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Alfred Bass (born Abraham Basalinksy; 8 April 1921 15 July 1987) was a diminutive cockney-accented English actor. He was born in Bethnal Green, London to a Jewish family[2].

Career

He began his acting career at Unity Theatre, London in the late 1930s, appearing in Plant In The Sun, and as the pantomime King in Babes In The Wood. Bass first appeared on film in wartime documentaries[3]. His stage career spanned classics by Shakespeare and Shaw, but on film he applied the lessons of his youth, playing pragmatic working class roles, speaking a cockney vernacular. During the 1950s he continued to direct shows at Unity, and on one occasion appeared in court (along with Vida Hope) charged with putting on a play without a license.[4].

Among his most often seen films (by modern audiences), are The Lavender Hill Mob and A Tale of Two Cities. He also starred in Roman Polanski's horror sex romp The Fearless Vampire Killers (British title "The Dance of the Vampires") as the character Yoine Shagal, the innkeeper. Initially, he seeks to protect his beautiful daughter Sarah, portrayed by Sharon Tate, from the local vampire lord. However, the vampire lord prevails, turning Shagal and his daughter into vampires. When a maid tries to scare him off with a crucifix, after a moment's shock (he has only recently been vampiried) he utters the unforgettable line "Oy, have you got the wrong vampire!", thus becoming perhaps the first Jewish vampire in film. His character spends the rest of the movie dealing with his vampirism, spouting off funny one-liners and seeking to fulfil his sexual cravings.

One of his little-seen film appearances is the Pride segment of The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins. He also appeared in many cameo roles, such as the Indian restaurant doorman in the Beatles' movie Help! (1965), and in Moonraker (1979).

He continued working until the turn of the 1980s and had roles in the TV series Till Death Us Do Part, Minder, and Are You Being Served?. He sometimes emphasised his Jewish background in the accent he used on screen.

He also guest starred in two episodes of the British comedy television The Goodies, in which he appeared as the "Town Planner" in Camelot, and as the "Giant" in The Goodies and the Beanstalk.

He starred in The Army Game a British TV comedy series of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and then co-starred in its sequel Bootsie and Snudge as a tramp with Bill Fraser and Clive Dunn. Both series were very popular in Britain. He also had success on the stage, in particular with The Bespoke Overcoat which was filmed in 1956. He successfully took over from Topol in the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof on the West End stage.

He also appeared in the 1950s Landmark BBC Radio SF Series Journey Into Space as Lemuel "Lemmy" Barnet.

He died of a heart attack in 1987. His last home was in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.

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