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.
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.
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.
Actress Helen Menken’s greatest contribution to Broadway history was her work as theatrical producer for the innovative wartime effort Stage Door Canteen, offering entertainment to servicemen and women.
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.
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.
Gertrude Berg was the lead actress and driving force behind The Goldbergs, which successfully made the leap from radio plays to national television and brought a Jewish family into mainstream American homes.
Vicki Baum jokingly referred to herself as “a first-class second–rate writer,” but she created a new genre for popular fiction when she wrote the novel that inspired the stage and screen classic Grand Hotel.