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Daniel G. "Dan" Hedaya (born July 24, 1940) is an American character actor. He often plays sleazy villains or uptight, wisecracking individuals; four of his best-known roles are as Italian Mafia boss Tony Costello in Wise Guys, a cuckolded husband in the Coen brothers' crime thriller Blood Simple, Carla Tortelli's ex-husband Nick on the sitcom Cheers, and Tom Hanks's boss in Joe Versus the Volcano. He also played Mel Horowitz, the father of Cherilyn "Cher" Horowitz, played by Alicia Silverstone, in the classic film Clueless.

Life and career

Hedaya was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Sephardic Jewish family from Syria.[1][2][3] His father emigrated from Aleppo.[4] Hedaya was raised in Bensonhurst, and worked as a junior high school teacher for many years before deciding to pursue acting full-time.[4]

Alongside a successful career in the movies, Hedaya has appeared in several TV roles, including Carla Tortelli's ex-husband Nick on the sitcom Cheers and its short-lived spinoff The Tortellis. He played the estranged father of Mallory Keaton's boyfriend, Nick, on the sitcom Family Ties. More recently, he played an Italian-American priest in the controversial and quickly cancelled NBC series The Book of Daniel. Adding to his list of television credits is his performance as the long-lost father of Adrian Monk on Monk. He also guest starred in 1997 and 2005 as a wisecracking lawyer on the medical drama ER.

In films, Hedaya has played the evil dictator Arius in 1985's Commando and Mel Horowitz, the father of Alicia Silverstone's Cher, in the 1995 film Clueless. He played Julian Marty in the first Coen Brothers film, Blood Simple. His physical similarity to Richard Nixon led to his being cast as the former president for the film Dick. Hedaya appeared in several episodes of the television series Hill Street Blues as a corrupt, bigamist cop during the series' first season. During the 1980s Hedaya also appeared in the television series Miami Vice.[5]



  1. ^ "Philadelphia Rings a Bell FOR 'First Wives Club' Actor". Jewish Exponent. 1996-10-03. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  2. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (1995-11-14). "After 20 Years, Dan Hedaya Is Fading Out of Anonymity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ Zenner, Walter P. (2000). A Global Community: The Jews from Aleppo, Syria. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2791-5. 
  4. ^ a b Schleier, Curt (1999-10-28). "A Night at the Sephardic Film Festival". The Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
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