ ""The Band's Visit" Official Press Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  8. ^ "42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) - Goa - 2011 - Shadow Play India".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Israeli star to headline 'Band's Visit' on Broadway". The Jerusalem Post | Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Casey Mink on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Sasson Gabai, Original Star of The Band's Visit Film, Will Reprise His Turn on Broadway". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  13. ^

External links[edit]