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July 31, 2011 12:01 am

Top 10 Greatest Jewish Male Film Actors (Living)

avatar by Shmuel Bruck

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Daniel Radcliffe at the film premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows in Alice Tully Center, New York City in November 2010. Photo: Joella Marano

In the arts in general, and in film particularly, Jews have contributed significantly through the years, embracing and taking their place among the pioneers of the film industry from the get-go. In recognition of this tradition and history we have compiled a list of the 10 greatest living Jewish male film actors. Although compiled in consultation with a number of industry experts, admittedly, the list is somewhat subjective and the criteria for ranking is loosely defined. Our purpose however is only to stimulate discussion and appreciation of the accomplishments of Jews in this field. The guidelines we have used for the compilation are as follows:

· Is the actor well-respected by industry professionals?

· What fee does the actor command per role? what is his annual income?

· Does the actor’s presence in a film routinely draw significant box-office results?

· Has the actor been recognized through receipt of noteworthy awards?

The list is comprised only of actors that are Jewish by standard Orthodox definition; those born to a Jewish mother or who have converted to Judaism. Last name, appearance, and Jewish family do not impact this list, so, no Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Michael Douglas or Ben Kingsley. Each actor’s appearance and ranking on the list is based solely on talent and achievement, and not on their level of Jewish practice, or their “Jewish-ness.”

Those who act in film but are perceived primarily as TV actors or personalities, even if they might otherwise fit on this list, are not included. (They might find themselves on the Top-10 Greatest Jewish Television Stars. Stay tuned.)

10. Daniel Radcliffe
When he began his career with a starring role in a two-part BBC television adaptation of Dickens’s David Copperfield, Radcliffe could not have known where his career would lead him. After seeing Radcliffe’s performance in the BBC show, casting directors chose him out of hundreds of auditions, to play the lead role in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” Born in West London in 1989, Radcliffe went on to play Harry Potter in the film’s hugely successful sequels. In 2009, he was ranked the wealthiest teenager in the UK. As of 2011, Radcliffe’s wealth is estimated at £28.5 million, making him wealthier than Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry of Wales. In 2010 he appeared as number five on Forbes’s highest-grossing actors list.

9. Gene Wilder
Born Jerome Silberman in 1933, Wilder began his career with a small role in the critically acclaimed classic “Bonnie & Clyde.” A year later he landed the role of Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’s comedic masterpiece “The Producers,” for which Wilder was nominated for an Academy Award. He has collaborated on several films with comedians Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, and has been nominated for two Oscars and two Golden Globes. The three comedy films with which he collaborated with Brooks have all been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for their cultural, historical or aesthetic significance and all have a place near the top of the American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Laughs list.

8. Harvey Keitel
Some say that Keitel was the actor who jump-started the careers of some of the 20th century’s greatest film directors. Starring in the first feature films of both Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino—and working along with them later in their careers—Keitel solidified a reputation of impeccable taste and a unique eye for great directors. Born in Brooklyn in 1939, Harvey Keitel played several Jews in many popular films, including Mickey Cohen in “Bugsy,” The Wolf in “Pulp Fiction” and Harry Houdini in “Fairy Tale: A True Story.” Certainly an underappreciated actor, Keitel’s biggest recognition came in the form of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his performance in “Bugsy” and an Australian Film Institute Award for his role in Jane Campion’s haunting “The Piano.” Despite having little award recognition, Keitel has been a favorite among critics and is consistently regarded as one of the best actors of his generation.

7. Kirk Douglas
Born Issur Danielovitch in 1916, Kirk Douglas’s film career has spanned 65 years. He was nominated for three Academy Awards and has been hailed as a legend for his generation and generations-to-come. In 1996 Douglas received an Honorary Oscar for “for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.” In 1991, he received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award for his lifetime contribution to enriching American culture through motion pictures. He is number 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of the Greatest American Screen Legends (male).

6. Richard Dreyfuss
Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1947 to Jewish parents, Dreyfuss burst onto the big screen with starring roles in “American Graffiti,” for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, “Jaws,” for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” In 1977, at age 30, Dreyfuss became the youngest person to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Whether playing a music teacher in the coming-of-age-film “Mr. Holland’s Opus” or vice-president Dick Cheney in “W.” Dreyfuss always disappears into his character seamlessly.

5. Harrison Ford
Born in 1942 to a Catholic father and a Jewish mother in Chicago, Ford began his career in such acclaimed films as “American Graffiti” before starring as one of cinema’s most revered characters, Han Solo, in George Lucas’ “Star Wars.” Several years later, Ford starred as the character ranked #2 on Time Magazine’s list of the greatest fictional characters of all time, Indiana Jones, in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Five of the films Ford has starred in have been preserved in the Library of Congress. His films have a worldwide gross surpassing $6 billion.

4. Adrian Brody
Born in 1973 in Queens, NY to Jewish parents, Brody’s film career began in 1988. Although he received recognition for playing several forgettable roles in independent films, it was his titular performance in Roman Polanski’s 2002 Holocaust film “The Pianist” that finally garnered Brody recognition from critics and audiences alike. In response to the film, at 29-years-old, Brody broke the record previously held by Richard Dreyfuss becoming the youngest person to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Whether playing a suffering Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland in “The Pianist” or Salvador Dali in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” Brody manages to make us both cry and laugh through his magical performances.

3. Woody Allen
Nominated for 21 Academy Awards, and winning three Oscars and 11 BAFTA Awards, Woody Allen is clearly the Jew in film with the most critical recognition. Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg to Jewish parents in New York City, Allen has directed 41 feature motion pictures in 45 years, and—at age 75—is currently working on his 42ndproduction. He began his career as a comedy writer for variety shows and then as a stand-up comic in New York City clubs. He became well-known for sketch-comedy films before moving onto narrative films, and winning two Oscars for “Annie Hall.” While he seems to stick to the same neurotic Jewish intellectual type of character in the 41 films he has starred in, there is no denying that his character is a brilliant creation.

2. Dustin Hoffman
Born in 1937 in Los Angeles, Hoffman studied at the esteemed Actors Studio in New York. His first major film role came in 1966 with Mike Nichols’s iconic “The Graduate,” for which Hoffman received the first of his seven Academy Award nominations. His portrayal of a single father fighting for custody of his son in “Kramer vs. Kramer” garnered him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. His mesmerizing performance as the autistic Raymond in Barry Levinson’s “Rainman” earned Hoffman his second Oscar for Best Actor. In 1999, Hoffman received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award for his contribution to the art. Four of Hoffman’s films have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.

1. Daniel Day-Lewis
An Irish Jew of relentless talent, Day-Lewis has established himself as a Hollywood eccentric and living legend. As a devoted method actor, he breaks character as little as possible during the making of a film, even between takes. Day-Lewis began his film career humbly, but caught the eye of critics for his role as the legendary Irishman with cerebral palsy, Christie Brown, in “My Left Foot.” His performance earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. He went on to star in several critically acclaimed films, and in 2007 starred in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” for which he received his second Academy Award for Best Actor, a record held by only eight other actors.

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  • Sickle

    So many stupid and ignorant comments on this website and on this topic.

  • And add SAMI FREY , French actor , Polish – Jewish .
    The best !

  • Robert

    Alan Arkin, James Caan, Jeffrey Tambor, Albert Brooks,

  • Geneticist Harry Ostrer, while researching/analyzing genetic risk factors in diseases, eg. diabetes and prostate cancer in African Americans, and Hispanics,established that DNA studies “shows that geographically and culturally distant Jews still have more genes in common than they do with non-Jews around them, and these genes can be traced back to the Levant(an area including modern day Israel) Jews/Hebrews are generally accepted to be a race.(Except where political agenda dictates) Cohen-Modal Haplotype. 132 CE Hadrian joined Judea and Galilee provinces and called them Syria Palaestina.

  • Jewish people have talent ,any one who say’s different is Dumb or just does not like Jewish people

  • Colin Macdonald

    Daniel Radcliffe !!!??? He was acted off the screen by that ginger sidekick of his. I wouldn’t put him in top 100 list of Jewish actors. Not even top 100 list of midget actors. Better off sticking an actual Jew like Leonard Nimoy than a silly wee boy.

  • Maurice H

    Sorry, I didn’t see the word “living”

    • Dee

      For future reference:
      Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan Lerman, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julian Morris, Adam Brody, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Gabriel Macht, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Lisa Kudrow, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Debra Messing, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Margarita Levieva, Elizabeth Berkley, Halston Sage, Seth Gabel, Skylar Astin, Mia Kirshner, Alden Ehrenreich, Eric Balfour, Jason Isaacs, Jon Bernthal.

      Andrew Garfield is Jewish, too (though I don’t know if both of his parents are).

      Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, Dave Franco, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Rashida Jones, Jennifer Connelly, Nora Arnezeder, Goldie Hawn, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Peet, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan, Joel Kinnaman, Ben Barnes, Patricia Arquette, Kyra Sedgwick, Dave Annable.

      Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, Nicola Peltz, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Winona Ryder, Michael Douglas, Ben Foster, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nikki Reed, Zac Efron, Jonathan Keltz, Paul Newman.

      Oh, and Ansel Elgort’s father is Jewish, though I don’t know how Ansel was raised.

      Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  • Maurice H

    I don’t see Paul Muni or Edward G Robinson on this ridiculous list. Can anyone compare Harrison Ford to Paul Muni? The list is obviously made by a person who knows nothing about the golden days of Hollywood;and how about Melvyn Douglas. Then there tons of character actors who were Jewish and should be on this list such as Nehemia Persoff, John Garfield-if you can call him a character actor-Mark Lawrence, Harold J Stone, George Tobias, Gene Barry, etc etc. Do some looking up dude!

  • Max


    May 1, 2012
    5:21 pm

    With all the great actors who self identify as Jewish, why would you try to bootstrap Harrison Ford – an actor who has never self-identified as Jewish – onto a list like this? The racialization of Jewish identity is what precipitated the Inquisition and the Holocaust so do you not feel at all idiotic and irresponsible when you engage in the same ignorant celebration of genetic footnotes? What kind of troglodyte determines Jewishness by the exclusive criterion of “his mother is Jewish so he’s a Jew”? If this website feels like crawling out of the Middle Ages and joining modernity, I give it a second read. Until then…

    YOU SOUND STUPID………………….

    • David Nissen

      Let’s get all of this clear. What is a Jew?

      My father was Jewish (religious) and therefore ‘a Jew’ I am an atheist and therefore not ‘a Jew’ because of course a Jew is someone who practises the Jewish religion.

      However, there is more to being Jewish than religion. There is the group cultural aspect which includes traditions, language (Yiddish) and general attitudes, for instance the claim of parents that a new born son is ‘going to be a doctor, lawyer, musician etc. when he grows up’. This traditional attitude comes from centuries of oppression resulting in a strong urge to get on in life. But any claim that a Jew is a race is not only wrong but essentially racist and interestingly a claim by the racist Zionist state of Israel. There is no race called Christian or Muslim.

      Another interesting myth is the claim that being anti-Jewish is anti-Semitism as the Semitic races include the Arab population. Therefore:

      1 The majority of ‘Jews’ are not religious and therefore technically not Jewish
      2 The term anti-Semitism is incorrect
      3 Being Jewish CAN be a cultural claim

      • Glenn

        You are correct about what the word Semitic technically means but anti-semitism is used to mean anti jewish. Weather it is technically correct is irrelevant. When someone says it we all know what they mean and jewish may not be a race but it is definitely an ethnicity. I consider myself an agnostic jew but a jew nonetheless. If Hitler came back he wouldn’t care if you practiced Judaism or not. If you have jewish blood then you’re a Jew period.

  • Max

    With all the great actors who self identify as Jewish, why would you try to bootstrap Harrison Ford – an actor who has never self-identified as Jewish – onto a list like this? The racialization of Jewish identity is what precipitated the Inquisition and the Holocaust so do you not feel at all idiotic and irresponsible when you engage in the same ignorant celebration of genetic footnotes? What kind of troglodyte determines Jewishness by the exclusive criterion of “his mother is Jewish so he’s a Jew”? If this website feels like crawling out of the Middle Ages and joining modernity, I give it a second read. Until then…

    • Lea

      That’s pretty funny, you commenting on the Jewish people’s tradition being stuck in the Middle Ages. You probably are a Christian? Enough said.

    • neanderthal


      you ignorant anti-semite. in judaism, an offspring is jewish if his mother was jewish. i am certain old harrison is not the least affected by this list, and am fairly assured he’d be more pleased to see it (unlikely as that may be) than liable to launch into an ignorant inchoherent troglodyte type of truly assinine rant such as you did. then agin, mebbe harrison’s forgotten he’s a jew and just a crazed anti semite like you?

      my only complaint.

      Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest living actor? Are you guys nuts?

    • Better than most of those on this list is the great Eli Wallach. Not much recognition but his interpretation of Tuco in the Good the Bad an the Ugly is the mos memorable performance i have yet to see on screen

    • Jews are palistinian

      • Ronit

        What kind of troglodyte? Well, just every single Jewish person over the past 3000 years has self identified as a Jew because their mother was Jewish…reason…that’s how our religion does it…so if you want to call us troglodytes go ahead…we have suffered worse insults believe me!

      • Ronit

        Ummmmmm…..NO THEY ARE NOT…

      • Glenn

        There is no such thing as Palestinian. They were nomads wandering around in the desert until the Jews got there and build a civilization.

      • Ben Rothbard

        no such place as palestine , maybe you meant to say Oz or Narnia . they are far more real

    • Ronit

      What kind of troglodyte? Well, just every single Jewish person over the past 3000 years has self identified as a Jew because their mother was Jewish…reason…that’s how our religion does it…so if you want to call us troglodytes go ahead…we have suffered worse insults believe me!

  • crazy

    WHAT!!! No Howard Stern!!! That’s Bullshit

  • Faige

    What about Natalie Portman?
    No Jewish women included in the list – why Not?

    I trust that doesn’t open the door to Barbra Streisand – whose ideocy regarding her political persuasion (thankfully she’s been quite since her provocative outrageous comments created a fire storm) remains nonetheless an actress whose film contributions whether as an actress or director ought not to be ignored!

    • Edward H

      The list is Living Jewish Male Actors. It would be too hard to narrow down the Female ones =P

  • Someone I work with visits your site regularly and recommended it to me to read too. The writing style is great and the content is interesting. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

  • Joe Btfsplk

    Interesting. Judaism is a RELIGION not a RACE. Therefore, to be a Jew is to practise Judaism (actually Pharisaism) You cannot be part Protestant/part Jewish any more than you can be part Buddhist/part Hindoo. You either are or you are not. If you are proud to be a Jew then you are a practising Jew. Anyone who says he is “non-religious” and then in another breath states that he is proud to be a Jew is a hypocrite or is seeking to obfuscate.

    • Dan Friedman

      You’re right Judaism is a religion not a race. And it’s a religion that defines its members as someone who had a Jewish mother.

      • boson higgs

        You’re right Judaism is a religion not a race. And it’s a religion that defines its members as someone who had a Jewish mother.

        simply means that the mother practices the religion ,of talmudism , er :jewdaism

        there is no history for a jewish race.

      • Norman Trubik

        Judaism is the religion of the Jewish nation. Jews are a nation, not a race.


      I have news for you. Judism is not a religion! Many secular people are Jews. Look at Israel. To be a Jew, you must have a Jewish Mother and a Jewish soul. Read Genesis and discover creation of a Jew.

      • Joe Btfsplk

        Interesting. The term Jew wasn’t even around until only a few hundred years ago. The tribe of Judah came about and people assume that was where the term Jew came from. The people of Judah were Judahites. One of the ten tribes of Israel, or Hebrews. The name Israel came from when the God of the Bible re-named Jacob. All of them are actually Hebrews. The history of the origin of the word “Jew” in the English language leaves no doubt that the 18th century “Jew” is the 18th century contracted and corrupted English word for the 4th century Latin “Iudaeus” found in St. Jerome’s Vulgate Edition. Of that there is no longer doubt.
        Have a look at Genesis. You will not find the word Jew there. It first appears in Esther Ch 2 Vs 5.
        Also have a look at Rev 2:9: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

        And that includes the Khazars who run Israel today.

        • saxon

          Joe-you have never been more accurate.



    • John Doe

      A lot of people would not necessarily agree with you. Judaism is closely linked with racial identity, as becoming a Jew is a lengthy and difficult process which relatively few people do. Judaism is not a ‘conversion religion’ unlike Christianity or Islam.

    • Glenn

      Judaism is not a race but it is an ethnicity. If you have jewish blood then you’re a jew weather you practice or not. The fact that you’re DNA can prove you’re a jew is proof that it’s not just about what fairy tales you believe it’s literally in your blood. I’m an agnostic Jew but I’m definitely a Jew. I am not religious but I am proud of my ethnic background and my heritage.
      If that makes me a hypocrite in your eyes the so be it but I will always consider my self a Jew and if Adolph Hitler came back to life I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t care if I practiced Judaism or not. Jewish blood makes you a Jew period.

    • Bob

      Joe Btfsplk, maybe people would take your comment seriously if you could spell practice and Hindu right

  • oilyfishhead

    Larry Fine?

    • Sim


    • Dr. Sheila Frank

      Perhaps you are only including American actors?

      Sami Frey in France is a French Jew of Polish origins. He was a hidden child, a survivor of the Holocaust. Incredibly handsome and talented!

      In Israel, there is a relatively new face, a drop dead gorgeous one:-) : Liron Levo. Currently in Sean Penn’s new film ” This Must Be The Place.”

  • OK

    Is this the best that can be conjured up? Not very impressive. For what purpose is such a list compiled. Strange.

    • Sim

      Like all Top-10 lists, this one has no real authority. It’s only purpose is entertainment and to strike conversation on the subject.

    • saxon

      Well if you will stop and think……..Most of the people{actors} in general today make that list of jews inexhaustible. This is their domain. They have total control over the arts/movies/media/whatever. Such a compilation means absolutely nothing………

  • Grand Republic

    Whats the big deal?The Jews have absolute control of the entire media(Except the internet).Knowone else; know matter how talented, need apply.

    • saxon


      To gain control all the Jew has to do is to lift his eyes and hands towards the heavens and submit to the ‘ONE GD OF ISRAEL AND EVERYTHING with no other.

  • dee

    There is this new generation of actors who are both Jewish and strong dramatic actors. Maybe they don’t belong on this list yet, but I’m sure they soon will. Most of them are unambigiusly, fully Jewish: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Logan Lerman, Jesse Eisenberg, Anton Yelchin, Andrew Garfield. A few who are Jewish from their mother only, Jake Gyllenhaal and James Franco. And Ben Foster, who was raised in his father’s religion (Judaism).

    Robin Williams isn’t Jewish at all so why would he be in consideration for this list…

    Daniel Radcliffe certainly has made it clear that he considers himself Jewish. ie..
    “”He’s fantastic and Jewish apparently, and I’m Jewish… A Jewish Spider-Man – that’s progress.” HARRY POTTER star DANIEL RADCLIFFE approves of the new Spider-Man, fellow Brit Andrew Garfield.”

  • Dave

    WHY? why not Shatner, how can you not include him. And Radcliffe is not a good actor, and yet you include him and for Shatner? SHAME

    • kdb

      … and Leonard Nimoy as well.

      • William Shatner could very well be included in a list of world’s worst actors. Big head and little talent.

  • charles

    Radcliffe’s mom was Jewish and his father was protestant. Though he himself is non-religious he described himself as “very proud of being Jewish.”

    I never thought he was much of an actor though (the kid who plays Ron is much more talented) but I did think he finally gave an unassailable performance in this last Potter film. Of course, it took 8 movies to do so, but hey, better late than never.

    • OK

      Ok course he’s going to say he is proud as he was asked by the jewish press. More importantly, if he said otherwise his film/play career would cease.

  • morgan

    Radcliffe is not Jewish. He appeared nude in Equus and has not been mutilated. Perhaps some of the rest (Day-Lewis) are the same.

    • Dave

      His mother is Jewish so that makes him Jewish. Circumcision doesn’t make one jewish, you’re still a jew whether you have it or not

      • morgan

        when you’re circumcised you don’t have it…’s been hacked off……there are 2 requirements for being a jew….one is mummy…other is chop chop…..besides, there are only two great actors on this list….Ford and Day-Lewis…..and they’re both half OIRISH!

        • dee

          I’ve read that Radcliffe WAS circumcized.

          Circumcision is not a requirement to be Jewish under Orthodox law. Being a Jew by birth or conversion is the only requirement there.

        • Michael

          Daniel Radcliffe’s half-Oirish too.

      • you are not within the spiritual protection of the heavens until you are circumsized.
        When you publish your first bible and open your church..let us know

    • Aliza

      how can you be sure there was no tampering of the evidence? do you think he was nude of make-up also? just because someone appears to be nude in theatrics, it does not mean he is really nude.

  • Levi

    Finally! and article with some toichen. Wow, what an article! keep them coming!

  • Danny

    OK. Daniel Day Lewis is a living legend and along with dustin hoffman and harrison ford, form a acting super team. woody allen should not be here as an actor and almost all of his accomplishments that you have written were from his directing skills. while according to your criteria, daniel radcliff definitely belongs on this list, that is the only criteria in which hed get on any acting list besides “luckiest actor alive”. Richard Dreyfuss is definitely a talent, but hes kinda dropped off into oblivion and according to your criteria shouldnt be here. he doesnt make that much money anymore, hes not gonna get people to come to a movie, and he is not recognized by the public in general (non movie fans). adrien brody is no doubt a great talent and hes proven but he doesnt bring in money and hes not expensive. james franco is also a great talent and has a lot more appeal with the general masses so he would be on my top ten list. Besides for harvey keitels unparalleled desire to be buck naked in every movie hes in, his credentials are great tho again, his appeal nowadays is much less and while his price may still be high, he doesnt bring in the masses tho he would be on my list as well. kirk douglas is a legend, but i would love to see more young up and coming actors like franco. i think shia labeouf has credentials paralleled to daniel radcliff in regard to bringing in money and fans, tho not quite as big, but hes also a much more accomplished actor. andy samberg is brilliant but doesnt fit into your criteria. jake gelenhal would be my dark horse. not really a top actor, but his list of movies have both gotten critical acclaim and brought in a lot of money. and hes no slouch as an actor either.

  • emery

    Couldn’t agree more with Mr Bruck. A brilliant article.

  • I didn’t even know half of these people were Jewish!

    • Frank Davidson

      And who the hell cares!? Only fellow jews I presume?

    • Aron Lippe

      In the entertainment industry, financial world and the garment business–you are Jewish when it is convenient. Having a Jewish great,great Grandparent can be useful (David Cameron, Boris Johnson) or even an ancestor with a vaguely Jewish sounding name (Murdoch’s great, great granpa was Sherson, rewritten to Scheerson). Such people are as Jewish as a pork chop, but the front wheelers go into paroxisms of joy to think that anyone of ability is “one of them”.

  • Danny

    While he has not been in the industry or a star of it for as long as most everyone else on this list, I definitely think James Franco deserves to be on this list. And while he may not have the credits to back it up, Andy Samberg is one of the most talented actors out there never mind in the jewish world. Side point, Sean Penn is probably the best fake jew out there.

  • Jew from Brooklyn

    Kudos to the author of this article. He has done a great job putting together a star-studded list of actors which will surely elicit the great Jewish pastime of debate.

    Looking forward to future reads.

  • KNK

    Daniel Radcliffe definitely belongs on the list! He’s a central part of a series of 8 movies that have spanned a decade–an era!–and have made history! And HE DOES meet the criteria of “draw to theaters, awards, and CULTURAL IMPACT”. He’s the lead & the face of an epic story that an entire generation have grown up with! You think it’s so easy to grow up on a set & act in 8 Harry Potter movies–putting in more time than any of the adult actors & doing most of your own stunts all at such a young age? You have to be a certain kind of special person to do that & Dan was born to do it! He’s been acting all his life & he continues to act on Broadway where he is getting rave reviews. Not only that, he has taken advantage of his fame, as a well-known actor to young people, to be a part of important charities & causes. He is a good role model–a good example of what other young actor’s should try to be like. He is smart & talented & seems natural at getting the industry & the art of it. He remains hungry and interested in the art of acting & movie making & is striving to create a respectable acting career beyond Harry Potter. He is very witty, bright, & wise for his age. All of that is a great achievement! While we should honor all the old people who came before everyone else, we should also take some time to recognize what is alive and promising and is right in front of us right now! Surely we can all afford to add one bright and young star to the bottom of the list!

  • Yip

    WOW.. All due respect to the author of this piece, but he clearly has been absent from the film world… Not to be an expert myself, but I find it a chutzpah to put Daniel Radcliffe and Harvey Keitel on that list AT ALL…. Radcliffe, I understand the tendency due to the success of Harry Potter monetarily, but in no way does he deserve the title of one of the GREATEST JEWISH FILM ACTORS ALIVE TODAY! Keitel!???? REALLY?!?!?? Here is a list of people who put those two TO SHAME!

    1. BILLY CRYSTAL!!!!!!!
    2. Mel FREAKIN BROOKS!!!!!!!
    3. SHATNER!!! (Star Trek, cultural phenomenon defined. need I say more?)
    4. Martin Landau
    5. Check out Rob Reiner’s credentials when ya get a chance….
    6. Larry David, cultural phenomenon.
    7. Matthew Broderick (Ferris Beuller…. that was like a crack in the planet in the 1980’s)
    8. Hank Azaria! READ IT.

    Sure if we are basing the whole thing on finances, of course Radcliffe should be on there. But excluding the financial aspects, and focusing on draw to theaters, awards, and CULTURAL IMPACT, no chance those two should be on there. Radcliffe was a kid, who happened to get the Harry Potter spot not because of his amazing acting talent. When he is in another film after Harry Potter that is a blockbuster, b/c he is the lead, then I would potentially agree, but at this point to put him over any of the above 8, and more so with Keitel, is simply shocking…..

    • Sim

      Taking into account all the criteria, Daniel Radcliffe is a must. He isn’t great in the “acting” aspect. But that is hardly the only thing that actors have going for them.

      Shatner, David and Azaria clearly do not qualify under the criteria outlined in the intro.

      Brooks and Reiner would be more suited on a “Best Film Directors” list.

      The suggestion that “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” makes Broderick more qualified than “Who’s That Knocking at My Door,” “Mean Streets,” “Taxi Driver,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Piano” and “Bad Lieutenant” make Harvey Keitel, is absurd.

      Martin Landau is a legitimate oversight by the author. Shame on him.

      • Yip

        and Billy Crystal? SHATNER??? if we are talking spanning an ERA… Star Trek, I am most definitively NOT a trekie, but I am pretty sure they essentially started the whole culture of nerdy-costume-wearing- to the theater to see the film culture way before Harry Potter was even a thought in Rowling’s head.

        • Yip

          in reference to Crystal, City slickers, Harry met Sally, MR. Saturday night, Princess bride, Analyze This, Analyze That, Monsters Inc, Hamlet, the list goes on.

    • larry david NOT JEWISH BY HIS OWN MOUTH

  • mendel

    while i dont think radcliffe is a great actor based on the laid out criteria he does belong on the list

  • Avi

    Agree with everyone on this list except for Radcliffe. Wealth alone doesn’t make you one of the greatest actors. Check back again in 20 years and see where his career is at. At this moment I would put James Caan or Jake Gyllenhaal ahead of him.

  • Mends

    Wonderful article, enjoyed it!

  • Yessica

    Daniel Radcliffe does not belong in the same list as all of those fine, fine actors.

    • morgan

      because he’s not a jew

      • Dave

        His mother is and he says he is, so he is

      • Me

        He is a jew. How the hell do you think he got the part?

        • sozialkritiker

          Exactly! Good one.