Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Searching for Michael Nirenberg

I rewatched Searching for Bobby Fischer last night. It's a superb film about kids playing chess. It's like the Rocky of kid chess films.

The villain of the film was a little kid played by Michael Nirenberg. He was great in the film. Looked a little like Elijah Wood:

According to IMDB he has one other film credit.

Find a grave has a page for him:

Many pages on the internet list him as having died of cancer in 1996.

IMDb also has another person same name, born on the same day who is a documentary director.
Her confirmed on twitter that it isn't the same guy.

However, it also brings to question the birth date. It says this actor was born in 1978. That would have made him a teenager playing a 9 year old. Which doesn't add up at all.

So, the birth date of the director is probably incorrectly listed as the actor's birth date.

In the IMDB message boards we have the following:
Someone claiming to be his brother, saying he was born on Aug. 3rd 1983. He also claims he is now a chef:

A poster claimed to be his mother and says he is alive.

Someone in the comments of this blog:
Posted this:
"Max Pomeranc and Michael Nirenberg actually went to high school together! I was in Michael’s year (2001) at the Bronx High School of Science, and Max was a year behind us. I’m Facebook friends with Mike, so I can tell you he’s very much alive!"

If that's true then he is a chef:


  1. I have been intrigued by him and decided to look him up only to find he was/is supposedly deceased by cancer 1996 which would have made him 18, and 14 when he did the Bobby Fischer film. He surely doesn't look anything close to 14. There is another film he was in made in 1996 which would have made him 18, it's black and white, no voice, and it's called "Eclipse" and I found it on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/66368706 I'm still searching for obituaries, anything, most everything comes to a dead end sorry to say.

    1. Anonymous10/13/2022

      This information is incorrect! This actor was 9 years old at filming Searching for Bobby Fisher and 10 upon it's release. Almost age 13 for Eclipse. He was 13 when he died of cancer. This fact is listed on IMBd which will not post death dates without a certified death certificate.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Anonymous3/22/2023

    Someone says in the blog that he's alive and IMDB was in error, Is that true? Plssss be true!

    1. Anonymous12/05/2023

      He is most definitely alive. The IMBD is an error!

  6. Anonymous9/04/2023

    I just want to know the truth, did this boy really die of cancer at age 13 ? If it's true that's awful ! May he rest in peace !

  7. Anonymous9/09/2023

    I am curious in this totally non-private world why it has been so hard to get reliable information on Michael Nirenberg. I love the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. The actors in this movie are great particularly the kids. Max Pomeranc is a standout. Smart too...he left acting

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  9. I've just watched the other film Michael was in (Eclipse) on Vimeo and the credits at the end say that it was made in 1993 and not 1996 as it says in Imdb. So, according to that, both Searching for Bobby Fischer and Eclipse were made the same year!

  10. Anonymous3/03/2024

    Photo posted definitely looks like him.