You may not know the name Ned Eisenberg, but you probably remember his face. He was the textbook actor for “that guy who was in that movie that was out last year.”
With a resume as long as the Baja Penisula, Ned Eisenberg who passed away on Feb 27 from cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer of the bile duct, and ocular melanoma, was in everything from screwball comedies, like Moving Violations, to Oscar-winning movies like Million Dollar Baby to historical dramas like A Civil Action and Flags of our Fathers, where he played Joe Rosenthal who took the famous picture of the Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima.
Yes, with a career dating back to 1980 with the cult classic The Exterminator, Eisenberg appeared both in movies and on TV, where he mostly appeared on Law and Order episodes in recurring roles or other police procedural shows including Miami Vice.
He appeared alongside a Who’s Who of Hollywood celebrities – Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Fred Willard, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Emma Thompson, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, Jon Cryer, Robert Conrad, Jennifer Tilley, Sally Kellerman, Chris Rock, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper. You name it. He was directed by Eastwood twice and worked with directors Mike Nichols, Walter Hill and Oliver Stone.
He appeared in the first episode of the landmark HBO series The Sopranos and was an unfortunate victim in the slasher classic The Burning where his character was brutally killed on the famous raft attack scene. With his Burning costar and friend, Fisher Stevens, Eisenberg co-founded the Naked Angels theater company in 1986 in New York City. In the theater he worked with Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marisa Tomei, Gina Gershon, Helen Slater, Mary Stuart Masterson, Rob Morrow, and Nancy Travis among others.
Eisenberg was working all the way up to his recent passing having appeared in the HBO limited series Mare of Easttown. For character actors, he was one of the best with a career spanning over 40 years. May he rest in peace and peace and love be with all his friends and family who will miss him dearly.