Leon Belasco (11 October 1902 – 1 June 1988), born Leonid Simeonovich Berladsky, was a Russian-American musician and actor who had a 60-year career in film and television from the 1920s to the 1980s, appearing in more than 100 films.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Belasco attended St. Joseph College in Yokohama, Japan, and trained as a musician in Japan and Manchuria. For several years he appeared as the first violinist with the Tokyo Symphony.
When his family moved to California, Belasco found occasional work in Hollywood. He made his film debut in 1926 in the silent film The Best People. To supplement his income, he played theviolin. Later he formed his own band, which mainly performed in hotels in and around New York City. The Andrews Sisters were introduced through his band.
During a season break from a hotel engagement, he returned to Hollywood, first appearing in Broadway Serenade and Topper Takes a Trip (1938). He acted in 13 films in 1942, including Holiday Inn, Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Road to Morocco.
He appeared with the Marx Brothers in their last film together, Love Happy (1949). Being able to speak Russian, he was a dialogue director in Norman Jewison's 1966 comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.
Belasco often played eccentric or befuddled European and ethnic characters. He also played heavier roles in World War II and Cold War espionage dramas. On radio he played a thieving informant in The Man Called X. His best-known television role was as Appopoplous the landlord in My Sister Eileen (1960). His last film was Superdad (1973), and his final television movie wasWoman of the Year (1976).
Beginning in 1953, Belasco appeared in a variety of television shows. These included: Maverick (1961), Twilight Zone (1963), The Lucy Show (1963), The Beverly Hillbillies (1964-1967), My Three Sons (1966), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1966), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), Little House on the Prairie (1978) and Trapper John, M.D. (1980).
On his death in 1988 in Orange, California, Belasco was cremated, and his ashes scattered.