Saturday, July 2nd 2022   |

Film & TV

Billy Crystal performs ‘Yiddish scat’ at the Tony Awards

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – “Ella Fitzgerald, wherever you are, I apologize in advance.”

Billy Crystal gave this year’s Tonys a jolt of Jewish shtick when he coaxed the audience into a call-and-response “Yiddish scat” routine, as part of a live performance to promote his Broadway musical, “Mr. Saturday Night.”

In a good-faith mockery of Fitzgerald’s own famous “scat” routine, Crystal, in character as his show’s fading comedian star Buddy...

Israeli heirs to the ‘Top Gun’ story sue Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement

By MADELINE FIXLER

(JTA) — The widow and son of the Israeli author whose 1983 magazine article inspired the original “Top Gun” film are suing Paramount Pictures for copyright infringement over the newly released sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.”

A complaint filed in a Los Angeles federal court on Monday and shared by Variety argues that Paramount failed to reacquire the rights to Ehud Yonay’s California magazine piece after the rights...

A movie about how ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ became a movie

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) — Despite his name, Norman Jewison, the director of the 1971 film adaptation of “Fiddler on the Roof,” is not Jewish.

The 95-year-old Jewison has often spoken about how, when asked to helm the movie version of the popular Broadway musical about an Old World shtetl, he felt the need to sheepishly inform the producers that he was a goy.

Less well known is that, following...

How Orna Guralnik went from the Israeli army to ‘Couples Therapy’ stardom

By SARA ROSEN

(JTA) — Since the Showtime docuseries “Couples Therapy” premiered, some might calls its psychologist star Orna Guralnik the world’s therapist. 

“I’ve become something,” she corrected, via Zoom. “I don’t know what to call it, but people write to me a lot, from all over the world.”

In the series, the Jewish Israeli-American psychoanalyst counsels real couples navigating many complex issues: infidelity, alcoholism, sexual and racial identities, and...

In PBS’ gripping series ‘Ridley Road,’ a Jewish woman infiltrates a group of British neo-Nazis

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – It sounds like it could be the story of Purim: A Jewish woman uses her sex appeal to enter the upper reaches of a group whose members are hell-bent on destroying the Jews. 

But instead of Esther with King Ahasuerus, imagine her becoming romantically involved with Haman himself — and instead of the Persian Empire, it’s the British Empire, circa 1962.

“Ridley Road,” a gripping...

Pete Davidson to star in autobiographical comedy series with a Yiddish name

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) — Bupkis — meaning nothing, absolutely zilch — is one of those few Yiddish words that have become part of the American lexicon. It’s also the name of Pete Davidson’s new show.

The series, which will air on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, Deadline reported on Wednesday, is a “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-style R-rated comedy that “will combine grounded storytelling with absurd elements,” and reflect Davidson’s self-deprecating sense...

Marvin Chomsky, director of the influential TV miniseries ‘Holocaust,’ dies at 92

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) – Marvin Chomsky often relayed one searing memory from the set of his 1978 miniseries “Holocaust.”

While shooting sequences in Austria to dramatize the mass murders of Jews both at Nazi concentration camps and in the Babyn Yar ravine outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Chomsky recalled how a young camera operator had challenged the narrative of what they were filming.

“Mr. Marvin, you are making this up for...

Ken Burns’ next documentary is about the US response to the Holocaust

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) — For his next historical deep dive, famed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is exploring America’s relationship to the Holocaust.

Tentatively titled “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” the three-part miniseries set to air Sept. 18-20 on PBS is co-directed and co-produced by Burns and his longtime collaborators Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. Burns’ production company says the series “dispels the competing myths that Americans either were ignorant...

Nehemiah Persoff, Jewish character actor with more than 200 roles, dies at 102

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) — Very few actors, living or dead, could claim to have the career of Nehemiah Persoff.

The celebrated performer, who died Tuesday from heart failure in his home of San Luis Obispo, California, at the age of 102, appeared in more than 200 stage and screen roles during his lifetime.

As a self-proclaimed character actor, Persoff was adept at playing gangsters and other assorted no-goodniks in...

Oscars 2022: the most memorable Jewish moments

By ANDREW LAPIN

(JTA) — The Oscars went on as usual Sunday night — although you wouldn’t know it from the morning-after conversation. A violent altercation between celebrities became the most-discussed moment of the evening (more on that below), and general reviews for the show itself were dismal, full of criticism for its slapdash presentation and pre-taping of several awards categories.

But there were a few Jewish moments to be had...