Films & Kalich's Illness
Molly Picon, 1898 - 1992
"I had Yonkel for fifty-six years. Every corner of my life reminded me of that and made me empty inside. I didn't know how I could face the future."
In 1971, Picon returned with Kalich to Europe to film Hollywood's English version of the musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Although the Europe they remembered was irrevocably gone, they once again helped recreate a sense of shtetl life on the big screen. Kalich's health had already begun to decline and this was to be his last screen performance. Shortly after their return from Yugoslavia, Kalich fell gravely ill. A temporary recovery freed Picon to star in For Pete's Sake with Barbara Striesand. Soon after the filming was over, however, Yonkel suffered a relapse and Picon flew home from California to attend to her beloved husband. She spent the next three years nursing her dying husband. "I turned down every offer, and took a new role: Florence Nightingale." Kalich died of cancer on March 16, 1975.
- "I had Yonkel for fifty-six years..." Picon, Molly & Bergantini Grillo, Jean, Molly! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980) 289.
- "I turned down..." Picon, Molly & Bergantini Grillo, Jean, Molly! (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980) 279.