Avner the Eccentric

 Avner Eisenberg "Avner the Eccentric" is an American vaudeville performer, clown, mime, juggler, and sleight of hand magician. He played the title role in the 1985 film The Jewel of the Nile. John Simon described him in 1984 as "A clown for the thinking man and the most exacting child."

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Avner went to four different universities with a variety of tentative majors; he ultimately received a theater degree from the University of Washington in 1971. He then studied mime in Paris under Jacques Lecoq, interrupting those studies to spend some time as a puppeteer. Returning to the U.S., he taught at Carlo Clementi's Dell'Arte School of Physical Comedy in California.

He performed at Renaissance fairs and on stages, before playing the title role in the 1985 film The Jewel of the Nile, a film that also featured his fellow vaudevillians The Flying Karamazov Brothers. In a generally negative review of that film, Janet Maslin singled out Avner for praise: "Avner Eisenberg very nearly steals the film…" Roger Ebert, on reviewing the film, also singled Eisenberg out as a "a true comic discovery".

Other notable roles have included a self-titled 1984 Broadway show, an appearance in a 1987 Lincoln Center production of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, and the principal role Srulik the ventriloquist in the 1989 Broadway play Ghetto. He has also played both Vladimir and Estragon in productions of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, costarred with his wife, Julie Goell, in the world premiere of Zoo of Tranquility, and portrayed Robert Crumb in Comix.

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