Celebrity Jews – Movies, Netflix And A Sad Note
AT THE MOVIES
Blindspotting, which got rave reviews at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, co-stars Daveed Diggs, 34, and Rafael Casal, as two poor guys in Oakland, Calif. It follows them as they cope with crime, police violence and gentrification. Casal and Diggs, who are from Oakland, co-wrote the film. Diggs, the son of an African-American father and a Jewish mother, is best known for winning a 2016 Best Supporting Actor (musical) Tony for playing Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis De Lafayette in Hamilton. His first name is based on the Hebrew pronunciation of “David” and Diggs seems comfortable in embracing both his Jewish and his black background. (Opens July 27.)
OVER ON NETFLIX
On July 24, Netflix began streaming a new, one-woman stand-up special starring Iliza Shlesinger, 35. I’ve seen Shlesinger before and her humor is in the vein of Amy Schumer, if a notch or two less clever. Still, she’s worth watching. Nice to note: On May 12, Shlesinger wed Noah Galuten, 35, (the wedding photos show a particularly lovely chuppah). The groom is a Los Angeles restaurant owner, food critic and food book writer (and James Beard-award nominee). Actress Mayim Bialik, 42, attended.
Henry Morgenthau III died on July 10, age 101. It is hard to briefly encapsulate his long life — Google the New York Times or Washington Post obits for a fuller picture. He was third of three great men who bore his name. His grandfather, the ambassador to Turkey during WWI, tried to get the world to act on his reports of the Armenian genocide. His father, FDR’s Treasury secretary, did more to prod FDR to help Jews during the Holocaust than any other FDR appointee. Henry III was a decorated WWII combat veteran and after the war he become an acclaimed PBS producer (mostly documentaries) and TV executive who turned the Boston public TV station into a great station. He became an observant Jew after his 1962 marriage to Ruth Schacter, an observant Jew whose family fled Vienna in 1938. He recounted his life’s journey, and the story of his whole family, in his 1991 book Mostly Morgenthaus: A Family History. His brother is Robert Morgenthau, 98, the Manhattan D.A. for decades and the model for the Jewish character Adam Schiff, the first head D.A. on TV’s Law and Order.
Eloise Saperstein Berkley died on July 15, age 81. She was the daughter of Abe Saperstein, who founded the famous Harlem Globetrotters. After his death in 1966, Eloise ran the team for about 10 years. She became a beloved figure in Chicago, where she created a foundation that sponsored extensive youth leagues and free summer camps. She also was the first woman certified as an agent for NBA players.