He was a student at the Old Vic School and the Webber Douglas Academy. He became a lifetime member of The Actors Studio in 1957.
Mel Brooks and his wife, Anne Bancroft, recommended him for the role of Carmen Ghia in the 1968 film The Producers.
His family was residing in Khartoum, Sudan, when he was born.
He worked as Actors Studio co-founder Elia Kazan's assistant for several years.