Hundreds Pay Respects to Tough-guy Actor Amos Lavie, Dead of Cancer at 57

Over the last three decades, Amos Lavie had roles in dozens of films, television series and theater performances.

Hundreds of leading figures from Israeli film, television and theater came to pay their last respects yesterday to the actor Amos Lavie, who was laid to rest after dying of cancer Tuesday at 57.

Most of the characters Lavie played were coarse, tough or violent.

Before the funeral, Lavie's body lay in state at Tel Aviv's Habima Theater. He died of lung cancer, but friends said he had told few people about his illness. He was admitted to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv a day before his death after his condition had deteriorated.

Lavie studied acting in the 1980s at Seminar Hakibbutzim College in Tel Aviv as part of treatment for the trauma he suffered during the Yom Kippur War.

Over the last three decades, he had roles in dozens of films, television series and theater performances. He won three Ophir Awards, the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars, for his roles in the films "Shchur," "Nashim" ("Women" ) and "Circus Palestina."

He was also in Steven Spielberg's "Munich." His last film, "Kavod" ("Honor" ), directed by Haim Bouzaglo, was released this year. He also appeared in a television miniseries, "Adama," which has not yet been shown.

His theater career included many performances at the Habima national theater.

He also appeared on the stages of the Be'er Sheva Theater, Jerusalem's Khan Theater and the Beit Lessin Theater, where in the past three years he appeared in two plays, "Tapuhim Min Hamidbar" ("Apples from the Desert" ) and "Yetzarim" ("Urges" ).

It was only in the last several days that Lavie stopped coming to rehearsals for an upcoming play at Habima, "Ki Vanu Baharta" ("Because You Chose Us" ), written by Yochi Brandes, which is due to open next month. Lavie began his acting career at Habima.

Tzipi Pines, the director at Beit Lessin, called Lavie a "warm and wonderful actor who had a lot of enthusiasm. His death is a great loss." Actress Hana Azoulay-Hasafri said Lavie was a genuine actor who didn't need to rely on techniques to play a particular character.

"He was a wonderful actor, an exciting actor, with blue eyes like the depths of the sea, and I simply can't believe he's gone."

Radio show host Eran Sabag eulogized Lavie yesterday in a tearful tribute, mentioning how he met Lavie for the first time three years ago at a Tel Aviv cafe. They then became close friends.

"I love him with all my soul," Sabag said. "He was a great man, modest and shy. Amos never spoke badly of anyone. He was a righteous man without a skullcap."