Celebrity Jews : Hollywood, Movies and more
AT THE MOVIES: CATCH UP AND LOOK AHEAD
Opening on Friday, Oct. 13, was Happy Death Day, a horror film with a lot of comedy. I just confirmed that the film’s star, Jessica Rothe, 30, has a Jewish father. This movie got pretty good reviews.
Thank You for Your Service follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield. Amy Schumer, 36, co-stars as the wife of one of the veterans. Schumer had a small role in one dramatic film, but this is really her debut as a dramatic actress. I expect she’ll be good — most comedians make good dramatic actors.
BASEBALL’S BIG MOMENT
Another World Series is looming and there are two Jews on the teams vying for the championship: the Houston Astros and the L.A. Dodgers.
Alex Bregman, 23, is the Houston Astros’ third baseman. In a word, he’s “performed” since being called up in 2016. In 2017, he hit .287, with 19 home runs, 71 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. On Oct. 5, in his first post-season at bat, he hit a first-inning home run against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in Game 1 of an American League Division Series. In Game 4, Bregman sparked a series-clinching rally with another homer off Sale. Bregman’s parents are both lawyers and members of New Mexico’s oldest synagogue. His father was a good baseball player in his youth.
Joc Pederson, 25, a Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, had a horrible 2017 season and was sent to the minors in August. He was recalled on Oct. 1 and made a brief appearance in one playoff game (to date). He made the All-Star team in 2015, so there’s a chance he can regain his form. Pederson, whose mother is Jewish, is secular. He played for Team Israel in 2013.
Comedian Natasha Leggero, 43, who converted to Judaism around the time she wed (2015) comedian Moshe Kasher, 38, appeared with Stephen Colbert on Oct. 2. She talked about co-starring on Dice, a Showtime series starring comedian Andrew Dice Clay, 60. But mostly she talked about her pretty obvious pregnancy. “This is my first and my last,” she told Colbert when he asked about it. She added: “I’ve had really bad cravings … for drugs. This is not a good time to be sober. What if I had a little toke?” [she joked]. “Maybe the kid will have a few glitches, but the bar’s been set so low it could still grow up to be the president of the United States.”
SHE’S STILL SINGING
Lesley Ann Warren, now 71, demonstrated her fine singing voice when she played Cinderella in the TV version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella that first aired in 1965 and was repeated for many years after. Since then, her career has been spotty, with some highlights: an Oscar nomination for Victor, Victoria (1982) and recurring roles on Will & Grace as Will’s father’s mistress.
Warren had a starring role in the 1967 film musical The Happiest Millionaire. It was the last film supervised by Walt Disney and the songs were by Richard and Robert Sherman, the brothers who wrote the Mary Poppins songs. The film failed because it was too saccharine even by Disney standards. But the music was pretty good (available on DVD). On Dec. 5, Warren will celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary performing its songs at a New York club. By the way, Millionaire has a song called “Detroit: FOB.” Walt heard the Sherman brothers composing it through a studio hallway door and thought they were singing “Detroit: SOB.” He walked in and complained that “SOB” was not in keeping with Disney’s family image. They explained that he’d misheard and all three laughed.
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