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Steven Hill, the classically trained New York stage actor (he was in the original Broadway cast of "Mister Roberts," with Henry Fonda) who late in his career became best known for playing New York District Attorney Adam Schiff on the original "Law & Order," imbuing the role with a high level of weary yet resolute moral authority, passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

Most people don't realize that Hill also was the original head of the Impossible Missions Force when "Mission: Impossible" debuted in 1966, playing Dan Briggs during the show's first season. Hill left the show because of a dispute with producers; born Solomon Krakowski, he'd become an Orthodox Jew and had it written into his contract that he would be able to leave the set before sundown on Fridays so he could observe the Sabbath. That proved unworkable for the shooting schedule of a prime time television series, Hill was unwilling to compromise his faith, and he was replaced by Peter Graves as Jim Phelps in the second season for the rest of the series run.

After "Mission: Impossible," Hill left acting for almost a decade, and in that time shifted from being a leading man to a character actor, and ended up playing a range of roles in movies that included Yentl, Legal Eagles, The Firm, Running On Empty, Billy Bathgate, Eyewitness, and Heartburn. All of those films, as well as "Law & Order," managed to accommodate his religious beliefs into their shooting schedule.
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