This is a comprehensive list of Jewish actors and actresses from all over the world.
Note #1: The criteria required to be listed are as follows: (1) Being born to one Jewish parent (biological birth only, adoption will not count); (2) Formally converting to Judaism (all denominations are acceptable).
Note #2: Simply self-identifying as a Jew or for that matter being born a Jew and self-identifying as something else (ie. Christian/Buddhist/etc.) is irrelevant to one's actual Jewishness. As long as the criteria listed above are met, one will be counted as a Jew in this list.
Note #3: This is, or will be soon a VERY comprehensive list so do not be fooled by the total number of people who appear on the list. Most likely, the vast majority of those listed will be completely unknown to you.
Note #4: Listing is not in alphabetical or chronological order, but care will be taken to place the more prominent actors higher on the list.
Note #5: This list is a work in progress and will be constantly updated as more information becomes available.
Note #6: All persons listed herein are fully confirmed by multiple reliable sources to be Jewish based on the criteria posted above. Those that MAY be Jewish but cannot be fully confirmed by outside sources will not be included until more information becomes available.
Note #7: My aim is to make this the most comprehensive listing of Jewish actors and actresses on the web, not only on IMDb. Admittedly, a monumental task. If you seek brevity, there are other lists available on IMDb and elsewhere.
Note #8: This list will include ONLY Jewish actors and actresses. Directors, Screenwriters, Cinematographers, Producers, Editors, Composers, etc. are NOT included in this list. If time permits I might do another list made up of Jewish directors and perhaps later Jewish composers.
Note #9: I don't want any stupid comments about how "the Jews control Hollywood" or such nonsense. First, let it be known that Jews created Hollywood. That is a fully accepted historical fact. Second, nevertheless, the persons listed herein make up but a small percentage of actual working actors/actresses. The list may seem huge, but that is because it is composed of Jewish actors from all over the world, the vast majority of them are completely unknown to the general film-going public.
Harrison Ford was born on July 13, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, to Dorothy (Nidelman), a radio actress, and Christopher Ford (born John William Ford), an actor turned advertising executive. His father was of Irish and German ancestry, while his maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Minsk, Belarus...
Cleft-chinned, steely-eyed and virile star of international cinema who rose from being "the ragman's son" (the name of his best-selling 1988 autobiography) to become a bona fide superstar, Kirk Douglas, also known as Issur Danielovitch Demsky, was born in Amsterdam, New York, in 1916. His parents, Bryna (Sanglel) and Herschel Danielovitch...
An actor with over forty years of experience in theatre, film, and television, Michael Douglas branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
. Since then, as a producer and as an actor-producer, he has shown an uncanny knack for choosing projects that reflect changing trends and public concerns...
Often credited as the greatest comedian of all time, Peter Sellers was born to a well-off English acting family in 1925. His mother and father worked in an acting company run by his grandmother. As a child, Sellers was spoiled, as his parents' first child had died at birth. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served during World War II...
Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints. Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan
(née Annucci) and director...
Lauren Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924, in New York City. She is the daughter of Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, and William Perske, who was born in New Jersey, to Polish Jewish parents. Her family was middle-class, with her father working as a salesman and her mother as a secretary...
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson at the Los Angeles County Hospital on June 1, 1926. Her mother Gladys Pearl Baker was a film-cutter at Consolidated Film Industries. Marilyn's father's identity was never known. Because Gladys was mentally and financially unable to care for young Marilyn...
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was considered one of the last, if not the last, major star to have come out of the old Hollywood studio system. She was known internationally for her beauty, especially for her violet eyes, with which she captured audiences early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on with since...
Her real name was Frances "Fanny" Rose Shore, and she was born in Winchester, Tennessee. Stricken with polio at 18 months of age, she recovered after receiving the Sister Kenny treatment. She became a cheerleader at Hume-Fogg High School in Nashville and went on to graduate from Vanderbilt University in 1938...
won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for his performance in the The Color of Money
, a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy Award, and many honorary awards. Despite being colorblind, he won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing...
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson arrived in the United States at age ten, and his family moved into New York's Lower East Side. He took up acting while attending City College, abandoning plans to become a rabbi or lawyer. The American Academy of Dramatic Arts awarded him a scholarship, and he began work in stock...
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City, New York, to legendary comedians Jerry Stiller
and Anne Meara
. His father is of Austrian Jewish and Polish Jewish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry (she converted to Judaism). It's not surprising that...
Adam Richard Sandler was born September 9, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith (Levine), a teacher at a nursery school, and Stanley Alan Sandler, an electrical engineer. He is of Russian Jewish descent. At 17, he took his first step towards becoming a stand-up comedian when he spontaneously took the stage at a Boston comedy club...
Tony Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz, the eldest of three children of Helen (Klein) and Emanuel Schwartz, Jewish immigrants from Hungary. Curtis himself admits that while he had almost no formal education, he was a student of the "school of hard knocks" and learned from a young age that the only person who ever had his back was himself...
Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, who manufactured miniature whiskey and beer bottles. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, while his Illinois-born mother was of Russian Jewish descent. Wilder caught his first big break playing...
William Shatner has notched up an impressive 50-plus years in front of the camera, most recently displaying comedic talent, and being instantly recognizable to several generations of cult television fans as the square-jawed Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Shatner was born in Côte Saint-Luc...
Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. Raised in a tenement and acting in community theaters since age eight, Nimoy did not make his Hollywood debut until he was 20, with a bit part in Queen for a Day
and another as a ballplayer in the perennial Rhubarb
Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, and went to Santa Monica City College...
Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...
Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...
Goldie Jeanne Hawn was born in Washington D.C., to Laura Hawn
(née Steinhoff), a jewelry shop/dance school owner, and Rut Hawn
(Edward Rutledge Hawn), a band musician. She has a sister, Patti Hawn
, and a brother, Edward, who died before she was born. She was raised in the Jewish religion...
Almost everyone who has spent time with Kate Hudson -including directors, family members, co-stars and interviewers - is quick to comment on her ability to light up a room. Through some combination of a winning smile, solid work ethic, and good old-fashioned talent, the young actress has gone from indie beginner to Vanity Fair cover girl in just three years...
Billy Crystal was born on March 14, 1948 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. He is the youngest of three sons born to Helen (Gabler) and Jack Crystal. His father was a well-known concert promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. His family were Jewish immigrants from Russia...
Jerry Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Betty (Hesney) and Kalman Seinfeld. His father was of Hungarian Jewish descent, while Jerry's maternal grandparents, Salha and Selim Hosni, were Syrian Jewish immigrants (from Aleppo). He moved with his family, including sister Carolyn, to suburban Massepequa...
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born on January 13, 1961, in the New York City borough of Manhattan, to Judith (LeFever), a special needs tutor and author, and Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, a billionaire businessman. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she spent her childhood in Washington, D.C., and New York. She met her husband, Brad Hall
, while in college...
Jason Greenspan adopted the stage name Jason Alexander while still in high school in New Jersey. He was soon appearing in Broadway plays and movies, then in the hit TV series, Seinfeld
, from 1990 to 1998. Alexander also directs and produces films.
A masculine and enigmatic actor whose life and movie career have had more ups and downs than the average rollercoaster and whose selection of roles has arguably derailed him from achieving true superstar status, James Caan is New York-born and bred. He was born in the Bronx, to Sophie (Falkenstein) and Arthur Caan...
Steven Seagal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome (often with ponytail) action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. film Above the Law
. Steven Frederic Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan, to Patricia Anne (Fisher), a medical technician...
Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum was born October 22, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of four children of Shirley (Temeles), a radio broadcaster who also ran an appliances firm, and Harold L. Goldblum, a doctor. His father was of Russian Jewish descent and his mother was of Austrian Jewish ancestry. Goldblum began his career on the New York stage after moving to the city at age seventeen...
is one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation and has earned numerous awards, including three Academy Awards for Best Actor for his performances in My Left Foot
, There Will Be Blood
, making him the only male actor in history to have three wins in the lead actor category and one of only three male actors to win three Oscars...
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after over four decades in the business. Downey was born April 4, 1965 in Manhattan, New York, the son of writer, director and filmographer Robert Downey Sr.
and actress Elsie Downey
(née Elsie Ann Ford)...
Natalie Portman is the first millennial to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan
). Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati...
Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan
, is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, and her father, Karsten Johansson
, is Danish. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson
, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter Johansson
, born three minutes after her, and a paternal half-brother, Christian. Her grandfather was writer Ejner Johansson
Rashida Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones
and actress Peggy Lipton
. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones
, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry...
Academy Award-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal was born on November 16, 1977, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Her parents, Naomi Foner
(née Achs) and Stephen Gyllenhaal
, are both filmmakers, and her brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal
. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Swedish, English, Swiss-German, and German ancestry...
Known for his breakthrough starring role on Freaks and Geeks
, James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. His mother, Betsy Franco
, is Jewish, and his father, Douglas Eugene "Doug" Franco, was of Portuguese and Swedish descent, and ran a Silicon Valley business. James's mother, a writer, has occasionally acted...
Paul Stephen Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey. His parents, Michael and Gloria, both from Jewish families, were born in the U.K. He has one sister, who is three years younger than he is. Paul traveled with his family during his early years, because of his father's airline job at TWA. His family eventually settled in Overland Park...
An actor, comedian and writer, Seth Rogen has come a long way from doing stand-up comedy as a teen. Rogen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Sandy (Belogus), a social worker, and Mark Rogen, who worked for non-profits. His father is American-born and his mother is Canadian. He is of Russian Jewish descent...
Kyra Minturn Sedgwick was born on August 19, 1965 in New York City, to Patricia (Rosenwald), a family and speech therapist, and Henry Dwight Sedgwick V, a venture capitalist. Her mother was from an upper-class German Jewish family, and her father was from a wealthy Massachusetts clan of English descent...
Born in Manhattan and raised in Evanston, Illinois, he is an alumnus of the Piven Theatre Workshop founded by his parents (Byrne Piven
and Joyce Hiller Piven
) and a one time Chicago stage actor.
Initially an indie film favorite, actor Jon Favreau has progressed to strong mainstream visibility into the millennium and, after nearly two decades in the business, is still enjoying character stardom as well as earning notice as a writer/producer/director. The amiable, husky-framed actor with the tight...
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker was born March 25, 1965, in Nelsonville, Ohio, to Barbra Forste (née Keck), a teacher who ran a nursery school, and Stephen Parker, a journalist. Her parents divorced, and her mother later remarried to Paul Forste and had four more children, bringing the total to eight. Sarah now had 3 full siblings and 4 half siblings...
Julianne Margulies was born on June 8, 1966 in Spring Valley (near New York City), as the youngest of three daughters of Francesca (Goldberg), a teacher and dancer in American Ballet, and Paul Margulies, an advertising writer and philosopher. She is of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage (from Romania, Austria...
Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful. Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant banker...
Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. Rachel has a sister, Minnie, a curator and photographer...
Alicia Silverstone was born on October 4, 1976 in San Francisco, California, the youngest of three children. She is the daughter of Didi (Radford), a former flight attendant, and Monty Silverstone
, a real-estate investor. Her English-born father is from a Jewish family, while her Scottish-born mother converted to Judaism...
Winona Ryder was born Winona Laura Horowitz in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and was named after a nearby town, Winona, Minnesota. She is the daughter of Cynthia (Istas), an author and video producer, and Michael Horowitz, a publisher and bookseller. Her father's family is Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish...
Eli Raphael Roth was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Cora (Bialis), a painter, and Sheldon H. Roth, a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and clinical professor. His family is Jewish (from Austria, Hungary, Russia, and Poland). He began shooting Super 8 films at the age of eight, after watching Ridley Scott's Alien
Joaquin Phoenix is an American actor, producer, music video director, musician and activist. He started his career by appearing in episodes of television shows with his brother River Phoenix and sister Summer Phoenix. His first major film release was in the comedy-drama film Parenthood (1989). During his period as a child actor he was credited as Leaf Phoenix...
River Phoenix was born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon. His mother, Arlyn (Dunetz), a Bronx-born secretary, and his father, John Bottom, a carpenter, met in California in 1968. They worked as itinerant fruit pickers, and later joined the Children of God religious group (John was originally Catholic...
A tall, wafer thin, delicate beauty, Gwyneth Kate Paltrow was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of noted producer and director Bruce Paltrow
and Tony award-winning actress Blythe Danner
. Her father was from a Jewish family, while her mother has German, and some English and Irish, ancestry. When Gwyneth was eleven...
Amanda Peet was born and raised in New York City. She is the daughter of Penny (Levy), a social worker, and Charles Peet, a lawyer, and has an older sister. Her father was of mostly English and German ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish family (from Germany, Russia, and Hungary). Peet's great-grandfathers were politician Samuel Levy and showbiz impresario S.L. Rothafel
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Emmy Award-winning Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City, the daughter of Rosellen (Greenfield), who taught at a nursery school, and Arthur Gellar, who worked in the garment industry. Her maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jewish immigrants, and her father was also from a Jewish family...
Alyson Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., to Emilie (Posner), a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver. She began her acting career in Atlanta at the young age of 4 in commercials sponsoring such companies as McDonald's, Six Flags, and Oreos. She is a seasoned television actress veteran...
Isla Lang Fisher was born on February 3, 1976 in Muscat, Oman, to Scottish parents Elspeth Reid and Brian Fisher, who worked as a banker for the U.N. She spent her early childhood in Scotland before moving to Australia with her family in the early 1980s. From a young age, Isla showed an interest in both acting and writing...
Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan...
Hardly the dumb blonde of Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
, Lisa was born in Encino, California on July 30, 1963. Her mother, Nedra S. (Stern), was a travel agent, and her father, Lee N. Kudrow, was a physician. Her parents are both from Jewish immigrant families (from Belarus, Russia, and Hungary). Lisa was raised in Tarzana and played varsity-level tennis in high school and college...
With her expressive blue eyes, soft, Southern-tinged voice and an acting range that can carry her from hysterically funny to terrifying in seconds, Patricia Arquette is one of the most underrated and talented actresses of her generation. Though she has been working for years, she's always stayed just under the radar of true stardom, despite a 1995 marriage to Nicolas Cage
Rosanna Arquette has acted extensively in film and television, and has come to be acknowledged as an actress of rare depth and scope. Arquette was born in New York City, New York. Her parents, Lewis Arquette
, an actor, and Brenda Denaut
(née Nowak), an acting teacher and therapist, had 4 other children: Richmond Arquette
The youngest of five, David Arquette was born in Winchester, Virginia and is part of the illustrious Arquette family, whose work has spread over several generations. His parents, Lewis Arquette
, an actor, and Brenda Denaut
(née Nowak), an acting teacher and therapist, had 4 other children: Rosanna Arquette
David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York City, New York, USA. His father, Amram Ducovny
, was a writer and publicist who was from a family of Jewish immigrants (from Ukraine and Poland), and worked for the American Jewish Committee. His mother, Margaret (Miller), was a Scottish-born school teacher...
Adrien Nicholas Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the only child of retired history professor Elliot Brody and Hungarian-born photographer Sylvia Plachy
. He accompanied his mother on assignments for the Village Voice, and credits her with making him feel comfortable in front of the camera...
Zach Braff was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, to Anne Hutchinson (Maynard), a clinical psychologist, and Harold Irwin Braff, a trial attorney. His father is from a Jewish family (from Russia and Austria), while Zach's mother, who is from a Yankee family with deep roots in New England, converted to Judaism...
Elizabeth Banks was born Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, a small city in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts near the New York border, on February 10, 1974. She is the daughter of Ann (Wallace), who worked in a bank, and Mark P. Mitchell, a factory worker. Elizabeth describes herself as having been seen as a "goody two-shoes" in her youth who was nominated for the local Harvest Queen...
Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood was born September 7, 1987, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her father, Ira David Wood III
, is a theatre actor, writer and director, and her mother, Sara Wood
, is an actress and acting coach. She has two older brothers--Dana Wood
, a musician, and Ira David Wood IV
, who has also acted...
Rosie Alice Huntington-Whiteley is best known for her work as a Victoria's Secrets lingerie model and as a movie actress. She has appeared in five Victoria's Secret Fashion shows from 2006 through 2010 and became a Victoria's Secret Angel in November 2009. She has appeared on the cover of international fashion magazines including Vogue...
Emmanuelle Béart was born August 14, 1963, in Gassin, France. She lived with her mother, brothers, and sister on a farm not far from Saint-Tropez in Provence (southern France), because her father, singer and poet Guy Béart
, did not want his children to be affected by the glamour world of Paris...
Hailee Steinfeld was born on December 11, 1996 in Tarzana, California, to Cheri (Domasin), an interior designer, and Peter Steinfeld
, a personal fitness trainer. She has a brother, Griffin. Her uncle is Jake Steinfeld
, a fitness trainer, and her great-uncle is actor Larry Domasin
. Her father is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and her mother's ancestry is Filipino...
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe was born on July 23, 1989 in Fulham, London, England, to casting agent Marcia Gresham
(née Jacobson) and literary agent Alan Radcliffe
. His father is from a Northern Irish Protestant background, while his mother was born in South Africa, to a Jewish family (from Lithuania, Poland...
Trachtenberg grew up in Brooklyn and started her acting career young; she began appearing in commercials at the age of 3. She continued to act and dance through her school years, making regular television appearances from the age of 10. She landed a recurring role in the kids' TV show The Adventures of Pete & Pete
and starred in Harriet the Spy
The talented Milena "Mila" Markovna Kunis was born to a Jewish family in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, USSR (now independent Ukraine). Her mother, Elvira, is a physics teacher, her father, Mark Kunis, is a mechanical engineer, and she has an older brother named Michael. After attending one semester of college between gigs...
Shia Saide LaBeouf was born in Los Angeles, California, to Shayna (Saide) and Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf, and is an only child. His mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while his father has Cajun (French) ancestry. His parents are divorced. He started his career by doing stand-up comedy around places in his neighborhood...
Mélanie Laurent was born in Paris, France. She is the daughter of Annick, a ballet teacher, and Pierre, a voice actor, who is most recognized for the French version of The Simpsons
. She has a younger brother, Mathieu, and has both Sephardi Jewish (from Tunisia) and Ashkenazi Jewish (from Poland) ancestry...
Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt was born February 17, 1981 in Los Angeles, California, to Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. Joseph was raised in a Jewish family with his late older brother, Dan Gordon-Levitt
, who passed away in October 2010. His parents worked for the Pacifica Radio station KPFK-FM and his maternal grandfather...
French actress and model Eva Gaëlle Green was born on July 6, 1980, in Paris, France. Her father, Walter Green
, is a dentist who appeared in the 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar
. Her mother, Marlène Jobert
, is an actress turned children's book writer. Eva's mother was born in Algeria, of Sephardi Jewish heritage (during that time...
Ben Foster was born October 29, 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Gillian Kirwan and Steven Foster, restaurant owners. His younger brother is actor Jon Foster
. His paternal grandparents were from Russian Jewish families that immigrated to Massachusetts (his grandfather became a prominent judge in Boston), while his mother's family is from Maryland...
Dianna Elise Agron was born in Savannah, Georgia, to parents Ronald and Mary Agron. She grew up in a middle class family, in Savannah, before moving to Texas, and later, San Francisco, California, due to her father's career as a general manager for Hyatt. Dianna and her brother, Jason, were raised Jewish, and she graduated from Burlingame High School with honors...
Rachel Bilson was born in Los Angeles, to Janice (Stango), a sex therapist, and Danny Bilson
. Her father is Ashkenazi Jewish and her mother is of Italian descent. She began acting while still at Notre Dame High School. She graduated high school in 1999 and went to Grossmont College but dropped out after a year and was encouraged to pursue a career in acting by her father...
Alison Brie was born in Hollywood, California, to Joanne (Brenner), who worked at a non-profit child care agency, and Charles Terry Schermerhorn, a musician and entertainment reporter. Her mother is Jewish and her father has Scottish, Dutch, English, German, and Norwegian ancestry. Brie grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South Pasadena...
Kat Dennings was born Katherine Victoria Litwack in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, to Ellen (Schatz), a speech therapist and poet, and Gerald Litwack, a molecular pharmacologist. She is the youngest of five children. Her family is of Russian Jewish descent. Kat was predominantly home-schooled...
The bushy-browed, cigar-smoking wise-cracker with the painted-on moustache and stooped walk was the leader of The Marx Brothers
. With one-liners that were often double entendres, Groucho never cursed in any of his performances and said he never wanted to be known as a dirty comic. With a great love of music and singing (The Marx Brothers
started as a singing group)...
As a kid trying to negotiate his way through various gang territories to a floating crap game or a new pool hall where he was not yet known as a hustler, Leonard (Chico) Marx learned to fake several accents. Because he later employed an Italian accent in the Marx Brothers' act, people assumed his name was pronounced "Cheeko." Instead...
With the big, poofy, curly red hair, a top hat, and a horn, the lovable mute was the favorite of the Marx Brothers. Though chasing woman was a favorite routine of his in the movies, Harpo was a devoted father and husband. He adopted the mute routine in vaudeville and carried it over to the films. Harpo...
The son of a saloonkeeper, Jack Benny (born Benny Kubelsky) began to study the violin at the age six, and his "ineptness" at it later become his trademark (in reality, he was a very accomplished player). When given the opportunity to play in live theatre professionally, Benny quit school and joined vaudeville...
Leslie Howard Stainer was born in London, to Lilian (Blumberg) and Ferdinand "Frank" Steiner. His father was a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and his English mother was of German Jewish, and mostly English, descent. Leslie went to Dulwich College. After school, he worked as a bank clerk until the outbreak of World War I...
Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and eyes...
In 1969, Zeppo Marx patented a wristwatch for cardiac patients, which sounded an alarm if the wearer went into cardiac arrest. One of Zeppo's best movie appearances was in Horse Feathers
, where he sang "Everyone Says I Love You," displaying a fine tenor voice used in the Marx Brothers' stage hits.
As a youth Peter Lorre ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for several years and acting in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, until Fritz Lang
cast him as the psychopathic child killer in M
Two-time Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas was one of America's finest actors. In addition to his two Oscars, he also won a Tony Award and an Emmy. Douglas would enjoy cinema immortality if for no other reason than his being the man who made Greta Garbo
laugh in Ernst Lubitsch
's classic comedy Ninotchka
, but he was much, much more...
Mel Blanc, known as "The Man of Thousand Voices" is regarded as the most prolific actor to ever work in Hollywood with over a thousand screen credits. He developed and performed nearly 400 distinct character voices with precision and a uniquely expressive vocal range. The legendary specialist from radio programs...
Milton Berle was born Milton Berlinger on July 12, 1908, in New York City. He was educated at New York Professional Children's School and began performing at age 5. His first stage appearance was in "Florodora" in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He appeared at the Palace Theater in New York in 1931, then in nightclubs and theaters...
Luise Rainer, the first thespian to win back-to-back Oscars, was born on January 12, 1910 in Dusseldorf, Germany, into a prosperous Jewish family. Her parents were Emilie (Königsberger) and Heinrich Rainer, a businessman. She took to the stage, and plied her craft on the boards in Germany. As a young actress...
Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lviv. Her parents were both from Jewish families. Hedwig had a calm childhood...
John Garfield was born Jacob Julius Garfinkle on the Lower East Side of New York City, to Hannah Basia (Margolis) and David Garfinkle, who were Jewish immigrants from Zhytomyr (now in Ukraine). Jules was raised by his father, a clothes presser and part-time cantor, after his mother's death in 1920, when he was 7...