Women of Valor


1st Public Performance

Molly Picon, 1898 - 1992

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One Woman Show

Molly grew up in a Philadelphia flat shared with her grandparents, mother, sister, and nine cousins. Her mother Clara supported the family by working as a seamstress at Kessler's Theater. She recognized her daughter's gift early in life and entered Molly in her first talent show at the age of five. On the way to the show, a drunk on the trolley car, seeing her dressed in one of her mother's beautifully crafted costumes, asked to see her act. She collected two dollars in coins for her preview performance. She also won the talent show's first prize: a five-dollar gold piece. When she arrived home, "Grandma nodded her head and said quietly, 'Clara, there are maybe five or six theaters in Philadelphia. Better you keep her on the trolley cars!'"

  1. "Grandma nodded her head..." Picon, Molly & Bergantini Grillo, Jean, Molly! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980)16.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Molly Picon - 1st Public Performance." (Viewed on April 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/picon/1st-public-performance>.