April 6, 1948 - May 17, 2021
Services Date: May 28, 2021
James Steven Schlifke was born to Erwin and Marjorie Schlifke April 6, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. As a young boy he enjoyed spending time with his two brothers and family, went to summer camp, and he was confirmed in the Jewish faith. He attended South Shore high school in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating high school James began his studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign earning a Bachelor of Science degree in General Engineering, 1970. He was a member of the ZBT fraternity and was affectionately referred to as Faceman. James went on to law school also at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign earning a Juris Doctorate, 1973. After law school, James met and married Geraldine Katz. The pair had three children, Adam, Michelle, and Alana. Sadly, after 17 years of marriage their union would come to an end. During this time James practiced law and held various executive positions in the Chicago area for the better part of 20 years.
Looking for a fresh start Jim headed west to sunny Southern California and worked in various legal counseling capacities, sales management, and executive transportation. In his late sixties he registered for Central Casting and a talent booking service at the suggestion of his longtime love and life partner, Veronica Polite-Weir. The phone rang off the hook with requests for spot appearances on major television and film productions in Los Angeles. He was faced with double bookings at times, pulled from one production and placed on another of greater priority by casting directors. Some of his spot and repeat appearances included productions For All Mankind (Reporter), Black Monday (Reporter), Perry Mason (various), Blackish (Country-club member), The Rookie (Officer), VEEP (Campaign Rally Carnival Barker) and Deadwood (Townsman).
Into his early 70’s James began to show signs of neurological impairment. After numerous tests for the better part of a year he was formally diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He first experienced mild progression of the disease while later succumbing to a swift progression with the onset of the Covid virus in February 2021. After a long hospital stay and efforts to rehabilitate him his heart stopped beating May 17, 2021 at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, ICU Van Nuys, California. The final chapter of his life was spent in peace and comfort at his harbor residence in Marina del Rey, California where he and Veronica enjoyed walks on the penninsula, great home-cooked meals, entertaining, watching old movies, playing games, and reading science fiction novels. Further hobbies included rollerblading and hiking. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
James is survived by his brother, Robert Schlifke, three children, Dr. Adam Schlifke, Michelle Harris, and Alana Katzenberg. Additional survivors include eight grandchildren, a series of cousins, nieces and nephews.