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Film

Lilli Palmer

Palmer became not only a prominent actor in numerous successful plays, films and television programs, but also a painter and an author of both fiction and non-fiction.

Carmel Myers

Carmel Myers acted in over seventy films, was an early television talk-show host, led a production company that packaged radio and television shows, held a patent for an electronic synchronizer that controlled studio lights, and imported and distributed French perfume. In a Hollywood that encouraged assimilation, she never denied she was Jewish.

Bette Midler

Humor is an extremely effective tool with which to observe human behavior. When the comic laughs at herself as well as at the foibles of her audience, she creates a connection between people and an opportunity to examine serious subjects in a funny manner. Important and forbidden topics receive airings. Bette Midler’s knowing smile, which rarely leaves her face, reminds her audience that a humorous perspective, on any and all subjects, offers catharsis alongside illumination.

Hanna Meron (Marron)

An only child, Hanna Meron was born in Berlin on November 23, 1923. She began her long acting career as a four-year-old child prodigy, appearing in children’s theater, radio plays and films, including Fritz Lang’s famous M (1931).

Elaine May

Elaine May, half of one of the most successful American comic teams of the 1950s and 1960s, became one of Hollywood’s first important female directors in the 1970s and 1980s. She has often combined her talents for acting and screenwriting with her role as director.

Fania Marinoff

Fania Marinoff was associated with one of the most vibrant artistic circles in the United States and Europe. She numbered among her friends writers such as Gertrude Stein, playwrights such as Eugene O’Neill, and artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe. Fania Marinoff and her husband, Carl Van Vechten, played a prominent role in the bohemian social and artistic life of New York, particularly of the Harlem Renaissance.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Marceline Loridan-Ivens is known around the world for the superb documentaries that she codirected with her husband, the Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens (1898–1989). But the earliest part of her career, as well as her most recent work, depart from the documentaries by providing very personal, profoundly moving reflections on her identity as a Jewish woman, and it is her latest film, A Birch Tree Meadow/La petite prairie aux bouleaux (2003), that both established her as a significant voice in Jewish cinema and inaugurated (at age 75!) a new career as a feature film maker.

Sonya Levien

Sara Opesken Levien (“Sonya” is the Russian diminutive, which she used) was born on December 25, 1888, to Julius and Fanny Opesken in Panimunik, formerly Russia, now Lithuania. (She altered the date later to 1898). By the time her father immigrated to the United States in 1891, she had two younger brothers, Arnold and Max. Sonya’s father changed his name to Levien, the name of the man who had helped him escape from Siberia, where he had been exiled for political activities, and in 1896 brought his family to New York. By the time Sonya, her parents, and her Russian-born brothers were naturalized in 1905, she had two more brothers, Nathan and Edward.

Sherry Lansing

Sherry Lee Heimann (Lansing) was born in Chicago on July 31, 1944. Her father, a real-estate agent, died of a heart attack when she was nine years old, leaving a thirty-two-year-old wife and two daughters, of whom Sherry was the elder by four and a half years. His widow declined the offer of his colleagues to help her by running his business and insisted on carrying it on by herself. This provided an excellent example of female independence for Sherry, who frequently accompanied her mother on her business rounds. Lansing graduated from Northwestern University and worked as a schoolteacher, model and actress (1970, in the films Loving and Rio Lobo). She joined MGM studios in 1973 and quickly moved up the corporate ladder.

Mariana Kroutoiarskaia

As a composer, music producer and supervisor, Mariana Kroutoiarskaia dedicated her entire life to music, film and television. Perhaps because she usually worked behind the scenes and was of small, delicate stature, she appears initially not to have been acknowledged by many people. But whoever came to know her better was usually overwhelmed by her energy, her love of life and her creative capacity.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Film." (Viewed on December 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/film>.

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