Iconic Israeli actor and director Yehuda Barkan dies of COVID-19 at age 75

Barkan was widely known for his appearance in comedy cult classics, as well as for hidden camera prank films; presidents laments passing of ‘great actor, wellspring of joy’

Actor Yehuda Barkan in 2020 (video screenshot)
Actor Yehuda Barkan in 2020 (video screenshot)

Israeli actor Yehuda Barkan died Saturday at the age of 75 after a battle with COVID-19, his family said.

Barkan had been hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center for the past few weeks.

Barkan was an actor, director and producer, best known for his appearance in Israeli comedy cult classics from the 1970s such as Charlie Ve’hetzi and Hagiga B’Snuker, as well as the 1990s’ Abba Ganuv films.

In the 1980s he became known for directing and producing hidden camera prank films.

In 2010 he participated in the widely-praised TV series Yellow Peppers, about a family raising an autistic child.

Over the past two decades Barkan became religious, and produced and acted in several ultra-Orthodox films in recent years.

Sending his “deepest condolences” to Barkan’s family, President Reuven Rivlin hailed him on Saturday as “a wellspring of joy, a great, multifaceted actor who was also large of spirit and full of generosity. We will return to the treasures he left Israeli culture again and again, and remember him with much love and with a smile.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Barkan had “great love” for the people and the country and “brought joy to generations of Israelis… He will be greatly missed by us all.”

As of Saturday night, 2,366 people have died of coronavirus in Israel.

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