“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.
Arthur will probably always be best known for portraying liberal Maude Findlay, the “women’s libber” who stuck it to Archie Bunker on television’s All in the Family and then dominated her own situation comedy, Maude, throughout the 1970s. Arthur’s imperious and controversial Maude left a lasting imprint on American television and feminism.
Cora Baird was half of the world-renowned Bil & Cora Baird Marionettes.
For a generation of Americans, Gertrude Berg embodied Jewish motherhood in a series of radio, television, stage, and film performances. She is best remembered as the creative force behind the Goldbergs, a fictitious Jewish family who lived in an apartment at 1038 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. In addition to her matriarchal public persona, Berg was also a one of the first American women to work as a writer and producer of radio and television situation comedy.
An exception in the entertainment industry, which is dominated by brash individuals in their twenties and thirties, Berman is a thoughtful fortyish mother of twins, best known for her work on Broadway and for bringing positive portrayals of women to television. She is also an entertainment executive renowned for bringing stability to desperately unstable situations.
A beautiful and accomplished stage and screen actress, Blondell was born on August 30, 1906 (some accounts say 1909) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Ruth Hagy Brod was a versatile and peripatetic career woman who worked for nearly fifty years as a journalist, publicist, literary agent, television host, and government antipoverty official.
Joyce Brothers was the second person and only woman to win the top prize on the popular television show The $64,000 Question. She became a popular psychologist and talk show host. Brothers conformed to normative understandings of 1950s womanhood but, unlike others, she gave advice about taboo topics such as sexuality and menopause.
Peggy Charren, founder of Action for Children’s Television (ACT), took on the burgeoning television industry of the 1970s and won.
International actor Lili Darvas won acclaim in her adopted country, the United States, on stage, in films, and on television. Born in Budapest on April 10, 1902, to Alexander and Berta (Freiberger) Darvas, both of whom were Jewish, she was educated at the Budapest Lyceum. She made her professional debut at age twenty, playing Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Magyar Szinhas in Budapest. Married to one of Hungary’s outstanding playwrights, Ferenc Molnar, Darvas appeared in a range of modern and classical works and became one of Budapest’s leading actors. Molnar, inspired by her talent, created a series of sparkling plays for her, including Riviera, Olympia, and The Girl from Trieste. In 1926, Darvas joined the acting troupe of the German impresario Max Reinhardt, even though she had learned to speak German only two years earlier, by reciting classical German verse plays for hours at a time.
“I do not discuss my age, height, weight, or other vital statistics. Other than that, shoot. I tolerate any kind of nonsense up until six o’clock. After that, I just want to be admired.” In typical Selma Diamond fashion, the witty, wisecracking (with a voice she once described as sounding like Brillo), longtime comedy writer/actor held her own when warding off nosy interviewers. Best known as the crotchety, chainsaw-voiced bailiff Selma Hacker on television’s Night Court from 1984 to 1985, Diamond embodied in her writing and her comedy routines the quintessential cynical, jaded character. Penning skits and jokes for some of the early greats of radio and television, she became one of the most famous and accomplished female comedy writers of her time.
Called the Earth Mother of Hippiedom by fellow band member John Phillips, Cass Elliot brought charm and vocal muscle to a stormy and transitional period of American music history. In flowery print dresses of the mid-1960s, made tentlike to accommodate her great size, Elliot, born Ellen Naomi Cohen on February 19, 1941, in Baltimore, grew to fame with the tightly harmonic vocal group the Mamas and the Papas. During their three-year reign at the top of popular music charts, the Mamas and the Papas melded folk and psychedelic styles in a quartet whose half-dozen remembered songs still evoke a time prior to the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, when hippie ideologies of communal living and relaxed standards of dress and demeanor had not yet divided the recording industry or the nation along fierce political lines. In 1966, the Mamas and the Papas made their television debut, singing “California Dreamin’” on the variety show The Hollywood Palace. It was broadcast to American soldiers in Vietnam, and host Arthur Godfrey sent “our boys” a message of hope.
For some two decades, journalist Barbara Frum was one of the best known people in Canada.
Gamlielit became famous within the theater and beyond for her performances of songs that called for acting and singing with the Yemenite-style pronunciation of the Hebrew letters het and ayin, among them: “Tango Temani,” “Elimelekh,” “Gedalyah Reva Ish,” “Be-Karmei Teman,” “Ha-Yeled Nissim” and “Ha-Tender Nosea.”
More than any other artist in the mid-1970s, Annabelle Gamson initiated unprecedented attention to the history of American modern dance. Her musically inspired, passionate performances of dances, choreographed by Isadora Duncan and others in the early twentieth century, brought about a resurgence of interest in Duncan’s work and her legacy, modern dance.
Therese Giehse, who was far from possessing contemporary ideals of beauty, pursued her desire to be an actress with diligence and dedication.
Jennie Goldstein was one of the foremost Yiddish theater tragediennes, beloved by the public and acclaimed by critics for her ability to make audiences cry and for her outstanding voice.
Dorothy Lerner Gordon—musician, broadcaster, author—dedicated her talents to the entertainment and education of children and young people.
Elinor Guggenheimer first toured New York City day nurseries as a member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies during the 1930s. Horrified by what she saw, Guggenheimer began a lifelong crusade for improved and standardized child care facilities across the country, in addition to her work promoting women in public office.
Goldie Hawn was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, on November 21, 1945, to Laura (Stienhoff) Hawn, a dance school owner and jewelry wholesaler, and Edward Rutledge Hawn, a professional musician. Hawn was raised Jewish although, she notes, “not in a strictly religious atmosphere,” and describes a happy home life. She began dancing at age three, and danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s Nutcracker chorus at age ten. Hawn recalls being asked to dance on point for a friend’s bar mitzva. The music started, and she slipped and fell—twice. Succeeding on her third attempt, “I realized I was probably the little girl who was going to make it.”
Frieda Barkin Hennock was the first woman to serve on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where she became the champion of noncommercial educational television. As a Jewish female of foreign birth, she endured a lifetime of undeserved—largely sexist—attacks for everything from excessive aggressiveness to innuendoes of immoral personal conduct. At the same time, she did not hesitate to take advantage of her sparkling feminine charm, sense of high fashion, and occasional flood of tears to manipulate a male-dominated society. As a committed Jew, Hennock also used her contacts with the Jewish community for professional advancement. She said daily prayers and was fluent in Yiddish. She was a devoted and supportive member of her extended family.
For Rokhl Holzer, a riveting recital artiste and unforgettable star of the Yiddish stage, acting the part was never enough. She lived and breathed each role, mesmerizing audiences in Poland, Lithuania, Australia, Israel, USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden with her ability to transform herself into any character she portrayed. Holzer was also an adept and adored director of the Yiddish theater, a true team worker who brought out the best in all with whom she shared the stage.
Frances Rappaport Horwich was born on July 16, 1908 in Ottawa, Ohio, and was the daughter of Samuel (b. c. 1868) and Rosa (Gratz, b. c. 1869) Rappaport. Samuel immigrated to the United States in 1884 from Austria and Rosa in 1885 from Russia. They had five children: Henry (b. c. 1895), Mary B. (b. c. 1898), Maggie F. (b. c. 1903), Joseph N. (b. c. 1905), and Frances (b. 1908). After completing high school in her hometown, Horwich earned her bachelor’s degree in 1929 from the University of Chicago. She received her M.A. from Teachers’ College at Columbia University in 1933 and her doctorate in education from Northwestern University in 1942.
One of the most famous and most popular French actresses of her generation, Isabelle Anne Huppert was born on March 16, 1953, to a well-to-do family. Her father Raymond was an industrialist, and her mother Annick an English teacher. Huppert is the youngest of their five children, four daughters and one son, all of whom took up professional or artistic careers: Jacqueline (b. September 30,1944) is an academic scholar; Elisabeth (b. June 20,1948), a former director, actress and writer; Caroline (b. October 28,1950), a script-writer and director. Rémi is an author. With her gifted siblings, Huppert spent a protected childhood in a residential neighborhood near Paris. After high school at the St-Cloud Gymnasium, Huppert studied Russian at university and earned a B.A. Encouraged by her parents, she went on to study theater at the Versailles Conservatoire and received a first prize there. She spent one year at the famed Rue Blanche theater school and then entered the prestigious Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique. Thus began a theatrical career that Huppert has never given up, despite her demanding work for the cinema.