In a somber moment for the entertainment world, the curtains have fallen on the remarkable life of veteran actor Mike Nussbaum. The actor, celebrated for his roles in iconic films like “Men in Black” and “Field of Dreams,” took his final bow at the age of 99, leaving behind a legacy that will forever illuminate the silver screen.

Born Myron Nussbaum in the vibrant city of Chicago in 1923, Nussbaum’s journey into the world of acting was unconventional, to say the least. Before he graced the stage and screen, he toiled in his family’s exterminating business, far removed from the glamour of Hollywood lights.

However, destiny had a different script for Nussbaum. He didn’t embrace acting until he was in his forties, proving that age is no barrier to pursuing one’s passion. His late start did nothing to dampen his brilliance, as he went on to become a household name with a career spanning several decades.

Nussbaum’s collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, a creative partnership of great renown, brought him acclaim and recognition. His portrayal of the aging salesman George Aaronow in the original Broadway production of “Glengarry Glen Ross” in 1984 remains etched in the annals of theater history.

But Nussbaum was more than just a stage actor. He dabbled in various roles, ranging from the endearing school principal in “Field of Dreams” to the enigmatic alien jeweler in “Men in Black,” a character whose head famously concealed a small alien secret.

Television audiences also cherished Nussbaum’s appearances in shows like “The X-Files” and “The Equalizer,” where he continued to captivate viewers with his undeniable talent.

In 2019, Nussbaum was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the League of Chicago Theaters, an accolade that recognized his enduring contribution to the world of performing arts. At that time, he was celebrated as the oldest working member of Actors’ Equity, a testament to his dedication and longevity in an industry known for its fleeting nature.

Nussbaum’s dedication to his craft knew no bounds, as he continued to enchant audiences well into his 90s. His fervor for acting remained undiminished, a passion he eloquently expressed, saying, “I am gifted and lucky to still be able to do the thing that is the most fun for me in life. As long as I can do it, I will.”

Beyond his professional achievements, Nussbaum was a father and a man who instilled values of empathy and justice in his children. His daughter, Karen, remembers him fondly as a good father who raised them to care for others and uphold principles of fairness.

As we bid adieu to this iconic figure, we also remember his enduring love story. Nussbaum was married to his first wife, Annette Brenner, for 56 years. Their union, which began in 1949, produced three children: Jack, labor leader Karen, and playwright/novelist Susan, who sadly passed away in 2022.

In 2004, Nussbaum embarked on a new chapter in his life with his second wife, Julie Brudlos, a partnership that lasted until his passing. He is survived by Brudlos, his children Jack and Karen, and seven grandchildren.

The news of Mike Nussbaum’s departure marks the end of an era in the Chicago school of acting. He was not just an actor; he was a mentor who opened doors for countless aspiring talents, leaving an indelible mark on the world of theater and film.

B.J. Jones, the artistic director of Northlight Theatre and a longtime friend of Nussbaum, summed it up best when he said, “It’s the end of an era, the end of the Chicago school of acting. He opened a lot of doors for so many actors here. He loved nothing more than to sit in his dressing room area and absorb the energy of the next generation of actors around him.”

Indeed, Mike Nussbaum’s legacy will continue to inspire generations of actors, reminding us all that age is no obstacle when it comes to pursuing one’s passion and leaving an indomitable mark on the world of entertainment.