Tag Archives: Jewish Actors

Jew of the Week: Shelley Berman

Sheldon Leonard Berman (1925-2017) was born in Chicago. After serving in the navy during the Second World War, he went to study drama and theatre. Berman soon moved to New York in search of his big break, and in the mean time made a living as a taxi driver, dance instructor, speech therapist, and drug store worker. Failing to find success, Berman returned to Chicago and joined the Compass Players actors group. This group would transform into The Second City, an improv troupe that became one of the most influential in the world, eventually spawning Saturday Night Live, and many other hit shows and comedy clubs. In 1957, Berman started doing stand-up comedy and was soon signed to a record deal. His first three albums all went gold, and Berman won the first-ever Grammy for a comedy recording. With this, Berman launched an industry, making comedy albums popular and paving the way for countless future comedians. Berman starred on Broadway, and appeared on multiple TV shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The Twilight Zone, and MacGyver; as well as Friends, The King of Queens, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Grey’s Anatomy later in his career. Berman also appeared in 11 films, wrote three books, two plays, and numerous poems and TV scripts. For twenty years, he taught humour writing at the University of Southern California. Berman was famous for his clean, innocent jokes; for making the annoyances of everyday life hilarious. Great comedians like Steve Martin, Woody Allen, and Jerry Seinfeld followed in his footsteps, and credited him with both being an inspiration, and “changing modern stand-up”. Sadly, Berman passed away last month from complications related to Alzheimer’s. Berman left behind a daughter, and a wife to whom he was happily married for an incredible seventy years. This was the achievement he was most proud of, and said: “The love we have and the way it has grown, that’s what I’d like to be remembered for.”

Words of the Week

Humour uplifts the mind from a state of constricted consciousness to a state of expanded consciousness.
– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov

Jew of the Week: Doris Roberts

Doris Roberts, R.I.P (Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com)

Doris Roberts (Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com)

Doris May Green (1925-2016) was born in St. Louis and raised in the Bronx by her single mother and grandparents, who were of Russian-Jewish heritage. After her mother remarried, Doris took on her new stepfather’s last name: Roberts. She began acting as a child, and after studying journalism for a short time, went to acting school. In 1952, Roberts appeared on a TV show for the first time. She would make appearances on another four television shows before starring in her first film in 1961. Roberts went on to play roles in over 30 movies (four of which will be released later this year), and over 60 television programs, including Full House, Grey’s Anatomy, The King of Queens, Lizzie McGuire, Law & Order, Desperate Housewives, and Walker, Texas Ranger. However, she is undoubtedly most famous for her role as Marie Barone, the mother of Ray Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond – a role which brought her four Emmy Awards. Roberts was chosen among 100 women who tried out for the part, and helped to make the show one of the greatest sitcoms in TV history. Roberts also had a successful Broadway career spanning nearly twenty years. She has won a Screen Actors Guild Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sadly, Roberts passed away in her sleep earlier this week.

Words of the Week

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
– Albert Einstein