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Directors

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.

Zaharirah Charifai

Zaharirah Charifai is a stage and screen actress and director.

Shulamit Bat-Dori

Upon her arrival in Palestine in 1923, nineteen-year-old Mita Gutgeld tried her hand at house plastering, tractor driving—and writing plays. As Shulamith Bat Dori, she pioneered the kibbutz theater and staged major theatrical performances which, at the beginning of the 1950s, were attended by ten percent of the country’s population.

Michal Bat-Adam

Winner of several Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress awards from the Israel Institute of Cinema, the multi-talented Michal Bat Adam was the first Israeli woman to direct a feature film.

Stella Adler

At Stella Adler’s death in 1992, Robert Brustein wrote in The New Republic, “Stella Adler’s death … represents a major loss in the pantheon of theater greats. Through the strength of her convictions, the integrity of her character, and the brilliance of her mind, Adler embodied the art of the dramatic profession and remained an influential figure throughout a career that spanned most of the century.”

Lina Abarbanell

Abarbanell’s success lay in lighter musical fare and operetta. Composers such as Oscar Straus, Franz Lehár, and Edmund Eysler wrote for her expressive soubrette voice. She made about twenty recordings in 1903 and 1904, only four of which appear to have survived. In 1905, Heinrich Conried, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, invited her to sing the role of Hänsel and to perform at his Irving Place Theater, where she delighted his German-speaking audiences.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Directors." (Viewed on October 26, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/directors>.

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