The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Fran Lebowitz

b. October 27, 1950

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Fran Lebowitz until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of cultural commentator Fran Lebowitz in 2011 by Christopher Macsurak, via Wikimedia Commons.

Known as much for her signature men’s jackets, cowboy boots, and tortoiseshell glasses as for her stunning (and often scathing) social commentary, Fran Lebowitz has spent a lifetime critiquing cultural norms. Lebowitz earned a GED and worked several odd jobs before Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview Magazine in 1972. She began by covering “Best of the Worst” movies, then renamed her column “I Cover the Waterfront” and started offering cultural commentary on everything from fashion to the AIDS crisis, all with a trademark acid wit that made many consider her a successor to Dorothy Parker. She went on to work at Mademoiselle, and published two collections of her essays, Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981), before a long period of writer’s block set in. With her writing on hold, she turned to acting, playing Judge Janice Goldberg on Law & Order from 2001–2007 and acting in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street. Over time, she began writing again, and is currently working on a new collection of essays, Progress.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fran Lebowitz." (Viewed on September 23, 2023) <>.


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