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Fanny E. Holtzmann

Fanny E. Holtzmann made waves as a lawyer for stars of Broadway and Hollywood as well as luminaries of world politics such as the Romanoffs. Holtzmann was inspired to study law by her grandfather, a Talmud scholar, and she took night classes at Fordham University’s law school while working for a theatrical law firm. She was the only woman in the graduating class of 1922. In her law practice, she represented clients including Noel Coward, Fred Astaire, and George Bernard Shaw. She found Anna and the King of Siam for her client Gertrude Lawrence and persuaded Rodgers and Hammerstein to turn it into a musical starring Lawrence. She also defended the Romanoff family in a libel lawsuit against MGM Studios in 1934. At the founding of the United Nations, she was the official counsel to Chiang Kai-Shek, representative of the Republic of China. During WWII, she helped fund efforts to rescue Jews from Europe, and after the State of Israel was founded, she aided various causes supporting the state. In 1976, her nephew Edward Berkman wrote a biography of her, The Lady and the Law: The Remarkable Story of Fanny Holtzman.

More on Fanny E. Holtzmann
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Brooklyn, New York
Date of Death
February 6, 1980

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fanny E. Holtzmann." (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/holtzmann-fanny>.


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