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November 22, 1991 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-22

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Robert de Niro, a nice Jewish boy?

A look at some surprising entertainers
with a Jewish connection,

What's a Nice Girl Like
You Doing in a Business
Like This, a German film
produced in 1969.
She attended the Univer-
sity of California at Los
Angeles and planned on
becoming a veterinarian.
Meanwhile, Ms. Benton
began appearing in com-
mercials and in the TV
show "Playboy After
Dark." Mr. Hefner took an
immediate interest in her;
Ms. Benton was 19, he was
"I told him I never dated
a man over 24," Ms. Ben-
ton said in a People inter-
view. "He told me he never
dated anyone older than
that either." Their rela-
tionship ended in 1976.
Ms. Benton had regular
roles on the TV programs
"Sugar Time," "Laugh-In"

and "Hee Haw" and has
released three country
music albums. She is mar-
ried to Los Angeles busi-
nessman George Gradow.

hearts beat fast and palms
sweat when he starred as
Jimmy Lee Holt on
"General Hospital."
He was born Shlomo
Goldberg in Haifa and set-
tled in the United States
when he was 12.
Mr. Holt has since left
"General Hospital" and
makes guest appearances
on numerous- television

Cosby Show" is the
daughter of a Jewish
mother and a father of
black and Cherokee Indian
heritage. Her parents
divorced when Ms. Bonet,
who was raised in Los
Angeles' San Fernando
Valley, was 13 months old.
In the past several years
Ms. Bonet married and is
now divorcing musician
Lenny Kravitz, also the pro-
duct of an intermarriage.
Mr. Kravitz is the son of
Roxie Roker, who played
Helen Willis on "The Jeffer-
sons" and Jewish business-
man Sy Kravitz. Lisa Bonet
and Lenny Kravitz have one
daughter, Zoe.
Ms. Bonet, in an inter-
view with Ebony magazine,
said her childhood was
often difficult. "I had ab-
solutely no idea where I
belonged in life . . . It was
really weird because, like,
you know, the black kids
would call me `Oreo' and I
just didn't feel totally at
home and accepted with all
those white rich people."
While growing up, Ms.
Bonet often attended a
Reform temple in Los
Angeles with her mother,
though today she is a prac-
ticing Buddhist.
Since leaving "The Cosby
Show," Ms. Bonet has
starred in "A Different
World" on television and in

films including Angel



actor and twice husband of
Elizabeth Taylor (see
below), had a Jewish
grandfather. The late Mr.
Burton was born Richard
Walter Jenkins in Wales.
He was one of 13 children.
Mr. Burton made his film
debut in 1948 in The Last
Days of Dolwyn. Four years
later, he was nominated for
best supporting actor for
his appearance in My
Cousin Rachel. Subsequent
movies include Hamlet,

Who's Afraid of Virginia
Woolf and Anne of a Thou-
sand Days.'
In the biography Richard
Burton, Melvyn Bragg
quotes from Mr. Burton's
diaries, recalling what
happened one evening
when the actor dined at a
swank club in Arizona.
Toward the end of the
meal, Mr. Burton
discovered the club was re-
stricted to gentiles. His
hostess was unfazed by the
news, but Mr. Burton was
furious. He told her:
"Elizabeth (Taylor), as you
obviously don't know, is a
convert to Judaism and our
daughter Liza is of course a
Jewess and my grand-
father was a Jew."
After the meal, Mr. Bur-
ton and his friends retirrn-
ed to their hotel and
discussed the evening.
Their hosts had said, "The
thing that had made this
country great was that it
was a melting pot for all
the peoples of the world,"
Mr. Burton wrote. "Yawn.
Yawn. But they had just
said that Jews were not
allowed in their club!
"We reduced ourselves to
hysteria in the course of
the post mortem in our
suite, but under it all we
were sick at heart."

ERICK, star of Glory,
War Games and Ferris
Bueller's Day Off, is the son
of the late James Broderick,

also an actor, and Patsy, an
artist. His father was Irish
Catholic; his mother is
Mr. Broderick, who won a
Tony Award for his Broad-
way performance in

Brighton Beach Memoirs,
was born and raised in
New York. The brother of
two older sisters, his first
major role was in the off-
Broadway version of Torch
Song Trilogy.
In a Parade Magazine
interview, the 29-year-old
Mr. Broderick described
himself as "always wor-
ried. You can see I'm a
half-Jewish neurotic and a
half-Catholic guilty per-

Godfather's hot-tempered
son, Sonny Corleone, was
born in 1939 in New York.
Both his parents were Jew-
ish; his grandparents were
born in Germany and came
to the United States to
escape the Nazis.
Devoted to sports, the
young James Caan enroll-
ed at Michigan State Uni-
versity in hopes of becom-
ing a star on the school
football team. He did not
make the team, and so
transferred to a college in
New York.
Mr. Caan appeared in his
first play in 1960. His big
break came in 1971, when
he portrayed dying football
star Brian Piccolo in the
television film Brian's
Song. The next year, he
won the role of Sonny
Mr. Caan has since ap-
peared in such films as
Gardens of Stone, Chapter
Two and Funny Lady.

born Kathy Sue Nail to
gentile parents. Before
marrying director Steven
Spielberg late last month,
she had an Orthodox con-
version to Judaism.
Ms. Capshaw, a native of
Ft. Worth, Texas, appeared
in her first film in 1982.
Two years later, she

starred in Indiana Jones

and the Temple of Doom.
Other film credits include
Dreamscape, The Best
Defense and Power.

dark-haired star of Shag, is
the daughter of a gentile
mother and Jewish father,
producer Joe Cates (born
Born in 1963, Ms. Cates
found fame after appearing
in the television miniseries
"Lace." She has since ap-
peared in such films as

Fast Times at Ridgemont
High and Gremlins. She is
married to actor Kevin
Kline (see below), also the
child of a gentile mother
and Jewish father.

LEE J. COBB played a
lot of tough guys during his
screen and stage career.
Among his most famous
films were Golden Boy,

Twelve Angry Men, On the
Waterfront, The Three
Faces of Eve and How the
West Was Won.
Born Leon Jacoby in New
York City, Mr. Cobb want-
ed to be a violinist until he
injured his wrist in an
accident. He then turned to
the Pasadena Playhouse,
where he worked as both
actor and director. His first
Broadway role was as the
saloonkeeper in Crime and
During World War II,
Mr. Cobb served in the U.S.
Air Force. In 1945, after
his discharge, he returned
to the stage and screen.
Though he had made nu-
merous movies by 1949,
that year saw Mr. Cobb's
"discovery," when he
played Willie Loman in
Death of a Salesman.
Mr. Cobb died in 1976.

only woman who could look
so good at almost 60, is the
daughter of a Jewish father
and a gentile mother. Her
father, Joe Collins, was a
theatrical agent in
In her autobiography,





fame began at the in-
famous Playboy mansion
in California. She appeared
three times on the cover of
Playboy, was a Playboy
centerfold and lived for
nine years with the Big
Bunny himself, Hugh
Ms. Benton was born
Barbara Klein, the
daughter of a gynecologist
father and an investment
counselor mother. She
changed her name before
making her screen debut in

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