George Tobias as Abner Kravitz

GEORGE TOBIAS (Abner Kravitz)

George Tobias began a colorful life on luly 14, 1901, on New York's Lower East Side. Coming from a theatrical family, he started his own career at the age of fifteen at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. At nineteen, he went into a Provincetown Playhouse production of The HairyApe, a new Eugene O'Neill play that was destined to become an American classic. Shortly afterward, he was chosen for the original Broadway cast of What Price Glory by Maxwell Anderson and Laurence Stallings. The play was highly successful, and George stayed with it from 1924 to 1926.

He later appeared in such plays as The Road to Rome, The Gray Fox, and Elizabeth the Queen, and went on to work in summer stock with Jose Ferrer. When he returned to New York, he landed in another new production that was to become one of Broadway's all-time hits, You Can't Take It with You. From 1937 to 1939, Tobias played the Russian ballet master in the famous George Kaufman-Moss Hart comedy, then he went on to the musical Leave It to Me! with Mary Martin (famous as Peter Pan, George Tobias and mother of I Dream of Jeannie's Larry Hagman).George then came to Hollywood to make movies for MGM, including Ninotchka (1939), which years later became a hit on Broadway in a musical version called Silk Stockings (1957, with Don Ameche and Hildegard Neff). Silk was turned into another MGM film with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. George was in all three versions.

For many years he was under contract to Warner Brothers and appeared in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) and Air Force (1943) for the studios, as well as Mission to Moscow (1943) and My Sister Eileen (1955), a Columbia release which also featured Dick York.

Tobias made several other movies, including The Set Up (1949), Ten Tall Men (1951), The Glenn Miller Story (l954), The Seven Little Foys (1955), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), and The Glass Bottom Boat (with Alice Pearce in 1966).

In addition to his regular role as Abner on Bewitched, Tobias made many other TV appearances, including a continuing part in Adventures in Paradise from 1959 to 1962, and with former Bewitched costar Sandra Gould on the Bewitched sequel, Tabitha, in which they both reprised their Kravitz roles.

Though Abner may have been a softer role for him to play in any series, Tobias was active and rugged in real life. Tobias was quite the equestrian. He owned and trained many horses, loved to play polo, and was a volunteer mounted policeman.

In fact, according to Bewitched costar David White, the off-screen Abner was a sheriff out in Peach Blossom, California, where he lived. "He had a badge and everything," recalled White. "He Was told that if he ever saw something suspicious, he should call it in. I mean, he had a two-way radio in his jeep, and I guess he used to be quite the rambler out there."

* Biography from "Bewitched Forever" by Herbie J. Pilato

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