Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Jewish Names and Hollywood

December 20, 2011 10:23 am 3 comments

President Ronald Reagan with actor Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens. Photo: White House.

As kids we appeared in Winnipeg’s Hebrew Theater. The comic-writer and director David Steinberg went on to fame in Hollywood. At one time he held the record as guest hosting the Johnny Carson Show more than anyone else. His career includes aid in writing and directing such television mega hits as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Friends and Designing Women. David has written The Book of David –much recommended.

Alvin Blye a singing sensation of the Hebrew Theater went on to become the producer of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. We had some interesting theater in Winnipeg but coming to the U.S. opened new horizons.

David Steinberg was one of the first actors to retain his Jewish name. Barbra Streisand was another. David was a close friend of a budding young actor, Elliot Gould and his then wife, Barbara Streisand. We brought Barbra to a night club in Winnipeg, it was at the start of her career. Her gig didn’t work out.

Barbra also resisted the temptation to change her name despite the urging of agents and producers. We thought you’d like to reminisce–here are some who did.

1. Asa Yolsen became Al Jolsen
2. Milton Berlinger became Milton Berle
3. Fanny Borach became Fanny Brice
4. Bernard Schwartz became Tony Curtis
5. Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan
6. Ethel Zimmerman became Ethel Merman
7. Elliot Goldstein (David’s basket ball buddy) became Elliot Gould
8. Israel Baline became Irving Berlin
9. Sephanie Federkrewcz became Stephanie Powers
10. Belle Silverman became Beverly Sills
11. Betty Joan Perske became Lauren Bacall
12. Nathan Birnbaum became George Burns
13. David Daniel Kaminsky became Danny Kaye
14. Edward Israel Iskowitz became Eddie Cantor
15. Benjamin Kubelsky became Jack Benny
16. Michael Orowitz became Michael Landon
17. Allen Stewart Konigsberg became Woody Allen
18. Isser Danielovitch Demsky became Kirk Douglas
19. Sophia Kalish became Sophie Tucker (according to the World  Almanac)
20. Joseph Gottleib became Joey Bishop
21. Natasha Gurdin became Natalie Wood
22. Lyova Geisman became Lee Grant
23. Joyce Penelope Frankenburg became Jane Seymour
24. Joseph Levitch became Jerry Lewis
25. Melvin Kaminsky became Mel Brooks
26. Elaine Berlin became Elaine May
27. Michael Peschkowsky became Mike Nichols
28. Gerald Silberman became Gene Wilder
29. Jacob Cohen became Rodney Dangerfield
30. Joan Molinsky became Joan Rivers
31. Borge Rosenbaum became Victor Borge
32. Amos Jacob became Lee J. Cobb
33. Lazlo Lowenstein became Peter Lorre
34. Emanual Goldenberg became Edward G. Robinson
35. Judith Tuvim became Judy Holliday
36. Ira Grossel became Jeff Chandler
37. Melvyn Hesselberg became Melvyn Douglas
38. Ivo Levi became Yves Montand
39. Simone-Henriette Kaminker became Simone Signoret
40. Marion Levy became Paulette Goddard
41. Karen Blanche Ziegler became Karen Black
42. Ella Geisman became June Allyson
43.Sidney Leibowitz became Steve Lawrence
44. Abraham Isaac Arshawsky became Artie Shaw
45. Joe Katz became Joel Grey
46. Paul Rubenfeld became Pee-Wee Herman
47. Julius Garfinkle became John Garfield
48. Leonard Rosenberg became Tony Randall
49. David Kotkin became David Copperfield
50. Howard Cohen became Howard Cosell
51 Bernice Frankel became Bea Arthur
53. Albert Einstein became Albert Brooks
54. My Greenwich neighbor Beryl (Bert) Jacobson became Bert Parks
55. Alan Kuperschmidt became Al Kooper and with a little more luck…..
56. Joe Leiberman could have become Vice President

It’s not what in a name that makes you succeed, it’s your ability to Smile. Then the whole world is your stage.

3 Comments

  • Виваком терориризират клиенти

  • was David Steinberg from the north end or south end in Winnipeg?

    another major export from Winnipeg was John Hirsch of the Manitoba Theatre Center. i grew up on his productions. amazing creativity.

  • I don’t think most people would have pegged “Streisand” as a Jewish name necessarily. It doesn’t sound like anything in particular. Germanic, I suppose. Probably too long for a marquee back in the day.

    Ethel Zimmerman (Ethel Merman), Sephanie Federkrewcz (Stephanie Powers), Natasha Gurdin (Natalie Wood), Ivo Levi (Yves Montand), Karen Blanche Ziegler (Karen Black), and Ella Geisman (June Allyson) – these people were not and are not Jewish.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    For the second time, Israel will host the Jaffa Jazz Festival, according to Broadwayworld.com. The festival will unite 43 Israeli musicians and eight international artists for a three-day event. The program will include a special performance by an ensemble of top jazz students studying at Belgium’s Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Belgrade Music Academy in Serbia, Israel’s Rimon School of Music and the jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. There will also be a jazz show for children led by Israeli saxophonist […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    JNS.org – As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 13. “Driving a race car is not like any other sport,” Day told JNS.org. “You are actually almost flying […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    The writer of a popular children’s television series will premiere an off-Broadway solo show called “Not That Jewish,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written and performed by Monica Piper — the Emmy Award-winning showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” — the show is described as “the autobiographical telling of a Jew…’ish’ girl’s life.” “Not That Jewish” explores Piper’s Bronx upbringing in a show-business family, her comedy-club debut and her “almost” night with former Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. “Audiences can expect to leave laughed-out, a little teary-eyed and […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scotland’s Celtic soccer club will fly to Israel with the same private jet Madonna used while on tour, The Scotsman reported on Monday. According to the report, the team is heading for the Jewish state to compete against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night, and will be transported in the customized, luxurious Boeing 757-200 that the pop icon used in New Zealand for her six-month Rebel Heart tour, which wrapped up in March. The plane is on loan from Greece-based GainJet Aviation and can accommodate 62 passengers. The […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Revealed: Actor Jonah Hill Officiated at Wedding of Fellow Jewish Star, Singer Adam Levine

    Jewish actor Jonah Hill revealed on Wednesday morning that he had officiated the wedding of good friend and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. The “War Dogs” actor, 32, was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Show when the conversation turned to Levine’s July 2014 wedding to Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo. Hill said that after he was asked to officiate the nuptials, he started getting worried about the type of speech he was going to deliver. “I’m writing all these things, and then I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Music Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish Indie Rocker Dedicates New ‘Refugee’ Track to Grandfather Who Fled Nazi Persecution

    Jewish indie singer Ezra Furman released a song on Wednesday that he said was dedicated to his grandfather, who escaped Nazi persecution. Furman told the website Consequence of Sound that the new track, called “The Refugee,” is his “first song entirely concerned with my Jewish background and present, a song dedicated to my grandfather who fled the Nazis, as well as to all of the refugees desperate for a home today.” He added, “May all the wanderers find the homes they seek, and […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Uncanny Toy Replica of Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Auctioning on eBay for Over $1,600

    Uncanny Toy Replica of Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Auctioning on eBay for Over $1,600

    An artist is auctioning on eBay a Wonder Woman doll he purchased and repainted to create an uncanny replica of Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who will play the superhero in an upcoming 2017 spin-off film. Noel Cruz purchased a 19-inch action figure of the Batman v Superman star and replaced its plastic hair with a new wig, and added a material belt and Princess Diana’s lasso, according to the blog Io9, which first reported on Cruz’s work. He then painted the doll to make it look like the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture British Jewish Star Daniel Radcliffe Hopes New Movie About Neo-Nazis Will Spark Dialogue to Defeat Antisemitic Rhetoric

    British Jewish Star Daniel Radcliffe Hopes New Movie About Neo-Nazis Will Spark Dialogue to Defeat Antisemitic Rhetoric

    Racist and antisemitic rhetoric supported by white supremacists can be defeated by opening channels for meaningful dialogue, British-Jewish actor Daniel Radcliffe said, ahead of the release of his new film, in which he plays an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a neo-Nazi group. “[White supremacist ideologies] have more power the less we talk about them. So hopefully this does start a kind of conversation, which would be a tiny part of a much larger conversation that needs to happen,” the actor, 27, told The […]

    Read more →