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Phoebe Ephron

Phoebe Ephron

The mother of four talented women writers, Phoebe Ephron was a full-time, professional writer with her own claims to success.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Phoebe Ephron

Phoebe (Wolkind) Ephron was born in the Bronx on January 26, 1914, to Louis Wolkind, a manufacturer, and Kate (Lautkin) Wolkind. She had one brother, Harold Wolkind. A graduate of James Monroe High School and Hunter College, she met Henry Ephron in 1933, while both were summer camp counselors. Shortly after, Henry Ephron proposed to her. “I expect to be a good playwright soon and I have no time for courtship,” he declared. “Let me read one of your plays,” replied his future wife. For nearly forty years, Phoebe and Henry Ephron were literary collaborators, cowriting successful Broadway plays and Hollywood films, and had four daughters, Nora, Delia, Amy, and Hallie. Their first play, Three’s a Family (1943), was based on the experiences raising their firstborn, Nora Ephron. Soon after, they moved to Los Angeles and cowrote the scripts for many major motion pictures, including There’s No Business Like Show Business, Carousel, and Captain Newman, M.D., which was nominated for an Academy Award. Desk Set, the 1957 movie starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, secured their screenwriting success.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Phoebe Ephron." (Viewed on November 29, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/19422>.

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