Final bow: Actor Joseph Ruskin is dead at 89
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Joseph Ruskin, who appeared in 25 films and 124 television shows, began and ended his acting career on the stage.
- Ruskin's film credits include "The Magnificent Seven," "Prizzi's Honor," "Indecent Proposal"
- His 124 TV roles include "Twilight Zone," "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible" and "Alias"
- His last performance was on a Los Angeles stage in 2013 in "The Crucible"
- Ruskin was active in two actors' unions and pushed for their merger
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Joseph Ruskin, who acted in 25 films and 124 television shows, died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital Saturday, SAG-AFTRA announced Tuesday. Ruskin was 89.
Ruskin's big screen credits included roles in "The Magnificent Seven," "Prizzi's Honor," "Indecent Proposal" and "Smokin' Aces." His TV credits included "Twilight Zone," "Star Trek," "Mission Impossible" and "Alias."
He began and ended his acting career on the stage. His first professional performances were at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and the Rochester Arena Stage after he left the U.S. Navy following World War II. His last theater performance came this year as a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company of Los Angeles.
He appeared in the 2012 Antaeus production of "You Can't Take It With You." He took his final bow on stage in 2013 in the company's "The Crucible" production.
"Joe was the epitome of the actor who takes care of all the other actors while keeping one foot firmly planted on the stage or the set," SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said. "He gave so much for so long it's hard to believe he's gone."
Ruskin "devoted so much of his time in the 1980s" to the merger of the two actors' unions -- SAG and AFTRA, -- which became a reality in 2012, Howard said.
He served on the Screen Actors Guild board from 1976 through 1999, including eight years as 1st national vice president, the SAG-AFTRA release said. He was the first Western Regional Vice President of Actors Equity Association and served a decade on AFTRA's national board.
Ruskin, whose real name was Joseph Schlafman, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, but attended high school in Cleveland, Ohio. He joined the Navy in 1942.
He studied drama at Carnegie Tech -- now Carnegie-Mellon University -- after the war, which led to his professional acting career.
Photos: People we lost in 2013
Part of complete coverage on
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 0030 GMT (0830 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT)
Actor James Avery, who played the beloved Uncle Phil on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died. He was 67.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 1959 GMT (0359 HKT)
Dr. John W.V. Cordice, the surgeon who operated on Dr. Martin Luther King after he was stabbed in Harlem in 1958, died in Iowa. Cordice was 95.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Joseph Ruskin died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital. He was 89.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
Jeffrey Ian Pollack, who directed the popular 1990s films "Booty Call" and "Above the Rim" and produced "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has died. He was 54.
December 23, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian gun designer whose AK-47 rifle became the weapon of choice for many national armies and guerrillas around the world, died.
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Ned Vizzini, who shot to fame at a young age for his teenage novels focusing on youth depression and anxieties, committed suicide at age 32.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Al Goldstein, the foul-mouthed publisher of Screw magazine and pornography pioneer died in New York. He was 77.
December 31, 2013 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
Actor Daniel Escobar, who played a teacher in "Lizzie McGuire," died from complications of diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 49.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)
"Great Train Robber" Ronnie Biggs -- one of the most notorious British criminals of the 20th century -- has died, his publisher told CNN. He was 84.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
Ray Price, the Nashville star whose trademark "shuffle" beat became a country music staple, has died at age 87, his agent said.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine died, her longtime friend Noel Beutel said. She was 96.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Actor Peter O'Toole died peacefully in a hospital at 81 years old.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Tom Laughlin, the actor who wrote and starred in the "Billy Jack" films of the 1970s, died at age 82.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who played with the jazz greats of the 20th century and influenced the younger ones, has died, his family said. He was 83.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Actress Eleanor Parker, nominated for three Oscars and known for her "Sound of Music" role, died Monday at 91, her family said.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Bill Beckwith, who co-hosted HGTV home-improvement show "Curb Appeal," has died. He was 38.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious," died in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
November 30, 2013 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Paul F. Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2342 GMT (0742 HKT)
Jane Kean, who played diverse roles during a long career but was best known as Trixie on the TV revival of "The Honeymooners," has died. She was 90.
November 25, 2013 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Singer Wayne Mills, whose "outlaw country" songs center on honky-tonk life, died in a Nashville bar shooting.
Today's five most popular stories