Hal Linden (born Harold Lipshitz on March 20, 1931 in New York City) is an American actor and television director. He is best known for his portrayal of the title character in the television comedy series Barney Miller (1975-1982). More recently he has appeared in small roles in movies. He began his career as a saxophone player and leader of dance bands.
Linden chose his stage name after spotting a gas storage tank with the word "Linden" (as in Linden, New Jersey) written on it in huge lettersâ€”"large enough for a big star".
Linden is currently the national spokesperson for the Jewish National Fund. He also played "The Dean" in the Christian movie Time Changer.