Muni, Paul [key], 1895–1967, American actor, b. Austria, whose original name was Muni Weisenfreund. His parents brought him to the United States in 1902 and from 1903 to 1913 toured with him in vaudeville. Turning to the legitimate theater, he toured (1914–17) the Midwest and acted (1918–25) with the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York City. He began working in films in 1928 and won an Academy Award in 1936 for his performance in The Life of Louis Pasteur. An outstanding character actor, Muni's films include The Life of Émile Zola (1937), The Good Earth (1937), Juarez (1939), and The Last Angry Man (1959). In 1955 he appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind.
See biography by M. B. Druxman (1974).
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