Film

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Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur made a career of playing formidable, opinionated women in movies and on television.

Eleanor Antin

Eleanor Antin explored issues of gender, race, and identity by taking on personae of various outsiders in her performance art, installation art, and films.

Celia Adler

Celia Adler won acclaim and success in the Yiddish theater world as a founding member of the Jewish Art Theater.

Shelley Winters

An actress who cared deeply about the world, Shelley Winters donated the Oscar she won for her role as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank to Otto Frank.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, Wendy Wasserstein not only won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heidi Chronicles, she became the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award.

Sophie Tucker

“The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas,” Sophie Tucker defied conventions about gender, age, weight, and ethnicity with her saucy comic banter and music.

Sylvia Blagman Syms

A jazz saloon singer with a gift for connecting with her audiences, Sylvia Blagman Syms continued performing despite ill health and was praised as one of the greats by performers that included Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s outsized personality, combined with her voice and acting talents, made her one of the most successful performers of the twentieth century.

Sophie Okonedo wins a Tony Award for “Raisin in the Sun”

June 8, 2014
"I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black." Tony Award winner Sophie Okonedo

Susan Sontag

Through her work as a literary and cultural critic, Susan Sontag called long-held assumptions and taboos into question.

Joan Micklin Silver

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.

Sylvia Sidney

In contrast to the helpless waif she played so perfectly on screen, in real life Sylvia Sidney was a strong, opinionated woman who was unafraid to challenge some of the top Hollywood directors of her time.

Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore was one of the top recording artists of the 1940s, with hits like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” before starting a new career in the 1970s as a talk show host who prized conversation over confrontation.
Girl Rising, 2013

Have you seen "Girl Rising?" This documentary is (rightfully) having a moment

Miriam Cantor-Stone

Some readers of Jewesses with Attitude might remember that almost a year ago, I wrote about the documentary film Girl Rising, which at the time was being shown here in Boston as Abby Mohr’s bat mitzvah project. I was frustrated that I couldn’t see the film at the time, so I was thrilled when Tara, JWA’s Director of Engagement and Social Media, posted on our Facebook that the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) would be screening a shortened version of the film. I made it a priority to go to this event—not only to make up for missing it last year, but also to finally see what I’ve been hearing so much about since the making of this film.

Girl Rising tells the stories of girls in developing countries fighting to earn the educations they need and deserve. What’s so powerful about the film is that it is truly a docu-drama. Each story focuses on a young woman who worked with a writer from her country to present her story the way she wanted it told.

Topics: Women's Rights, Film

Madeline Kahn

Madeline Kahn acted in dramas and musicals on stage, film, and television, but she was best known for her comedic roles as Mel Brooks’s favorite female lead.

Lillian Roth

While Lillian Roth’s career as an actress and musician was derailed by her alcoholism and mental illness, the painful story of her life made her autobiography an international bestseller.

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers carved a place for herself among the Hollywood elite as a comedian and fashion commentator for whom no subject was ever taboo.

Gilda Radner

A gifted comedian, Gilda Radner made a name for herself as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live.

Carmel Myers

Carmel Myers acted in over seventy films and led a production company that packaged TV and radio shows, but her most lasting contribution to Hollywood may have been her popularization of the idea of A-list and B-list celebrities.

Bette Midler

Unapologetically bawdy, Bette Midler used elements from earlier brassy entertainers like Sophie Tucker in her comedy and music, but with a style that was all her own.

Bertha Kalich

A distinguished performer, Bertha Kalich performed 125 roles in seven languages and became the first actress to make the transition from Yiddish theater to mainstream American drama in film, radio, and on stage.

Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday won an Academy Award for her performance as the not-so-dumb blonde in Born Yesterday, a role she fought hard to play.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman displayed courage not only in her writing of powerful and controversial plays like The Children’s Hour, but in her public refusal to name colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Goldie Hawn

As an actress, Goldie Hawn became known for playing dumb blondes, but behind the camera, she was determined to fulfill her vision as an executive producer and director.

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron mined her most painful experiences to create brilliant comedies like Heartburn and When Harry Met Sally.
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