A lively comic actress with a talent for playing tomboys, Molly Picon brought Yiddish theater to a wider American audience. Picon began her acting career in vaudeville at the age of five, but it was her director/producer husband who drew her to Yiddish theater. He created the roles for which she was best loved: mischievous girls dressed as boys. Adapting to the times, Picon branched into radio and film, but kept her commitment to the Yiddish language despite her American audience’s trend toward assimilation. She acted in the first Yiddish play ever performed on Broadway and even insisted on performing in Yiddish on a 1932 tour of Palestine, where only Hebrew was spoken. Filming on location in Poland, on the eve of World War II, Picon captured a view of shtetl life soon to be erased by the Holocaust. Towards the end of her career, her role in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof helped introduce Yiddish culture to a new generation.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Molly Picon." (Viewed on June 13, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/picon-molly>.