A musical play based on the early years of actor Paul Muni.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Hopscotch (1980)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Grounded with a desk job by incompetent superiors, a clever CIA agent retires and writes a tell all memoir that will embarrass his bosses, prompting him to go on the run and elude them.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Sam Waterston
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

For the first time in history a woman is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she becomes a friendly rival to a liberal associate.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Walter Matthau, Jill Clayburgh, Barnard Hughes
Kotch (1971)
Certificate: GP Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Avoiding to settle in a nursing home, Joseph Kotcher, a retired salesman, is obliged to leave his son's family. He embarks on a road trip during which he strikes up a friendship with a ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Lemmon
Stars: Walter Matthau, Deborah Winters, Felicia Farr
House Calls (1978)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Charley is a surgeon who's recently lost his wife; he embarks on a tragicomic romantic quest with one woman after another until he meets up with Ann, a singular woman, closer to his own age... See full summary »

Director: Howard Zieff
Stars: Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson, Art Carney
Buddy Buddy (1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Paula Prentiss
A New Leaf (1971)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Henry Graham lives the life of a playboy. When his lawyer tells him one day that his lifestyle has consumed all his funds, he needs an idea to avoid climbing down the social ladder. So he intends to marry a rich woman and - murder her.

Director: Elaine May
Stars: Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Jack Weston
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Nahum Favel Weissenfreund
Hildy Brooks ...
Bella
...
Salche Weissenfreund
...
Sol Wurtzel
Robert Harris
...
Paul Muni (adult)
...
Joseph Weisenfreund
...
Zelda
...
Munya, age 7
...
Boris Thomashevsky
Barry Robins ...
Munya, age 14
Edit

Storyline

A musical play based on the early years of actor Paul Muni.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on book | See All (1) »


Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 February 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Actor, the Paul Muni Story  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Final Hollywood Television Theater production. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Delightful, but no bio
24 September 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Jerome Lawrence worked with Paul Muni in the Broadway production of "Inherit the Wind", and their friendship led to Lawrence writing Muni's life story "Actor", one of the best show-biz biographies ever published. This 1978 TV musical is ostensibly a dramatisation of Lawrence's excellent book. Actually, this TV special "Actor, the Paul Muni Story" will tell you almost bupkis about Paul Muni's life or career ... but it's an enjoyable low-budget musical that celebrates the Jewish travelling players of Eastern Europe and the vital Yiddish theatres of Second Avenue in the early twentieth century. And it's a fun show.

The story is told in an ill-chosen flashback structure. Hollywood, 1936: Paul Muni (well-played by Michael Kidd) returns to his home with the Oscar he has just won for "The Story of Louis Pasteur". Muni's wife Bella (always at his side in real life) is strangely absent here, so he strikes up a conversation with his Mexican manservant. They discuss the distinction between the concepts of 'macho' and 'mensch'. This leads to the main story, which is supposedly about the childhood experiences of young Muni Weisenfreund ... but which is really about Muni's parents, who were itinerant entertainers. Herschel Bernardi and sweet Georgia Brown give the best performances of their career in "Actor".

It's been said that theatre is "a plank and a passion". Bernardi and Brown prove it here, performing several delightful musical numbers with minimal props but with maximum talent. The songs are pleasant but never quite top-notch: I especially enjoyed "Kunye Lemel", a novelty song about a stock character in Yiddish comedy. The Weisenfreunds are unable to make a decent living in Europe, so they bring their two young sons to New York and try to prosper in the Yiddish theatre. Young (Paul) Muni and his older brother Joseph are minor characters in "Actor", played by two insipid child actors.

The flashback ends rather abruptly, returning us to Michael Kidd (who, regrettably, is given no chance to display his own considerable song-and-dance talents in this musical) when the grown-up Paul Muni puts his Oscar on the shelf. This is a nice little show, but don't expect to learn anything about Paul Muni here. For that, I recommend Jerome Lawrence's book "Actor".


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?