Celia Adler

Celia Adler won acclaim and success in the Yiddish theater world as a founding member of the Jewish Art Theater. Born to a family of Yiddish actors, Adler appeared on stage for the first time at six months and was acting by age four. In 1918, she joined Maurice Schwartz’s Yiddish Art Theater, known for melodrama and a tight schedule of as many as 35 plays per season, heavily aided by prompters. Adler and Jacob Ben Ami finally persuaded Schwartz to produce a serious play, Farvorfen Vinkel, a popular and critical hit, but when Schwartz returned to melodrama, Adler, Ben Ami, and others left to found the Jewish Art Theater in 1919. The short-lived troupe was hailed by Theatre Magazine as the high point in the development of Yiddish theater. Adler continued to perform both serious and melodramatic roles on stage and screen and even tried her hand at directing plays. After WWII, she entertained America troops with a mix of English and Yiddish songs. At age 57, she performed in A Flag is Born with Marlon Brando, a play scheduled for a month that instead ran for thirty weeks. Her last film was Naked City, in 1948.


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Actress and theater director, Celia Adler (1889-1979).

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death
Actress, Theater Director

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Celia Adler." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/adler-celia>.


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