Mike Nussbaum, Chicago native, is oldest working actor in the US

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Veteran actor Mike Nussbaum is a crowning jewel in the local acting community - and he's been one for over half a century! He's about to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the League of Chicago Theatres.

"I get more fun out of this than I would out of anything else I love, I would hate to have to give it up," Nussbaum said.

Nussbaum is still on stage in Chicago Shakespeare's current production of "Hamlet" at age 95. According to Actor's Equity, he is the oldest working professional actor in the United States.

"There is no older actor, there are several that are 93, but I'm the oldest," he said.

Starting out as an exterminator, Nussbaum made a turn to acting in the mid-1960s. Theatre companies here, in New York and around the world have cast him. Hollywood has called him for "Field of Dreams," "Men in Black," and "House of Games." But the play's the thing for Mike.

"There is a sense of fun that comes from working with other actors , many of whom, all of whom are younger than I am, and we treat each other as peers, not as mentor to student," he said.

Besides theatre longevity, this Army vet can claim another distinction.

"I sent the teletype message from Eisenhower to the Pentagon that announced the end of the war," Nussbaum said.

After such a dramatic life and another Shakespeare under his belt - is this it?

"I hope not, but I have no offers," he said.

And if Nussbaum could say something to his young actor self, he said it would be "Start sooner!"
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