steven hill, law & order, law and order, mission: impossibleSteven Hill, the veteran actor known for his work on television staples like "Law & Order" and the original "Mission: Impossible," has died. He was 94.

Hill first made his name on the stage, and was one of the original members of the famed Actors Studio, and was a peer of legends like Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Julie Harris. Fellow actor Martin Landau once said of Hill, "When I first became an actor, there were two young actors in New York: Marlon Brando and Steven Hill. A lot of people said that Steven would have been the one [to become famous], not Marlon. He was legendary. Nuts, volatile, mad, and his work was exciting."

In between two stints in the Navy, Hill enjoyed great success in theater, though he became more well-known to national audiences thanks to a run on television series in the 1960s, including "The Untouchables," "Rawhide," and "The Fugitive." But his lead role in 1966's "Mission: Impossible" series made him a star, and he was championed by fellow CBS headliner Lucille Ball; his luck didn't last, though, and he was fired from the series after only one season due to disagreements over the show's shooting schedule (Hill was Jewish, and declined to work on the Sabbath).

Hill's luck on television changed in 1990 with the massive success of "Law & Order," on which he played District Attorney Adam Schiff. The actor remained with the show for its first 10 seasons, shooting more than 225 episodes of the popular procedural. He earned two Emmy nominations for his work on "L&O," and reprised the role of Schiff for an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" in 2000.

In addition to those series, Hill also appeared on shows including "One Life to Live," "Columbo," and "Thirtysomething." His film work includes roles in movies such as "Yentl," "Legal Eagles," "Heartburn," "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "Running on Empty," and "The Firm."

"Steven was not only one of the truly great actors of his generation, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met," said "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf in a statement. "He is also the only actor I've known who consistently tried to cut his own lines. He will be missed but fortunately he can be seen ubiquitously on 'Law & Order' reruns."

Hill was previously married to actress Selma Stern ("Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," "Bruce Almighty," "Made of Honor"), with whom he had four children. He is survived by his second wife, Rachel, with whom he had five children.

[via: The Hollywood Reporter]