Joan MicklinSilver

Joan Micklin Silver bucked Hollywood assumptions about what made a successful film, becoming a critically acclaimed director of independent films with Jewish themes like Hester Street and Crossing Delancey. Silver taught music and wrote plays before turning her hand to writing educational films, going on to direct several of them and win awards. When her attempts to break into the Hollywood studio industry failed, Silver wrote and directed her own film, with her husband raising money and serving as producer. The result was 1975’s Hester Street, which grossed $5 million in the US and earned several award nominations. Silver made several more movies, both independently and with studio backing, such as Between the Lines, before writing and directing Crossing Delancey in 1988. Throughout her career, Silver alternated between directing movies and plays, including A…My Name is Alice, as well as a radio series for NPR that was coproduced by the Yiddish Book Center.


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Joan Micklin Silver couldn't interest a Hollywood studio in doing a film about early Eastern European immigrants to New York, which would incorporate some Yiddish. So she wrote, directed and co-produced Hester Street (1975) herself.

Date of Birth

Omaha, NV
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Joan Micklin Silver." (Viewed on April 20, 2021) <>.


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