Celebrated Israeli actor and director Assi Dayan, whose father Moshe Dayan became internationally known as Israel’s eye patch-wearing defence minister during two Middle East wars, died on Thursday at the age of 68, his family announced.
Dayan, who was plagued by substance abuse during his career and had a history of heart trouble, was found dead in his Tel Aviv home. No cause of death was immediately given.
The actor had a strained relationship with his late father, an army general. Moshe Dayan served as defence minister in the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the Sinai desert, and in the 1973 conflict with Egypt and Syria.
Assi Dayan’s mother Ruth, 97, is a long-time peace activist who has maintained a public silence about her husband - whose extramarital affairs were common knowledge in Israel - since their divorce in 1971 after 36 years of marriage.
“The only thing I inherited from my father is his heartburn and impatience,” Dayan said at a press event in 2011 that launched the production of a 2013 autobiographical film, “Life as a Rumor”.
He directed 17 films, including one of Israel’s most popular comedies, “Halfon Hill Doesn’t Answer”(1976), which poked fun at the army, an institution that is widely respected by Israelis but also a traditional target for satire.
Dayan also made the critically acclaimed “Life According to Agfa” (1992), a gritty portrayal of Israeli society based around a Tel Aviv bar.
Married three times and the father of four children, Dayan played the leading role of the psychologist in the successful Israeli television drama, “Be’Tipul”, later adapted by the HBO network in the United States as “In Treatment”.