Charles Levin, ‘Seinfeld’ mohel, is found dead in Oregon

“Every bris that I go to now, every mohel compares himself to him.”

Charles Levin. —Grants Pass Department of Public Safety via The New York Times

he authorities in Oregon said Monday that they had located the remains of actor Charles Levin, best known for his one-off portrayal of a mohel in “Seinfeld” and a recurring role in the series “Alice” in the 1980s.

Levin, 70, was found on Saturday several hundred feet from his car, which contained the remains of his pug, Boo Bear, in an “incredibly remote” area near Grants Pass in southwestern Oregon, said Warren Hensman, the city’s public safety chief.

The case is not being treated as a homicide or suicide, he said.

The car was off an “almost impassable road” and had been “disabled due to terrain,” the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety said in a statement.


The actor, who had lived in Grants Pass, had not been heard from since June 28, said his son, Jesse Levin, adding that his father’s last phone call was to a family friend in the area. “It was breaking up,” he said. “It wasn’t very clear what he was saying, but he did seem to sound confused and lost.”

Jesse Levin said he had filed a missing-person report after his father’s landlord noticed that he had not moved out of his home on July 1 as agreed. The actor had been set to move from one part of Grants Pass to another, his son said.

The authorities searched for the older Levin for over a week, narrowing their search on Friday through an emergency cellphone ping. The next day, an Illinois Valley resident spotted Levin’s car.

Hensman said that a small compact vehicle was not meant for such terrain.

Hours after the car and the pug inside were found, the authorities came upon Charles Levin’s body, Hensman said. He said that he could not comment on the body’s condition but that it had been there for at least “a couple of days.”

“We are incredibly saddened and disappointed that we weren’t able to locate him sooner,” Hensman said. “We put a lot of effort into it. So did the search and rescue team.”


Levin was identified by a “variety of facts and circumstances,” Hensman said, but he emphasized that a medical examiner would make the final identification.

Jesse Levin said that he did not know his father’s cause of death and that he had been told it was most likely an accident.

He said his father, who moved to Oregon in the mid-2000s, was known in town for being “a gregarious” and “boisterous person.”

“He was a difficult guy, a big diva,” Jesse Levin recalled. “He was incredibly comedic. He just had a humongous personality. He was extremely charming. It’s very sad what’s happened.”

In his acting career, Charles Levin appeared in numerous films, including “Annie Hall” and “This Is Spinal Tap.” In 1983, he began a recurring role in the television series “Alice,” in which he played Elliot Novak. He became a regular in the show’s ninth season.

But perhaps the role that brought Levin his greatest applause was the spastic mohel, or person who performs a circumcision, in a 1993 episode of “Seinfeld” titled “The Bris.”

“My dad was so over the top and ridiculous that he told me that Jerry Seinfeld fell out of a chair laughing at how ridiculous he was,” said Jesse Levin, who was at the taping with his father.

“Every bris that I go to now, every mohel compares himself to him,” Levin said. “He is the team mascot for that profession.”