Q: Who was the first Jewish movie star?
A: Maxwell Henry Aronson aka Bronco Billy Anderson had three minor roles in one of the first movies, the 10 minute 1903 The Great Train Robbery. Soon Max began to write, direct and act in his own westerns. Founding his own studio in 1907, Anderson acted in over 300 short films but gained huge popularity as Bronco Billy in 148 silent western shorts.
Q: Why Did Jack Benny write his Autobiography in the 1960’s
then buy the rights back from his publisher and hide the book?
A: His daughter Joan says she found the manuscript after her mother died in 1983…the story that she heard, was that Jack’s wife
(Sadye Marks) “Mary Livingstone” objected because Jack included
so many stories of his old girlfriends in it! Joan published it.
Q: What Jewish major league baseball player spoke 7 languages,
and was a spy for the OSS ?
A: Moe Berg played 15 seasons in the majors, mostly as a back-up catcher. In the off seasons he traveled extensively around the world, including two trips to Japan . He had been working for the OSS (Renamed the CIA) as a spy for the U.S. on his trips.
In 1943/44, and speaking German like a native he was touring Nazi occupied Europe on a spy mission. He was asked to determine whether the Germans were close to building an A bomb, in which case he was charged with murdering the Nazi scientists who were developing it!
Q: What Jewish performer was the best ventriloquist of his time,
and helped create the first artificial heart?
A: At the time, the most famous ventriloquist was Edgar Bergen
(he was also the worst). The Best was Paul Wilchinsky,
who, as Paul Winchell with his wooden partner Jerry Mahoney
had their own TV Show in the 1950’s and made many appearances
on all the popular variety shows of the time….Paul NEVER moved
his lips! Paul was also an inventor and held many medical patents including the device which was the basis of the Jarvik heart.
Q: What Jewish actor was the FIRST bad boy method actor, and,
at the time, had the largest funeral of any celebrity since Valentino?
A: Jacob Julius Garfinkle aka John Garfield grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side , and later said “If I hadn’t been an actor I might have become Public Enemy #1. On Broadway and in the Movies Garfield was an early proponent of the “Method” which was later adopted by Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando & James Dean. With a bad heart and the stress of possibly losing his career due to being named to the Black List, John Garfield died of a massive heart attack at the age of 39. Over 10,000 people crowded outside the cemetery at his funeral.
Q: What movie of 1942 cast 4 Jews, an Irishman & a German as California Mexicans?
A: “Tortilla Flat”, from the book by John Steinbeck, was a movie about a bunch of poor Monterrey , CA. Mexicans who just sit around and kvetch all day. The cast consisted of 4 Jews: Hedy Lamarr a Viennese Jew with a strong German accent, John Garfield & Sheldon Leonard both Jews with strong New York accents, and Akim Tamiroff a Russian Jew with a strong Russian Accent. In addition, they cast the very Irish Spencer Tracy and the German American Frank Morgan!!! Not a decent Mexican accent in the bunch.
Q: What Film played a N.Y.C. neighborhood theatre in the early 1950’s whose marquee read: Starring Bernard Schwartz
and Rosetta Jacobs?
A: “The Prince who was a Thief” starred Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie. Both were local Jews, born on the lower Eastside of N.Y., and well known in that neighborhood by their real names.
Q: What nice Jewish girl left Darren Aronofsky, also Jewish,
to marry James Bond???
A: Rachel Weisz, who is now married to Daniel Craig.
Q: What 19 year old Jewish girl hung out with Hitler & Mussolini, married a semi-Nazi munitions dealer, made a semi-porno film that got world wide release, then ran off to Paris & London where she met Louis B. Mayer, eventually becoming one of MGM’s biggest stars
(She was called The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and helped invent a process called Frequency Hopping which was used in military code breaking machines, and later in cell phones).
A: Eva Maria Kiesler aka Hedy Lamarr born November 9, 1914
in Austria .
Q: What famous Jewish stand-up comic saw his first movie,
as a little kid sitting in the lap of singer Billie Holiday
at the Lowes Commodore, N.Y.C.
A: Billy Crystal
Q: What Jewish man was the first & greatest swashbuckling
movie hero known as the First King of Hollywood ?
A: Thomas Ullman aka Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
(I never knew that he was Jewish!!)
Q: What two Jewish stars of the Yiddish stage became movie
super stars playing Italian Gangsters?
A: Emanuel Goldenberg aka Edward G. Robinson
with Little Caesar in 1931 and Muni Weisenfreund aka Paul Muni with Scarface in 1932.
Q: Who was the first Jewish professional baseball player?
A: Emanuel Lipman Pike, in 1866, he accepted $20 a week to play.
Q: What Jewish superstar, as a kid in the 1930’s, would pee off
the roof of his tenement building onto parading American Nazis?
A: Bernie Schwartz, aka Tony Curtis.
Q: What Jewish leading lady missed out on playing Scarlett O’Hara
in Gone with the Wind….over her affair with Charlie Chaplin?
A: Marion Pauline Levy aka Paulette Goddard. Producer David O. Selznick was afraid Paulette’s fooling around with Charlie would hurt the box office of the movie so decided against casting her.
Q: What Jewish TV star, a comedian, hung one of his young writers out of an 18th floor window until he agreed that a joke was funny?
A: Sid Caesar hung writer Melvin Kaminsky (Mel Brooks) out the window until the other writers restrained Sid!
Q: What Jewish comedian once asked Frank Sinatra to stop by his table at a Las Vegas restaurant to help the comic impress a girl…later when Sinatra was leaving he stopped to say hello, the comic said.. “Not now Frank, can’t you see I’m with somebody???
A: Only the impish Don Rickles had the guts!
Q: What Jewish silent film star was the movies’ first Femme Fatale?
A: Known as The Vamp, it was Theodosia Burr Goodman aka Theda Bara.
At the height of her fame she ranked in popularity behind only Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.
Q: What Jewish movie star had two of the world’s largest and finest privately owned art collections?
A: Edward G. Robinson. In 1956 he was forced to sell his first art collection, as part of his divorce settlement. Missing his art more than his wife of 29 years…He immediately began to build a second collection!
Q: What Jewish movie star he-man wore dresses as a kid?
A: Issur Danielovitch aka Kirk Douglas .
He was the only boy among 4 or 5 older sisters.
They couldn’t afford toys, so they treated him as their own private dress-up doll. then as a teen he muscled up and became macho to prove his manhood…( I am Spartacus!!!)
Q: What famous Jewish symphony orchestra conductor is the grandson of the King & Queen of the Yiddish Theatre…Boris & Bessie Thomashefsky?
A: Michael Tilson Thomas.
Q: What Jewish comedian was TV’s first superstar and was so popular that NBC gave him a 30-year contract?
A: “Mr. Television” was Mendel Berlinger aka Milton Berle.
Submitted by Helen Cherry