Assi Dayan

1945 - 2014


JERUSALEM (AP) - Actor and director Assi Dayan, an Israeli cultural icon who was known for both his trailblazing films and troubled personal life, died on Thursday in his Tel Aviv home. He was 68.

No cause of death was given but Dayan had suffered from several illnesses in recent years. Word of his death immediately became the top news item in Israel.

A scion to one of Israel's most prominent families, Dayan was the youngest son of famed military chief and defense minister Moshe Dayan. His sister Yael was also a former politician.

"My baby is gone and this is not the age when you expect the anchor to fall," his 97-year-old mother Ruth said, speaking to reporters outside his home.

Despite his lineage, Dayan was somewhat of a counterculture hero. He often lashed out at the state and angrily confronted his father over his military views, his marital infidelities and his reputation for plundering antiquities' sites.

Dayan acted in 50 films and TV shows and directed 16 movies. He played the lead role in the acclaimed TV drama Betipul, which was adapted into the HBO series "In Treatment," with Gabriel Byrne playing Dayan's role.

Dayan won many awards for his filmmaking prowess. In 1998, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

He was also a popular newspaper columnist who did not shy away from sharing confessions about his own demons.

Dayan, who had four children from three marriages, had a tumultuous personal life. He was open about his bouts of drug and alcohol abuse and a series of attempted suicides.

"Today we lost one of our greatest artists, not just in film but in all culture," actress Gila Almagor told the YNet news site. "Assi was a guiding light, a multifaceted genius."

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Rest in peace.

May God grant the family the comfort needed to endure this trial. 2 Cronthians 1: 3 and 4

To the Dayan family. I am sorry for your loss. Drawing close to God can bring much needed comfort.

My sympathy to the family. May God be with you.

Dayan's friends and family, we send our sympathy during this time. He loved all of you very deeply.

Once said, "We are all on the same in train in life, but those who have passed away in the sleeper car are awaiting to be resurrected to a new world." Where no one will be sick or in pain.

With deepest sympathy, I am wishing the Dayan family peace and the comfort that only the God of all comfort can provide so abundantly during this difficult time.

You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your loved one. I hope your closeness and warm memories will bring you some comfort during this painful loss. Always remember that God is your strength during this difficult time. (Psalm 28:7)

As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.