JEWISH INFLUENCE IN THE MASS MEDIA
"There is a new age of commercialism in American media, with
its concentration of power and its widening breech between the
public interest and the interests of the very few. In the coming
century, the questions about the integrity of America's information
and media ownership are likely to be as fundamental to society as
the purity of the water we drink or the air we breathe."
-- Thomas Maier, p. 13
"So here I am again in purse and wallet country ... briefcases,
hold-alls, canvas football-bags -- the swag that's forever
associated in my mind with being Jewish. Cheap and ugly objects,
made for others' tastes, never one's own; Jews always
second-guessing the gentiles, making little Hollywoods, little
Broadways, returning gentile ideas to the gentiles, giving a Jew's
idea of what is gentile back to gentiles, wherever they go ... If
that is a Jewish tune to which the Lauren Bacall and Faye
Dunaway look-alikes are dancing in Beverly Hills, then I wish
someone other than Jews had written it."
-- Howard Jacobson, Jewish author, 1995, p. 26, 208
"I wonder if any of our immigrant grandparents could have
imagined that on the eve of the 21st century, Jews would
comprise 11 percent of the United States Senate, dominate the
entertainment industry as never before, while at the same time
boasting the most popular professional wrestler as well as the
most notorious spy in the country?"
-- Jonathan Tobin, Jewish author, 1-4-99, p. 5
"Non-Jewish participants [in a Los Angeles-area survey
sponsored by the Zionist women's organization Hadassah],
most of whom did not grow up with Jews or know them personally,
had vivid resentments toward Jews for their economic success,
seeing them as 'insular,' superior and rich. They repeated the
canards that Jews own the media, run the studios, own the Wilshire/Fairfax district. Jews were praised for their work ethic
and strong family solidarity, but were regarded with suspicion,
as being important behind-the-scenes players, lawyers who took advantage of their clients and media manipulators who slanted
the press in the O. J. Simpson case."
-- Marlene Adler Marks,
New Jersey Jewish News, 4-23-98, p. 5]
"It just seems the whole world is Jewish ... The Jewish Connection can be found in so many people, places ...
and even animals."
-- M. H. Goldberg, Jewish author, 1976, p. 105]
"Given their skills and experiences, Jews today have excellent employment opportunities ... Jews are represented among those men most active in promoting reform in top-level positions in banking, government, and the media."
-- Michael Paul Sacks, 1998, p. 265, Jewish author
commenting about Jews in Russia
"The main complaint heard [in Israel] is that for some reason
Jews are the imaginative leaders in this field [movies] almost everywhere except Israel, and guess why. The real 'why,' the truly stinging insinuation, is that in Israel there are too many Jews
who have to deal with each other."
-- Jay Gonen, Israeli author, 1975, p. 274
"Only the blind cannot see that whoever controls the cultural
apparatus ... also controls the destiny of the United States and
everything in it."
-- Harold Cruse, Black intellectual, The Crisis of
the Negro Intellectual, (in Kostelanetz, p. 107)
"Two-thirds of Americans," notes Bill McKibben, "tell researchers they get 'most of their information' about the world from television ... [Most] American homes have TVs ... on an average of seven hours a day ... As many as 12 percent of adults (that is, one in eight) feel they are physically addicted to the set, watching an average fifty-six hours a week." [MCKIBBEN, p. 18] "Twenty years ago," noted Neil Postman in 1985, "the question, Does television shape culture or merely reflect it? held considerable interest for many scholars and social critics. The question has largely disappeared as television has gradually become our culture." [POWERS/ROTHMAN/ROTHMAN, p. 41]
"Most Americans are basically," noted Jewish author Herbert Schiller in 1973,
"though unconsciously, trapped in what amounts to a no-choice
informational bind. Variety of opinions on foreign and domestic
news or, for that matter, local community business, hardly exists
in the media. This results essentially from the inherent identity of
interests, material and ideological, of property-holders (in this case
the private owners of the communications media), and from the
monopolistic character of the communications industry in general."
[SCHILLER, H., p. 19]
The ABC, CBS, and NBC television and radio networks were all controlled and developed to power by Jews: David Sarnoff at NBC, William Paley at CBS, and Leonard Goldenson at ABC. As late as 1985, "Leonard Goldenson, ABC's founder, was still very much in charge, and his network ... was still the Number One in America." [WILLIAMS, p 5]
Paley, the second mogul, achieved control of CBS in 1928 and headed it for nearly the next sixty years. Early investors in the company included other Jews of Paley's original Philadelphia home, including Ike Levy and Jerome Louchheim. One of Paley's biographers noted that he "had an insatiable appetite for power [SMITH, S., p. 15] ... CBS shaped and reflected American society to a greater degree than its rivals ... The flickering images on CBS represented the soul and sensibility of Bill Paley." [SMITH, S., p. 16]
"Officially, [Sarnoff, the third mogul] did not head RCA until thirteen years after its founding," notes Carl Drehr, "actually, as commercial manager, for all practical purposes he ran it almost from the beginning." [DREHR, C. p. 52] By 1936 David Sarnoff was both president of RCA (later CEO) and chairman of the board of NBC (he founded NBC in 1926 as a radio company). [GOLDBERG, M. H., 1976, p. 162] His son Robert became the CEO of NBC in 1955. In 1956, says a biographer, Sarnoff "brought the issue of nepotism [about the appointment of his son to head NBC] in the open." "When a man stands in the way of his son's progress," Sarnoff told an NBC staff convention, "he is not thinking of his son, he is thinking of himself." [LYONS, p. 312-313] "David Sarnoff," notes Edwin Emery, "retired in 1970 to the honorary chairmanship of the Radio Corporation of America, which he had built. RCA was a two-billion dollar business and the largest communication organization in the world. His son Robert became both President and Board Chairman of RCA and father and son sat on the NBC board [a subsidiary of RCA]." [EMERY, p. 606]
"Both Paley and Sarnoff," notes Chaim Bermant, "have shown a consistent interest in Jewish affairs. The latter was for many years on the board of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and both he and Paley have been generous supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science [in Israel]." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 105]
(The pattern of television ownership in England has been the same. As Bermant observes: "In Britain, until 1955, radio and television were a state monopoly ... In 1955, however, commercial television was launched and in time comprised three networks and several smaller regional companies. The networks, Associated-Rediffusion, Associated Television and Granada were headed by Emil Littler, Lew Grade, and Sidney Bernstein respectively, all of whom had spent a lifetime in show-business ... and all three were Jewish.") [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 105]
Despite corporate buyouts and the labyrinthian nature of business takeovers, restructuring, et al, Jewish management and control over the decades has remained dominant; in 1993, for instance, the Chief Executive Officers for the three major American television networks and the four largest film studios were all Jews. [MACDONALD, p. 129] (In 1998, in a survey, the Anti-Defamation League solicited opinion about the fact that "the presidents of the three national television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, are Jewish." [ADL, NOV 1998] In the film world, noted J. J. Goldberg in 1996, "virtually all the senior executives at the major studios are Jews." [GOLDBERG, JJ, p. 288]
While Jews make up merely 2.5% of the American population, in a 1990 issue of Premiere magazine, the first thirteen individuals identified "as the most powerful people in Hollywood," were Jewish. [WHITFIELD, p. 83] In the same year, as noted by American Film magazine, the chairmen of eight of the top ten movie and television companies were Jewish. [STAUTH, p. 44] In an October 1994 issue of Vanity Fair, ten of eighteen deemed important faces in the changing world of "media megacorporations" were Jews. [HALBERSTAM, p. 12]
In 1999, the Los Angeles Jewish Times ran an article entitled "Yes, Virginia, Jews Do Control the Media." "Four of the largest five entertainment giants," it announced, "are now run or owned by Jews. Murdoch's News Corp (at number four) is the only gentile holdout -- however Rupert is as pro-Israel as any Jew, probably more so." [LOS ANGELES JEWISH TIMES, p. 14] (And who is the Executive Vice President at the News Corporation? Gary Ginsberg.) [WEINTRAUB, B., 3-4-01] "Time-Warner, Disney, Viacom-CBS, News Corporation and Universal rule the entertainment world in a way that the old Hollywood studio chiefs only dreamed of," noted the Jewish Week in 1999, "And, after all the deals and buyouts, four of the five are run by Jews. We're back to where we started, bigger than ever." [GOLDBERG, J.J., 9-17-99, 12]
Since Australian-born Rupert Murdoch is the lone non-Jew in the aforementioned pantheon of elite media moguls, it is appropriate to examine his relationship to the Jewish community. As one of his biographers, Thomas Kiernan, notes:
"The most important impact of 1962 on Murdoch, though, was his trip to the
United States to buy television programs ... The chief executive who impressed
Murdoch more than any was New York's Leonard Goldenson, the head of the
American Broadcasting Company ... At the time, Goldenson was turning the
small, feisty ABC television network into a legitimate rival of the twin Goliaths,
CBS and NBC. His method was to pursue 'down-market' programming, a
combination of entertainment and news shows designed to appeal to the coarser
tastes of the American public. ABC became known as the 'schlock network
during the 1950s ... Goldenson's approach to television in America was similar
to Murdoch's newspapers in Australia [p. 75-76] ... [Murdoch] and Goldenson
became fast friends ... In time, Goldenson became Murdoch's newest mentor ...
Goldenson's Jewishness also had a significant impact on Murdoch ... As for
the stereotype of Jews being financially aggressive, brash, devious, cutthroat,
pushy, and concerned only with making money -- well, he certainly possessed
many of those traits too ...[p. 76-77] ... Goldenson, like many of his
ambitious New York counterparts, made no effort to disguise his Jewishness.
If anything, they wore it on their sleeves, mostly out of their pride in Israel.
In a place like New York, it was almost fashionable to be a Jew in the 1950s,
especially if one's ambitions were focused on achieving a niche in the city's
establishment ... [p. 77] It was easy for him to identify with these New York
Jewish counterparts. When the time came for him to make his permanent
move into the United States fifteen years later, it was to them that he would
turn largely for support. And they would respond eagerly, but not just because
Murdoch represented a source of busness. They felt they could 'trust' him
on Israel. Leonard Goldenson had not let a meeting with Murdoch go by
during his trips to New York without giving him a dissertation about Israel
and its imporance in the global scheme of things." [KIERNAN, T., 1986, p. 78]
"What binds [the Hollywood elite] is a sense of interlocking ventures and relationships," said a Jewish observer, William Isaacson, Time Inc.'s media editor, in 1994, "The old establishment was a club. The New Establishment is a network." [CASH, p. 15] In a 1980s study, 59% of the directors, writers, and producers of the fifty most economically successful movies produced between 1965 and 1982 were also found to be Jewish. [LIPSET, p. 4] (See Martin Greenberg's The Jewish Lists for a sampling of such people). As early as 1936, one study found that "of 85 names engaged in [movie] production, 53 are Jews. And the Jewish advantage holds in prestige as well as numbers." [GABLER, p. 2]
In 1980, film scholar Patricia Erens noted that "the list [of Jewish screenwriters in Hollywood] is long. A recent survey indicated that seventy to eighty per cent of the Screen Writers Guild was composed of Jews, a trend dating back to the 1930s." [ERENS, P., 1980, p. 116] (Prominent among them were Julius and Phil Epstein, Carl Foreman, William Goldman, Ben Hecht, Garson Kanin, Howard Koch, Abraham Polansky, Herman Mankiewicz, Morris Riskin and Budd Schulberg). "Composing [music for movies]," adds Erens, "has been another area of high concentration for Jewish artists." In this genre, Erens notes Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin, Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrman, Marvin Hamlisch, Jerome Kern, Alfred Newman, Andre Previn, Miklos Rozsa, and Max Steiner. [ERENS, P., 1980, p. 116]
"Hollywood," notes film critic Lester Friedman, "was a town dominated by Jews from its earliest days down to the present time." [FRIEDMAN, L., 1982, p. vii] As early as 1925, Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel "was the leading movie theatre impresario in America." [GABLER, N., 1988, p. PHOTO SECTION CAPTION] He was also known for his movie theatre "palaces." Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the iconic site where Hollywood stars dipped their hands and feet into fresh cement, was owned by Sid Grauman, also Jewish.
Early Jewish film directors are many, including Billy Wilder, Eric Von Stroheim, Josef Von Sternberg, Ernst Lubitsch, William Wyler, Hal Wallis, William Wanger, Robert Wise, Rouben Mamoulian, Robert Rossen, George Cukor, Sidney Lumet, and Cecil B. DeMille (who had a Jewish mother). In later years came Peter Bogdanovich (half-Jewish), William Friedkin, Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Penn, and many others. More recent Jewish academy award-winning directors include Sydney Pollack, Stephen Spielberg and Barry Levinson. Jewish influence in movie-making also has a strong international complexion: Polish-born Roman Polanski (Chinatown; and Czech-born Milos Forman (Amadeus) are among the many prominent movie directors who are also Jewish. Jews were also prominent, even dominant, in the pre-World War II years in the German film world (from which many Jewish filmmakers -- the likes of Fritz Lang and Otto Preminger -- moved to America). In Russia, "Mikhail Romm," notes Jewish scholar Barnet Litvinoff, "[was] considered the greatest Soviet filmmaker since his fellow-Jew, [Sergei] Eisenstein." [LITVINOFF, B., p. 86]
As Louis Rapoport notes:
"[Joseph Stalin] was not pleased by the fact that there was a highly
disproportionate number of Jews in the Soviet film industry, as in
the other arts: for example, directors Sergei Eisenstein, Mikhail Romm,
Mark Donsky, Leonid Lukov, and Yuli Reissman; actors and actresses
Faina Raneskaya, Mark Berness, Daniel Segal, Solomon Mikhoels, and
Benjamin Zuskin; scriptwriters Vasily Grossman (the novelist-journalist)
and Yevgency Gabrilovich; and cinematographer Boris Volchok."
[RAPOPORT, L., 1990, p. 82]
"The motion picture industry," notes Charles Silberman, "was largely a Jewish invention." [SILBERMAN, p. 147] "All the large Hollywood companies, with the exception of United Artists (a distribution company established by Hollywood actors who feared the big producers would restrict their artistic freedom) were founded and controlled by Jews," notes the Encyclopedia Judaica, [United Artists, however, was controlled by Jews later] ... An even more important influence in the film industry ... were the independent producers, among whom Jews were in the majority." [ENCY JUD, p. 445, 449]
In the earliest years of the movie and entertainment industry, Jewish filmmakers often popularized negative images of the Jewish community. "Some of the worst offenders," says Nathan Belth, "were themselves Jews." [BELTH, p. 46] The "so-called 'Jew movies' were produced at the rate of one every two week." [BELTH, p. 50] These centered on highly unflattering Jewish characters -- smugglers, robbers, lustful "Yiddish sports," and miserly swindlers. In 1916, the Anti-Defamation League convinced Carl Laemmle (the Jewish head of Universal film studios) to avoid making any movie that "held Jews up to ridicule or contempt ... By 1920 the policy enunciated by Laemmle became the general practice among movie makers." [BELTH, p. 50] (Even Jewish comedian Jack Benny's "tightwad" persona was a "Jewish character.") [FAINBOLD, N., 6-5-98]
"Despite the powerful Jewish role in [early] motion pictures," says Milton Plesur,
"that industry also had its anti-Semitic features. Whenever a producer wished to
depict a betrayer of public trust, a hard-boiled, usurious money lender, a
crooked gambler, a grafter, a depraved firebug, a white slaver, or other
villains of one kind or another, the charcter was often represented as a Jew ...
When one of the many theatres owned by Jews boycotted a movie with the
usual stereotypes, Rebecca's Wedding Day (Chicago, 1916), Hollywood
got the message and agreed to cease producing anti-Semitic films."
[PLESUR, M., 1982, p. 34]
Jews have long been active in establishing themselves and networking throughout the American theatrical and entertainment worlds. "The Broadway musical," says Charles Silberman, "generally considered the most characteristically American theatrical form, has been largely an American-Jewish creation ... Composers and lyricists who have given the Broadway musical its distinctive shape have almost all been Jews -- people such as Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Ira Gershwin, Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, and more recently Frederick Loewe, Marvin Hamlisch, and Stephen Sondheim. [SILBERMAN, p. 147] The team of Alan Jay Lerner and Fritz Loewe produced Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, Gigi, and other major musical plays. "The wellspring of the American musical," says Gene Lees, "is to be found in the opera-bouffee of Jacques Offenbach, a German Jew by birth though he lived and worked in Paris and his shows were in French." [LEES, G., 1990, p. 12] "With the exception of Cole Porter," notes the London Guardian, "almost every writer of musicals in the pre-rock [music] era was Jewish, even if their names sometimes suggested otherwise." [ARNOT, C., 10-4-2000, p. 6]
"At the turn of the century," Jewish performers Lewis Fields and Joe Weber "were the most beloved and ambitious of comedy teams." [FIELDS/FIELDS, p. xiii] Vaudeville star Sophie Tucker "raised several million dollars for Jewish causes." [ANTLER, J., 199,7, p. 140(d)] Unknown to most Americans, an estimated 80% of America's professional comedians in recent history were/are Jewish, [PLESUR, M., 1982, p. 170; SLAVIN, p. 18] from Milton Berle (Berlinger), Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), Woody Allen (Alan Konigsberg), Eddie Cantor (Isidore Iskowitz), Fanny Brice (Fania Borach), Pee Wee Herman (Paul Rubenfeld), Soupy Sales (Milton Hines), Joey Bishop (Joseph Abraham Gottleib), Buddy Hackett (Leonard Hacker), Alan King (Irwin Kniberg), Gene Wilder (Eugene Silverstein), Gilda Radner, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers (Molinsky), Jerry Lewis (Joseph Levitch), Mel Brooks, Pinky Lee, Billy Crystal, Totie Fields, Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt), Allen Sherman, Henny Youngman, Shecky Green, Zero Mostel, David Steinberg, Shelly Berman, Jack Carter, Mort Sahl, Myron Cohen, and Rodney Dangerfield (Jack Cohen) to the Marx Brothers and Three Stooges (Moe and Curly Howard/Hurwitz, and Larry Fineman). "Nearly all the American comedians and comediennes whose names have lingered," says Chaim Bermant, "from Fanny Brice to the Marx Brothers, and from Jack Benny to Lenny Bruce, have been Jews. If Hollywood was a Jewish industry, no part of it was so exclusively Jewish as laughter." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 101]
"When I started doing stand-up comedy in New York in 1978," says Mark Schiff,
"we created our own little shtetl. All I saw every night, either walking the streets
or in a comedy club, was mostly other Jewish comedians. About 80 percent
of the comics I worked with were Jewish. I personally knew a therapist that
was treating 10 different Jewish comics at the same time." [SCHIFF, M.,
Lenny (Leonard Schneider) Bruce's humor, says Barry Rubin, portrays "almost everyone [as] really Jewish, meaning different, oppressed, alienated. Gentiles were hypocrites, secret anti-Semites." [RUBIN, p. 110] John Stewart (Leibowitz) "is Generation X's Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce -- a comedian who unapologetically filters his political satire through a Jewish sensibility ... he sometimes refers to Christians as 'you people' ..." [FORWARD, 1-5-01]
Comedian Jackie Mason is even an ordained rabbi. He was an early supporter of political racist Meir Kahane. "Democratic principles shouldn't apply to Israel like they do to America," he told a Jewish journalist. [FRIEDMAN, R., 1990, p. 222] Early in her media career, talk-show host Sally Jessy Raphael interviewed Mason on a live radio broadcast:
"I was just beginning to feel that the interview was going pretty well
when all of a sudden he reached under my sweater, unhooked my
bra, and cupped my breasts in his hands. I was repelled. I was shocked.
I was scared. I was dumbfounded. But there was absolutely nothing I
could do about it but try to get the interview over as fast as I could. I
was on live radio, after all." [RAPHAEL, S., 1990, p. 21]
George Burns recalls the political activism of fellow Jewish comedians Georgie Jessel, Eddie Cantor and Jack Benny:
"George had just come back after raising something like $25,000,000
in bonds for the new nation of Israel. 'That's a lot of money, Georgie,'
I said, 'How'd you raise so much?
'It wasn't that difficult, Natty," he explained, "I just left no Cohen
unturned ... [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 178] One night, I remember, [Jack
Benny] had dinner at Cantor's house and Eddie started telling him about
Israeli Bonds. Jack made out a check right there for $25,000." [BURNS,
G., 1989, p. 203]
During the 1950s and 1960s, notes Irv Saposnik,
"Sid Caesar, Alan King, Morey Amsterdam, Jack Carter, Buddy
Hackett, Sam Levenson, Jackie Mason, Jan Murray, and Joey Bishop
(among others) became household fixtures. Suddenly, Jewish
comedians were everywhere: Milton Berle on the Texaco Star
Theatre, Eddie Cantor on the Colgate Comedy Hour, Sid Caesar
and company on Your Show of Shows, and a whole comic avalanche
on the Ed Sullivan Show ... Psychoanalysis and stand-up comedy
offer a distinct way of looking at the world. Both present the abnormal
as normal, the neurotic as necessary, the outsider as the true insider.
No wonder Jews invented both." [SAPOSNIK, 1998]
Joan Rivers explains the psychology of what she believes to be the successful comic who "makes it to the top":
"The conventional diagnosis of comics holds that they are
hypersensitive, angry, paranoid people who feel somehow cheated
of life's goodies and are laughing to keep from crying. I agree, but
I think comedy is more aggressive than that. It is a medium for
revenge. We can deflate and punish the pomposity and the rejection
which hurt us. Comedy is power. We can be in control... People
want to be around somebody who entertains them -- but
simultaneously they fear us. The only weapon more formidable
than humor is a gun ... [RIVERS, p. 24] ... If you have reached
the top in comedy, you are, in your own way, a killer -- but every
killer is bandaged. And the anger is never out of you." [RIVERS,
Mel Brooks is more explicit about this. As one news report noted:
"There's a very serious reason Mel Brooks makes so many jokes about being
Jewish. The writer-director of such classic films as 'Blazing Saddles' and
'History of the World: Part I' says his humor stems from a deep-seated
anger about anti-Semitism.
'Yes, I am a Jew. I AM a Jew,' he says on '60 Minutes,' which airs at
7 p.m. EDT Sunday on CBS. 'What about it? What's so wrong? What's
the matter with being a Jew? I think there's a lot of that way deep down
beneath all the quick Jewish jokes that I do.'" [ASSOCIATED PRESS,
4-12-01; updated 4-16-01]
Jewish comic Bobby Slayton, self-described as the "Pit bull of Comedy," noted a Phoenix newspaper in 1998, "despises conservative white Christians, and doesn't fear their warnings of hell 'because the Jews'll cater, the blacks'll entertain, the homos'll decorate, and it'll be one big fuckin' party." [MOORHEAD, M.V., 3-19-98] Another Jewish comedian, Robert Schimmel, was noted in 2000 as "America's newest comedy star, fresh off his first HBO special and his third major-label release." [SELVIN, J., 3-10-2000] "Schimmel," declared one reviewer, "is one of those men who leaves audiences breathless with his potty-mouth talk about fucking his daughter's boyfriend and jacking off to porn." Schimmel once talked about the death of his 11-year old son to cancer on the Howard Stern radio show, joking that "well, the Make-a-Wish Foundation came to us. Derek was really sick, and they wanted to make his wish come true. So I told them his wish was to watch Dolly Parton blow me." [SCHOENKOPF, R., 2-19-99, p. 29]
Jerry Sadowitz, a Jewish comedian from Great Britain, was "beaten up by members of his audience on stage in Canada for being so rude about the Francophone population." Sadowitz is also a British TV star. As the Times [of London] reported:
"'It's very childish and very offensive,' explained Sadowitz, when
asked to describe his new X-rated late-night sketch show, Bib and
and Bob." [EDWARDS-JONES, I., 4-25-98]
Another Jewish British comedian, Ian Stone, has a stand-up routine guaranteed to offend fellow Jews, entitled "A Little Piece of Kike." "I knew that using the word [kike] would get peoples' noses up," he says, "because they're Jewish noses, what noses!" [GIBB, E., 8-9-2000, p. 3]
As Rabbi Daniel Lapin complains, "Some of the most notoriously foul-mouthed and obscene-minded entertainers are Jewish and earn no reproof for their public aggrandizement of filth." [LAPIN, D., 1999, p. 293] "From the first," adds Jewish author Ellen Schiff, "Jewish comedians and comediennes have provoked laughter by breaking the rules. They are loud and vulgar; they shamelessly call attention to their physicality ... [SCHIFF, E., 1986, p. 95] ... The caricatured comic Jew who pokes fun at himself (and everything else) as one ethnic among others is essentially an American Jewish creation. Responding both to opportunity (theatres by the turn of the present century were largely controlled by Jews) and to cultural conditioning ... Jewish performers scored conspicuous success in vaudeville and burlesque as well as in drama." [SCHIFF, E., 1986, p. 84] As the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California noted about Jewish author Arthur Asa Berger (author of "The Genius of the Jewish Joke") and the Jewish impact on American humor:
"While assimilation is a big concern in the Jewish community, Berger contends
that conversely, Jewish culture has 'Yiddishized American humor.' 'When Jews
disappear,' he joked, 'the Jewish humor will be written by non-Jews because
they've been Yiddishized and they'll be able to carry it on." [FAINGOLD, N.,
Long time Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, noted biographer Laurence Leamer, "had something else going for him. He was a WASP in a profession full of Jewish comedians. The television executives knew that much of their audience was in Topeka and Peoria and other stations in the heartland, where the borscht belt was considered an item of apparel." [LEAMER, L., 1989, p. 135] Even the people writing the jokes for comedians have usually been Jewish. "A lot of great comedy writers started in radio," noted comedian George Burns. "For some reason, a lot of them were Jewish." [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 138] (Among Burns' own "top writers" was fellow Jew Sid Dorfman). [RANDALL, T., 1989, p. 123]
"The storefront theatres of the late teens were transformed into the movie palaces of the twenties by Jewish exhibitors," says Neal Gabler about the early twentieth century, "And when the sound movies commandeered the industry, Hollywood was invaded by a battalion of Jewish writers, mostly from the East. The most powerful talent agencies were run by Jews." "Jews," notes Joel Kotkin, "also accounted for a large portion of the agents and, often working under Anglicized names, many of the actors as well." [KOTKIN, p. 60] The most pre-eminent "talent agency," the William Morris Agency was founded by Zelman Moses -- who renamed himself William Morris. Its major modern day rival, Creative Artists Agency, was founded in 1975 by another Jewish entrepreneur, Michael Ovitz, and other defectors from the parent firm. Yet another who got his start at William Morris was David Geffen, who has risen to become one of the biggest record company, and mass media, executives in Hollywood. At powerful William Morris, "it was no accident," says Frank Rose, "that a mostly Jewish agency handling mostly Jewish performers in a business that smacked of the underworld should employ an Episcopalian ... to sell its acts to Madison Avenue." [ROSE, p. 70] (This strategy closely parallels that of Sigmund Freud's early psychoanalytic movement when it was almost all Jewish. Freud appealed to his Jewish followers, explaining the reason he selected non-Jew Karl Jung to head the International Psychoanalytic Association: "Most of you are Jews, and therefore you are incompetent to win friends for the new teaching ... It is absolutely essential that I should form ties in the world of general science." [GROLLMAN, E., 1965, p. 101] This strategy of hiding the Jewish hand has also been true in the Jewish-dominated world of socialism and communism. As Jewish scholars Stanley Rothman and S. Robet Lichter note: "The same pattern characterized the Socialist Party of America. Until 1918 SPA drew its greatest relative strength from non-Jewish areas of the country. Nonetheless, Jews already dominated the party's organization, aside from the very top leadership (i.e., Eugene Debs and his immediate followers). By 1920 Jews constituted the main prop of both the party leadershp and cadres, a position they maintained through the 1960s. They tended to avoid the very top leadership positions, however, lest attempts to develop a broader base be weakened ... The American Communist party would soon follow the same pattern ... Indeed, when instructed to change their names for party purposes, most American Jewish communists chose non-Jewish pseudonyms." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 99, 100] )
Indeed, a Jewish criminal underworld, as well as (to a lesser degree) the Italian mafia, has long held influence in Hollywood [see, for example, Dan Moldea's Dark Victory, focusing on MCA, about the subject] and its Nevada playground, Las Vegas. In a battle for Columbia Pictures between brothers Harry and Jack Cohn in the late 1930s, for instance, Harry received economic help from Jewish "crime boss" Abner Zwillman. [MOLDEA, p. 88] Mobster Joseph Stacher was also a "silent partner" in the firm. [MCDOUGAL, p. 420] Joseph Schenck, also Jewish, the head of 20th Century Fox, was "convicted of perjury during government investigations into bribes he and other studio bosses had paid to ... union racketeers connected with the mafia." [WOLFE, D., p. 197] "Behind the case was union business," says Mary Ellin Barrett (Schenck's "god daughter"), " the paying off of racketeers to grease the wheels of Hollywood productions, something all the big studios, including 20th-Century Fox, were suspected of doing. 'Joe took the rap for a lot of guys,' my father [Irving Berlin] would say later, and try to explain how it was that Uncle Joe, though engaged in quesitonable dealings, had been a form of Hollywood hero; that the other studio chiefs, also dealing in illegal payoffs, had families; Joe, the only one without children, had volunteered to stand for the rest." [BARRETT, M. 1994, p. 196]
William Fox, of 20th Century Fox, spent five months in prison for tax evasion in 1943. [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 419] And when Jewish "labor lawyer Sidney Korshak ... arrived in Hollywood [in the 1940s]," says Dan Moldea, "a new, more ambitious and sophisticated era of the Mafia's penetration of the film industry had begun." [MOLDEA, p. 86] Korshak had connections and friends throughout the Hollywood world. "To scores of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials," wrote Seymour Hersh, "Korshak is the most important link between organized crime and legitimate business." [MOLDEA, p. 278] In 1978 a California Attorney General report listed Korshak as one of the "Mob figures" in the state. [MCDOUGAL, p. 420]
Among those many in Hollywood who worked with Korshak was Charles Bluhdorn, who had gained control of Gulf +Western (of which Paramount studios became a subsidiary) in 1966. "Bluhdorn seemed to have few qualms about turning to gray money," says Peter Biskind, "He was under investigated by the SEC through the '70s, and he was close to Korshak, the real Godfather of Hollywood ... [BISKIND, p. 144] ... Everyone who worked for him was certain [Bluhdorn] was Jewish, but he took great pains to conceal it. Mob lawyer Sidney Korshak told [producer Robert] Evans that his sister went to synagogue with Bluhdorn in Chicago, but the Gulf + Western chief always professed ignorance of Jewish holidays." [BISKIND, p. 143] Film director Don Simpson called Bluhdorn a "mean, despicable, unethical, evil man ... He had no problem breaking the law. He was a criminal." [BISKIND, p. 144]
(Bluhdorn's Gulf + Western corporation was a many-tentacled monster. "There is hardly a major issue in the news that does not affect Gulf + Western," noted investigative journalist Ben Bagdikian in 1983, "Almost every American buys the company's goods." [BAGDIKIAN, p. 31] The company controlled over 100 other firms, including TV production center Desilu Productions, clothing lines Kayser-Roth, Catalina, Cole of California, Jonathan Logan, Oscar de la Renta; nuclear power and mining interests; racetracks, professional sports teams, insurance companies, farm supplies, and missile parts. "It once owned 50 percent of UPITN, which provided television news for networks in eighty countries ... and it owns 8 percent of the arable land of the Dominican Republic." [BAGDIKIAN, p. 30-31])
Eventually Paramount's (Jewish) head of production, Robert Evans, decided to do a film version of the popular book about the Italian mafia, The Godfather. But when he and the number two man at Paramount, Peter Bart (also Jewish), "screened [old] mob movies, [they] realized they had all been written and directed by Jews. Evans concluded he needed an Italian if he was going to 'smell the spaghetti.'" [BISKIND, p. 142] Enter Francis Ford Coppola.
Noting the importance of being Jewish in Hollywood, in 1994 William Cash noted (in a British journal, The Spectator) that:
"In Hollywood, the most obvious Jewish Club are in the sideshows,
the lawyers, talent agencies, and management and production offices.
Birgit Cunningham ... told me that when she worked as a personal
assistant to Vic Sutton, the Jewish head of the fast track LA
commercial talent agency, Sutten, Barth and Vennari, her boss
would often -- if signing a deal -- bluntly ask if they were Jewish.
'I was surprised,' she said, 'I mean, in England, you'd never hear
someone ask, 'Are you Anglican?'" [CASH, p. 15]
Throughout the history of Hollywood, note David Desser and Lester Friedman, "the Jewish film producers, known not entirely affectionately as movie moguls, employed a veritable army of talent both in front of and behind the camera, many of whom were Jewish. The number of Jewish writers and actors, in particular, is amazing, as are the number of [Jewish] émigré directors who started in the 1920s." [DESSER, p. 27]
Among Hollywood's many public promotions is Sigmund Freud's theories of psychoanalysis. [See earlier chapter on its use in Jewish theories of anti-Semitism] The New York Times notes that "since the 1920s Hollywood has been fascinated -- off and on screen -- by psychiatry ... Despite the erratic matter in which it was practiced, psychoanalysis struck a chord with the Hollywood elite. Writers were particularly enthralled by the new science." [FARBER, p. 22] "As they evangelized psychoanalysis," note Stephen Farber and Marc Green, "the Hollywood elite led the way in making the Freudian science -- with all its contemporary offshoots -- an integral part of American life." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 7] "Suddenly," says Dr. Louis Jolyon West, "psychoanalysis was no longer seen as a quaint and slightly perverted Jewish conspiracy to subvert the world's morals. After World War II, psychiatry became respectable." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 70]
How entwined this secular Jewish world view of guilt, sexuality, and neurosis has been in the heart of Hollywood may be measured in the flurry of 1990s books about the subject, including titles like Farber and Green's Hollywood on the Couch; Lebeau's Lost Angels: Psychoanalysis and Cinema; Bergstrom’s Endless Nights: Cinema and Psychoanalysis; and Kaplan's Psychoanalysis and Cinema. Among the most obvious of the self-conscious psychoanalysis promoters is director/actor Woody Allen, whose stereotypical on-screen neurotic Jewish persona centers on psychotherapists to explain the world to him. In real life, notes Allen's former lover, Mia Farrow, "that Woody had been in psychoanalysis two or three times a week for about thirty years was astonishing to me." [FARROW, p. 223-224]
Among the prominent Jewish psychoanalysts who have set up shop in Tinseltown over the years included Otto Fenichel and Ernst Simmel (see earlier chapter about their thoughts on anti-Semitism), Karl Menninger, Margaret Hohnehberg, Lawrence Kubie, Philip Solomon, Joshua Hoffs, Leo Rangell, Rudolph Loewenstein, Mildred Newman, Bernard Berkowitz, and David Rubenfine. May Rom (originally: Minyetta Belyoshi Ichi Minya M'Aike) set up her practice in Hollywood in 1946.
Jewish therapist Frederick Hacker set up a clinic in Beverly Hills and was "the first analyst to become a millionaire" in Hollywood. [FARBER/GREEN, p. 118] Analyst Milton Wexler was struggling for years to hustle one of his own screenplays; he finally found a taker in one of his own patients, director Blake Edwards. [FARBER/GREEN, p. 215] Another Jewish therapist, Gregory Zilboorg, exploited one vulnerable patient so much that he "was making himself the manager of his patient's business." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 63] When O.J. Simpson was jailed after accusations that he murdered his wife, therapist Saul Faerstein outraged Simpson's lawyers with a bill for $25,000 for his first month of part-time work with the notorious patient. [SCHILLER/WILLWERTH, p. 165] Jewish director/screenwriter Norah Ephron even married her psychiatrist. [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 63] (She was also once the wife of famous Washington investigative journalist Carl Bernstein). [GROSSVOGEL, D., 2000, p. 184] Actress Esther Williams (and Cary Grant) first took LSD in 1959 as experiments at the Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills, headed by Mortimer Hartman and Arthur Chandler. [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 12]
Another therapist, Eugene Landy, raised eyebrows by claiming 25 percent of royalties on some of his patient's songs: Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. [FARBER/GREEN, p. 216] Landy's therapy fee was $5 a minute ($300 an hour). [WILSON, p. 276] Between 1983 and 1986 he was paid $35,000 a month ($420,000 a year). Landy also became a half partner with Wilson in a "creative partnership" to share profits in "recordings, films, soundtracks, or books." In addition, he was also paid $150,000 a year from 1987-1991 from a special Beach Boys fund. In sum, he made nearly $3 million as Wilson's psychoanalyst. [HILBURN, p. 63]
Wilson, burned out on drugs in the 1980s, had ceded complete control of his life to his therapist. Landy's accountant's son, Scott Steinberg, even moved in with Wilson to oversee his personal world. Therapist Landy became Wilson's "executive producer, co-producer, business manager, co-songwriter, and business adviser." [WILSON, p. 351] Pushed by fellow Beach Boys and Wilson's wife, the Board of Medical Quality Assurance, a California medical ethics organization, eventually charged Landy with unethical conduct. Landy surrendered his license to practice therapy for two years. [WILSON, p. 352] Other Jewish therapists, at various times, for the famous Beach Boy included Harold Bloomfield, Solon Samuels, and Lee Baumel.
(The economic exploitation of vulnerable patients by their psychoanalysts is apparently an ethical norm of the psychoanalytic community. At a meeting of the International Psychoanalytic Association, Jewish psychoanalyst Jeffrey Moussaoeff Masson notes his initial introduction to the "political realities of psychoanalysis. I ought not to have been shocked, but I was. As I've indicated earlier, I knew of the practice of soliciting money from patients, but this was the first time I was directly involved. About twenty analysts, most of them holding some official position or other, had gathered together to discuss the funding of the new chair of psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. A million-dollar endowment was needed. How to get it? The solution, said one prominent analyst from Chicago, was easy, and had been used several times. 'I would ask each of you to compose a list of your wealthiest patients, with their names, addresses and phone numbers. We will then circulate this list within this group. The next stage is for some of us to contact these people, without, of course, telling them how we have their names, and asking them if they wish to donate money for the chair.' This was, by any standard I knew, unethical behavior, but nobody in the room voiced any objection." [MASSON, J. M., 1990, p. 187-188])
Such a profiteer of the therapist-patient bond was George Pollock (president of both the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and the American Psychiatric Association), who was eventually sued by the son of one of his deceased patients (Anne Lederer) who claimed that the "doctor" brainwashed his mother into leaving him her fortune. Jewish therapists Martin Wasserman and Melvin Heller also entered lucrative careers as "media consultants." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 242] Another, analyst Carol Liebeman, started out as a cabaret singer. She remained a member of the Writers' Guild of America and ran ads in its house organ, noting her psychological services to improve screenplays. Therapist Evelyn Silvers even started out as a fashion model, and was a pretty backdrop for TV's "The $64,000 Question." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 290] New York therapist Louise Kaplan's book, entitled Female Perversions, was translated into a movie in 1997. Directed and co-screen written by Susan Streitfeld, the film features "a sexy, high-powered attorney who sleeps with both men and women." [SKALR, R., 1997, p. 9]
Dr. Martin Grotjahn counted Warren Beatty, Vivian Leigh, Danny Kaye, David Geffen, and many others as patients. Phil Cohen had Sterling Hayden, Lloyd Bridges, John Garfield, among others. Judy Garland's Jewish psychoanalysts included Ernst Simmel ("five days a week on her way to work") and Herbert Kupper. She first went to one at the encouragement of her lover, Joseph Mankiewicz, also Jewish. [SHIPMAN, 1993, p. 142] Another therapist, Frederick Hacker, used "to accompany Garland to [her movie] rushes, where she judged her work." [SHIPMAN, 1993, p. 201]
Marilyn Monroe is another who fell under the dominance of a string of Jewish analysts, and a Jewish world, including, most famously, Ralph Greenson (born: Romeo Greenschpoon) who was her therapist when she (allegedly) committed suicide. "Like many of his colleagues at the time," notes a Good Housekeeping review of a book by Donald Spoto about Marilyn,
"Greenson relied heavily on drug therapy for his patients, routinely
prescribing barbiturates and tranquilizers or having patients' other
doctors do so. He referred Marilyn to internist Hyman Engelberg
[also Jewish], who prescribed many of the medications Greenson
ordered for her. Greenson would also regularly meet with Marilyn
at his home and even asked his daughter to befriend her, disastrously
unprofessional tactics that increased Marilyn's dependency on him ...
Her friends noticed that the more Marilyn saw Greenson, the more
miserable she became ... Greenson encouraged Marilyn's deep
dependency on him (he was seeing her twice daily)." [GOOD
HOUSEKEEPING, 1993, p. 212, 214]
The incestuous nature of Hollywood life may be noted in Greenson's case: his sister Elizabeth "was married to Milton 'Mickey' Rudin, an entertainment attorney who was one of the town's major power brokers." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 93] Rudin was Jewish and also Monroe's lawyer. He was also an attorney and publicist for Frank Sinatra, who, early in his career, was also a patient of Ralph Greenson. [KELLEY, K., p. 208, 305]
Marilyn Monroe's publicist, Arthur Jacobs, was also Jewish. So were her agents at MCA, Jay Kanter and Mort Viner. Many of the directors of her films were also Jews (for example, Billy Wilder of Some Like It Hot and George Cukor of Let's Make Love). Natasha Lytess, her personal manager, and a woman she lived with at one time in Hollywood, was the subject of talk about Monroe's rumored lesbianism. Lytess was also Jewish, from Austria. [LEAMING, p. 31] In the quest for Monroe's career, says Barbara Leaming, "Marilyn's relationship with Nathasa was ... mutually exploitive." [LEAMING, p. 31] Milton Greene, also Jewish, a fashion photographer "with whom she'd reportedly had a fling during the late forties," was another early personal manager. [MCDOUGAL, p. 216] Charles Feldman was also once her agent.
Monroe, early in life, had resolved to sleep with anyone who could help her attain fame and fortune in Hollywood. Close friend Ted Jordan notes that she had "sex with anybody she thought might be able to advance her career." [JORDAN, p. 121] "It is clear," notes Anthony Summers in his biography of her,
"that Marilyn made judicious use of her favors. A key beneficiary,
reportedly, was the man who got Marilyn that vital first contract at
Fox -- Ben Lyon. According to writer Sheila Graham, Lyon had
been sleeping with Marilyn and promising to further her career...
Lyon called the casting director for Sol Wurtzel, a B-movie producer
of the time [and Monroe was awarded a small part in the 1947 film
Dangerous Years]." [SUMMERS, A., 1985, p. 35]
Garment millionaire Henry Rosenfeld was another Jewish sex partner on the road to fame. "She would join Rosenfeld at his home in Atlantic City for trips in his speedboat and for quiet evenings of talk and laughter." [SUMMERS, A., p. 45] Jewish mobster, and Hollywood powerbroker, Bugsy Siegel also had sex with Marilyn. [JORDAN, p. 84, 87] Ted Jordan (born Edward Friedman) even wrote a book about his early sexual experiences with Monroe -- they began on his fourth date with her when she was 17. Then known by her real name, Norma Jean, Monroe was soon sleeping with Friedman's uncle, Ted Lewis (original name also Friedman), who, "with his clarinet and distinctive style of old favorites, was among the hottest acts in show business." [JORDAN, p. 73]
"I learned," says Jordan,
"that at one point in their little backstage meeting, Ted had slipped
Norma Jean a piece of paper with his telephone number on it. Soon
they were meeting in hotel rooms whenever Ted was in town ... Soon
he was pulling strings for Norma Jean, trying to hook her up with an
agent who would do her the most good ... As Norma Jean had vowed
to me, whoever she had to fuck, she was prepared to do it. And, for
good measure, she did the same with [prominent, and Jewish, gossip
columnist] Walter Winchell." [JORDAN, p. 75]
Lewis, notes Jordan, "began an affair with the then-unknown model and introduced her to narcotics." [JORDAN, photo section] A key agent in accelerating Monroe's early career was Johnny Hyde (like many Hollywood Jews, born in Russia, and a veteran of vaudeville.) She was also his mistress -- he soon fell in love with her, and wanted to leave his wife for the actress. (He was 53, she was 23). Hyde, notes Ted Jordan, "not so coincidentally ... was Ted Lewis' personal manager." [JORDAN, p. 85] "In making Marilyn known," says Fred Guiles, "[Hyde] flexed a lot of muscle. The simple fact is that Johnny Hyde was the chief architect of her fame and her eventual legend." [GUILES, p. 147]
"By 1953," says Jordan,
"... [Monroe] could be virulently anti-Semitic (a prejudice that grew
as she got older). To my discomfort she would sometimes refer to
Joe Schenck, the mogul [and another sexual stepping stone], as 'that Jew
shit' and to other Hollywood personalities as 'Jew' this or that.
Occasionally I would have to remind her that I was half Jewish."
[JORDAN, p. 188]
The Hollywood world and its pressures of being a sex goddess of course destroyed her. Monroe's physician Hyman Engelberg and her therapist Romeo Greenson were the first to her death scene, reported to be a drug overdose, but they didn't call police for four hours. One investigative author, Donald Spoto, in a 1993 work, even burdens Greenson with the responsibility for killing her, directing that a female employee "administer [to Monroe] ... a fatal barbiturate-laced enema." (In this scenario, Greenson's motivation was that Monroe was trying to free herself from Greenson's influence and control, and had fired him.) [WOLFE, D., p. 99] In this scenario too, Monroe did not realize that this enema was abnormal. [SPOTO, D., 1993, p. 218] A friend of Monroe's recalls that she was beginning to feel that Greenson was "trying to substitute himself for everything she'd built up those past years. She decided he was anti-everything she wanted. She was radically turning on Greenson and Mrs. Murray, the woman he'd put with her, she felt, to spy on her." [STRASBERG, p. 250-251])
The famous movie star's alleged suicide has always been controversial, and there are various conspiracy notions about who would want her dead. Greenson's secret life is much clouded. As well as being a therapist, he was, like a number of Hollywood people, an activist Communist Party member; he was also part of its international Comintern. Whatever Greenson's role as a listener of movie star's confessionals, his communist ties have profound implications because Monroe had romantic affairs with President John F. Kennedy and knew a great deal about behind-the-scenes politicking, perhaps including plans against communist Cuba and Fidel Castro. Everything Monroe knew, per "opening up" in therapy, she undoubtedly told her psychotherapist. As Donald Wolfe notes:
"Once Marilyn Monroe became Greenson's patient, he became one of
the most important Comintern operatives in America; he had access
to the mind of a woman who often shared the bed with the president
of the United States and was an intimate of the attorney general
[Kennedy's brother, Robert] ... As Greenson has correctly stated,
Marilyn Monroe had a tendency to 'get involved with very destructive
people, who will engage in some sort of sado-masochistic relationship
with her.' Ironically, among these people was her psychiatrist
[Greenson], her physician [Engelberg], and her housekeeper, Eunice
Murray [who was appointed by Greenson to live with Ms. Monroe
and report back to him], who joined in a conspiracy to survey
Marilyn Monroe within a sphere of influence designed to gather
intelligence from her relationship with the president of the United
States and the attorney general." [WOLFE, D., p. 386]
Greenson, once noted his sister, Elizabeth, also had "strong ties to Israel." [KELLEY, K., p. 305]
Marilyn Monroe's road to psychoanalysis was directed upon her by the influential Jewish acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, who is usually credited with spawning the "method acting" genre, made famous by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean. Brando's first Jewish analyst, says the famous actor, early in his career, was Bela Mittelman, "the coldest man I've ever known ... [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 124] ... Acting afforded me the luxury of being able to spend thousands of dollars on psychoanalysts, most of whom did nothing but convince me that most New York and Beverly Hills psychoanalysts are a little crazy themselves, as well as highly motivated to separate patients from their money while making their emotional problems worse." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 243] Brando was not much endeared to Lee Strasberg either, calling him "an ambitious, selfish man who exploited the people who attended the Actors Studio, and he tried to project himself as an acting oracle and guru. Some people worshiped him, but I never knew why.") [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 85]
Strasberg's daughter, Susan, notes that her father "sent numerous actors to psychiatrists, and many doctors sent their patients to class because they felt his work helped theirs in analysis." [STRASBERG, S., 31] Susan Strasberg herself used to argue with Marilyn Monroe about whether she or the famous sex goddess "needed therapy more." [STRASBERG, p. 138] As Barbara Leaming observes:
"It was said that the master teacher Lee Strasberg could open
inner doors that one scarcely knew existed. Some admirers called
him the Rabbi. Some compared him to a psychiatrist or a highly
judgmental Jewish father ... Strasberg focused on psychology.
He ran his workshop as though they were group therapy sessions...
Strasberg often advised actors to enter psychoanalysis in order
to put them in touch with emotionally-charged material they could
use in their work." [LEAMING, p. 156-157]
"Under [Lee] Strasberg's influence," note Stephen Farber and Marc Green, "Marilyn became an earnest devotee not just of method acting, but of Freudian analysis as well." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 83] Monroe's one-time husband, Jewish playwright Arthur Miller, also had his own Jewish psychoanalyst: Rudolph Loewenstein. [WOLFE, D., p. 307] Monroe even had sessions with Sigmund's Freud daughter, Anna, also a therapist, in London. [WOLFE, D., p. 300] "The significance of [Monroe's reliance on psychoanalysts] for psychoanalysis," notes Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, "was that Monroe left a substantial part of her estate to further the work of Anna Freud, whom she had seen briefly for analytic help in 1956 (Anna Freud wrote about her that she was paranoid with schizophrenic traits), and this bequest was undoubtedly achieved through her analysts, who were intimately connected to Anna Freud." [MASSON, J. M., 1990, p. 129]
As Masson, a former offical at the Sigmund Freud Archives, further notes about the ethical undercurrent of such funding:
"It is not, in fact, uncommon for analysts to solicit, usually through
roundabout methods, former patients for money to support analytic
projects. Chairs of psychoanalysis in medical schools at various
universities have been partially endowed through former patients.
There was also the case of the Centenary Fund, named for the
centenary, in 1956, of Freud's birth. [Marilyn Monroe's therapist]
Romi Greenson had organized this fund for psychoanalytic research
in Los Angeles ... I felt then, and still do now, that it is an exploitation
of the emotional relationship with a patient to solicit money, in whatever
form, directly or indirectly. It seems to me that the patient, or ex-patient,
is in no position, emotionally speaking, to refuse ... I find it wrong and
morally distasteful." [MASSON, J. M., 1990, p. 130]
Another Jewish Hollywood therapist, Judd Marmor (born Judah Marmorstein), candidly wrote an article in 1953 about the trap vulnerable patients would inevitably find themselves in under the control of a psychoanalyst. Its theme we have run across before, as being quintessentially "Jewish." Marmor's piece was entitled "The Feeling of Superiority: An Occupational Hazard in the Practice of Psychotherapy." "Marmor," note Stephen Farber and Marc Green, "pointed out the neurotic needs that may drive a person to become a psychiatrist -- a hunger for prestige as well as a desire to solve one's own internal conflicts." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 135] "[The] ego-seductive aspects [of the field of psychoanalysis]," noted Marmor, "tend to foster such defensive arrogance to a greater extent, perhaps, than do many other professions." [FARBER/GREEN, p. 135] A Monroe friend once stated that "I felt [Ralph Greenson] had a big ego, like a lot of doctors he wanted to be God, and of all the analysts in L.A. she found him. Inger Stevens was his patient too. She killed herself later." [STRASBERG, p. 250] As Greenson, Monroe's analyst, once claimed, "I can count Marilyn to do anything I want her to do." [WOLFE, D., p. 422]
"I was a patient of five different psychiatrists," says Marlon Brando,
"Based on my experience, most psychiatrists are people who feel
comfortable trying to control other people because they can't handle
themselves. Their experiences have overwhelmed them and they believe
they will be able to cope only if they are in a controlling position over
others. I've known a lot of them, and some of them have been among
the nuttiest people I've ever met ... [One of them] spent a lot of our
sessions asking for money." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 366]
Yet another tragic Hollywood movie star "goddess" driven to a psychological abyss was Frances Farmer, one of the most famous film faces of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Farmer's demise is particularly disturbing. Ardent rebel and idealist, she was attracted to the largely Jewish New York communist world before she became a movie celebrity, even visiting Moscow in 1935. Attracted to serious theatre, in New York she was "escorted around the city by a delegation of local communist leaders and -- through an introduction written by [Jewish friend] Sophie Rosenstein -- [Farmer] got herself invited to a party given by members of her cherished left-wing Group Theatre" where she first met famous Jewish playwright Clifford Odets. [ARNOLD, W., p. 50] (Supposedly anti-capitalist and anti-materialist, the Group Theatre grew out of meetings at Harold Clurman's home. Eventually he, fellow Jew Lee Strasberg and "WASP shiksa" Cheryl Crawford were the Group's early directors. [SMITH, W., p. 213, photo] Clurman was also the aforementioned Stella Adler's husband.) William Arnold notes the illusory idealism of the famous (largely Jewish) Group Theatre: "The Group actors, far from being the artistic purists [Farmer] had always believed them to be, all seemed to want to go to Hollywood and make piles of money (which, eventually, most of them did)." [ARNOLD, W., p. 90]
Both Farmer's mother and sister Edith believed that such "communists" destroyed her. [ARNOLD, W., p. 94] (For her part, Frances despised her mother and placed enormous blame for her troubles upon her. In the third page of her biography she even quotes a "Jewish saying" about mothers, and bemoans her lack of a good one). [FARMER, p. 12] William Arnold, who interviewed sister Edith, notes that she believed "the Communists drove Frances crazy. [Edith] seemed particularly bitter towards the Group Theatre and its left-wing members who, she said, took criminal advantage of France's kind nature and then harassed her into insanity." [ARNOLD, W., p. 94] During the McCarthy-era communist probes, eight Group Theatre members were identified as members of a communist cell -- Joe Bromberg and Lewis Leverett were its "co-leaders." [SMITH, W., p. 157] (Generally speaking, Jewish left-wing radical Saul Alinsky once noted that "few of us survived the Joe McCarthy holocaust of the early 1950s.") [ALINSKY, S., 1971, p. xiii]
Farmer's rise to acting stardom was meteoric. Within two weeks of moving to New York City to live, and within weeks of returning from Moscow, she was signed by agent Shepard Traube who managed to get her hired by Paramount Pictures top talent scout in New York, Oscar Serlin. Although Farmer reached Hollywood stardom by age 21 (with the film "Come and Get It" in 1936), she returned to New York -- because of personal conviction to the legitimate theatre, and for little pay -- to star in Odet's play entitled Golden Boy. The largely Jewish cast, some with changed names, included Luther Adler, Morris Carnovsky, Phoebe Brand, Lee J. Cobb (born Lee Jacob), John Garfield (Garfinkel), Martin Ritt, Howard Da Silva, Robert Lewis, Michael Gordon, and Roman Bohmen. By now too, Farmer had begun a troubling affair with Odets, a married man -- a relationship that was to hasten her road to psychological destruction and a mental institution. In her autobiography, Farmer wrote that:
"Odets was a strange, almost ugly man, but he was everything I
could ever imagine, at the time, admirable in a man. He was a fiery,
fascinating intellect with strange sexual drives, and I reacted like a
smitten schoolgirl. I believed in him passionately ... I drowned myself
in his doctrines and political theories, and had he not severed the
affair, I probably would have followed him to his far-left politics...
Odets maneuvered me as he would a character in one of his plays.
He toyed with my attitudes and reactions. He was a psychological
button-pusher ... One moment he would marvel at my brilliance and
minutes later he would curse me for my stupidity. Sometimes, locked
with me in his apartment, he would plead like a schoolboy for
love and favors, and then, suddenly and with insulting accusations,
he would assault me as if I was a streetwalker ... He would insult
me in front of everyone, belittling my performance [in Golden Boy],
and he was satisfied only when he had reduced me to tears and set
me sobbing to my dressing room.
There were times after such incidents when he would not speak
to me for two or three days. At other times, he would force his way into
my dressing room and make a great point of not only locking the door
behind him, but further securing the room by propping a chair under
the doorknob, and then he would tear off his clothes and scream his
love and need for me with all the fire and passion of a Rococo Thespian.
He would threaten to take his life and mine, unless I loved him...
His sexual appetite was a complicated maze of weird manipulations.
He would deftly maneuver me to a point of fulfillment, then
withdraw and mock what he termed my base and disgusting desires.
After searing my feminine spirit in this bed of humiliation and
degrading me in every possible manner, he would begin again with
the shyness of an innocent lad and explore me with tender
This was no ordinary man. He was a creature who pried open the
psyche with the intention of sticking it with pins. I cannot say that I
loved him; a more apt description would be a passionate hatred
coupled with a physical fascination. Whatever it was, it did much to
destroy me. Whereas I had once lived secure within myself, after
Odets I became a bundle of raw hesitant nerves, confused and
almost without purpose." [FARMER, p. 193-194]
"Looking back," notes Margaret Brenman-Gibson, "Group members, all of whom had watched the [Farmer-Odets] affair with unusual concern, agreed that this seemed to be the trigger for her life's descent, during which she became addicted to alcohol and to drugs, was jailed, reviled, beaten, and for seven years, institutionalized by her mother as a lunatic." [BRENMAN-GIBSON, p. 579] As one Group member recalled, Odets was "so kind and tender a man who obviously revered his dead mother and whose empathy with women could be so delicate, could nevertheless be so exploitively cruel with some women." [BRENMAN-GIBSON, p. 579] A Farmer wrote herself, "My artistic id was clobbered to shreds and the emotional trauma with Odets finished the job." [FARMER, p. 578] Institutionalized against her will, Farmer endured electroshock therapy, various drugs, and possibly a lobotomy.
She died in 1970. A decade later, Farmer's horrifying story was afforded renewed interest in Hollywood. Jewish producer/comedian Mel Brooks embarked on a movie project (Frances, starring Jessica Lange). Brooks' film featured a character named Harry York who "appears repeatedly to bed and befriend the doomed actress Frances Farmer in her downroad spiral through alcohol, despair and a Dickensian insane asylum." [HAMMER/PILCHER, p. 38] William Arnold, author of a biography of Farmer (Shadowlands) eventually sued Brooks and his partners (Jonathan Sanger and Marie Yates), charging that the York character was an invention in order to avoid linking the film's screenplay to Arnold's book. "The lawsuit," said People Weekly, "raises doubts about the business practices of Mel Brooks, whose company produced Frances -- and about the veracity of the film itself." [HAMMER/PILCHER, p. 38] The Harry York character was eventually declared by the Brooks team to be a real-life character, Stewart Jacobson, an ex-convict and convicted pimp who claimed to know Farmer as far back as high school. The outlandish assertions made by Jacobson (highlighted in his claim to have set up a Farmer affair with Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas), charged Arnold, was merely a contrivance for "stealing my book." "Mel Brooks is a crook and an incredible cheat," agreed producer Noel Marshall, who was scheduled to originally produce the film.
The Jewish business network that built Hollywood, observes Claire Pajaczkowska, "provided an opportunity for a relatively small managerial elite to formulate American culture as it should or could be. It has been said that 'Hollywood' -- the American Dream -- is a Jewish idea in a sense; it's a Jewish revenge on America. The genius of future moguls was a complex one, partly sheer business ingenuity, partly ruthless risk taking, and a kind of competitive solidarity.... They were also closely associated with the meretricious, ostentation of the industry, with poor morals, bad taste, and the industrialization of art." [PAJACZKOWSKA, p. 238] As Marlon Brando once noted, "I've never had any respect for Hollywood. It stands for avarice, phoniness, greed, crassness and bad taste." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 153-154] Or as film critic Kenneth Turan noted in an introduction to David Freeman's book A Hollywood Education: "Freeman knows that the movie business is more than any old conniver's paradise, it is one where the grail is a whole new persona. Because stakes are so high, because 'in Hollywood, what you succeed with and what you fail with are virtually the same,' everything, even your most personal life, is a viable tool to get ahead. Mind games, hidden agendas, backstabbings, and all around venality, they all pass without so much as a second glance. Everything is excused in pursuit of the dream." [FREEMAN, D., 1992, p. 7]
"[A]s I heard about Hollywood," wrote prominent science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, in a reflecion on his career, "I liked it even less. Walter Bradbury of Doubleday would travel to Hollywood once a year on business. When I had lunch with him after such a visit, he would be drawn and strained. He hated the people he had to deal with there, phonies, one and all, he said, and not to be trusted an inch." [ASIMOV, I., 1994, p. 365]
The literary critic Edmund Wilson wrote
"Perelman; Hollywood. Jewish girl, very nice and intelligent. Not fancy,
who had lost her husband out there after three years -- her theory [is]
that Jewish men thought themselves ugly, so they had to keep proving to
themselves what they could do in the way of getting Gentile girls."
[GOULD, p. 305]
"In olden times," said the great journalist and muckraker, Upton Sinclair, "Jewish traders sold Christian girls into concubinage and into prostitution, and even today they display the same activity in the same field in southern California where I live." [GOULD, p. 305] The Hollywood rulers, noted Hollywood rabbi Edgar Magnin, "were men who made all that money and realized they were still a bunch of Goddamned Jews. Sleeping with a pretty gentile girl made them feel, if only for a few minutes, 'I'm half gentile.' No wonder they made idols out of shiksa goddesses." [RUBIN, p. 78] This kind of sexual predation, if we are to believe what some Jewish scholars have to say about it, has root in the psychological insecurities of Jewish identity. The (Jewish) Forward, reviewing a biography of (Jewish) writer Arthur Koestler by (Jewish) scholar David Cesarani, notes that
"Koestler's life was marked throughout by 'non-stop womanizing,'
Mr. Cesarani writes. As a journalist in the 1930s, for instance, he
'was sleeping his way through Berlin at the rate of one girlfriend
every four to six weeks.' The chronic philandering was in part a
function of Koestler's Jewishness, Mr. Cesarani explained in a
telephone interview, because, for Koestler, to be seen with tall,
blond shiksas was a sign of the fullness of his assimilation and
acceptance around gentiles." [BRAHMS, p. 11]
(This kind of predator is apparently evidenced in the case of Evan (Meshulam) Frankel, a real estate mogul in East Hampton, New York, "An otherwise suave and gallant companion, Frankel might easily reach out in conversation and caress the breast of a woman he hardly knew or run his fingers over her buttocks ... In one famous incident, he gave a large party at which three generations of women he had bedded from the same family were his guests, unaware that each one of them had been a Frankel conquest.") [GAINES, F., 1998, p. 176]
Jewish men rushing in veritable herds to bed non-Jewish women is much remarked upon in the Jewish world. As an old Yiddish folk saying notes:
"Why does a Jew need legs? To school he must be forced, to
marriage he must be led, to burial he is brought, to synagogue he
won't go, and after Gentile girls he crawls. So why does he need
legs?" [KUMOVE, S., 1985, p. 142]
This long tradition of Jewish male interest in the non-Jewish female has created profound resentment by Jewish women in modern Hollywood. In 1998, "a group of 30 high-level Hollywood women in television, film, art and academia" (called the Morning Star Commission) released a study, headed by Jewish "superagent" Joan Hyler, and sponsored by the Zionist women's group Hadassah, about the portrayal of Jewish women onscreen in Hollywood. As the New Jersey News noted about the Jewish psychological undercurrent in the survey findings:
"Among the most devastating findings of the Morning Star Commission
is the way that Jews, both men and women, still regard non-Jews
as competitors and even adversaries ... Jewish women, though proud
of their professional achievements ... project a surprising degree of
ambivalence toward themselves within American society and a shocking
degree of rivalry and hostility toward non-Jewish women ... Jewish
women, in their envy of non-Jews, often project hostility onto non-Jews,
often project hostility onto non-Jewish women, calling them 'air heads'
and perceiving them as 'irresponsible' and 'unambitious.'" [MARKS, M.
A., 4-23-98, p. 5]
"I have not fingers and toes enough," notes Jewish novelist Ann Roiphe, "to count the [Jewish] men I know who can only love the shiksa." [ROIPHE, 1981, p. 199] "Jewish men's attraction to non-Jewish women," philosophizes Joel Streiker, "[is] an important theme of Jewish American literature in the 1950s and 1960s, the attraction that has to do with Jewish men's desire to be accepted by the larger society. Bedding or wedding a beautiful non-Jewish woman was a symbol of a Jewish man's having made it in America." [STREIKER, J., JULY-AUG, 1999, p. 36]
A Jewish Ms. editor, Susan Braudy, noted a story she published in a 1975 "Special Issue on Men" issue:
"The story was about a Jewish scholarship student at Harvard who
thought he was very ugly, and his obsession with this gorgeous, upper-
class, Radcliffe gentile person, and with bringing her to her first orgasm
orally. I think it was about him and his first wife, actually." [THOM, p.
[Click here for more citations about the "shiksa cult."]
Conversely, non-Jewish womanizer Marlon Brando credits Jewish women early in his acting career in New York with opening him to the sexual world:
"It was common in those days for girls from wealthy New York Jewish
families to rent an apartment in the city and have a little fling before
striking out on a career or marriage after they had graduated from
college ... They were fascinated by me and I by them. Many were
more experienced sexually than I was, and I was a willing and
happy pupil. I especially remember Carole Burke."
[BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 74]
Jews dominated the vaudeville world, precursor to radio, television and the other mass media worlds. George Burns remembers the first time he met fellow Jewish comedian Georgie Jessel:
"I remember the first time I met Jessel. Actually, it was the first time
I met him alone. He was starring on Broadway in the dramatic version
of The Jazz Singer. It was a big hit, and Georgie was brilliant. The
Jazz Singer is the story of a cantor who wants his son to become a
cantor, while the son wants to go into show business. At the end the
father dies and the son quits show business and becomes a cantor.
The show ended with Jessel singing 'Kol Nidre,' a sacred, very
emotional song.... [After the show] I was stopped outside the door
[to his dressing room] by his cousin, Bob Milford. 'You can't go
in right now,' Bob told me, 'he's got his clothes off.'
The tears were still dripping from my eyes, that's how wonderful
Jessel had been. 'That won't bother me,' I said. 'I've seen a naked
Jew before. I just want to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance.'
'I'm sorry,' Bob said, shaking his head, 'you really can't go in.' He
dropped his voice to a whisper. 'He's got a girl in there.'
I was shocked. Until that moment I'd believed that there was nothing
that could follow 'Kol Nidre.'" [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 77-78]
The Hollywood "casting couch" is an infamous icon. Actress/writer Joan Collins (half-Jewish) notes an early introduction to the world of Hollywood as a young aspiring actress:
"[When] Buddy Adler, who was head of 20th Century-Fox, to whom
I was under contract, asked me in his own home if I would like to be the
biggest star on the lot, I said, 'Yes, of course.' 'All you have to do' --
and he smiled suavely as he maneuvered me across the lacquered dance
floor of his Beverly Hills mansion -- 'is to be nice to me, and the best
parts at the studio are yours.' 'What do you mean exactly by 'be nice,'
Mr. Adler?' a worldly and sophisticated twenty-two-year-old Joan asked
warily. 'Listen, honey' -- he held me closer in the dance and whispered
in my ear -- 'you're a beautiful girl and I'm not exactly an ugly old man...
We'll see each other a couple of times a week, you can still have your
own life, and I'll have mine, of course." [COLLINS, J., p. 25]
Marilyn Monroe, as noted earlier, was a willing mistress to many to help her career. Aside from those mentioned earlier, she was also regularly invited to the home of Joseph Schenck (early head of 20th Century-Fox) where, she once said, "I liked sitting by the fireplace with Mr. Schenck and hearing him talk about love and sex. He was full of wisdom on the subjects." [WOLFE, D., p. 198] Schenck was once married to early film star Norma Talmadge. [WHITFIELD, E., 1997, p. 239] Monroe, says Ted Jordan, "bitterly complained about Schenck, who made it clear what her primary function was: sex." [JORDAN, p. 100] Schenck, says film historian Neal Gabler, "embodied just about every cliché of Hollywood decadence and debauchery." [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 259] "Uncle Joe [Schenck] continued to have 'fiancees,' notes Mary Ellin Barrett (the "god daughter" of Schenck, and Irving Berlin's actual daughter), "and when I was old enough to catch on, I wondered how a pretty girl could fancy such a homely, potbellied old man 'that way.' 'Power,' someone said, 'is attractive,' an odd concept to a young person." [BARRETT, M., 1994, p. 140]
Early in Monroe's career as a struggling actress, the head of Columbia, Harry Cohn, also once invited her, "and no one else," to an overnight cruise on his yacht. According to close friend Ted Jordan, Monroe was required to strip naked for Cohn in his office. As she bent over, at his direction, he approached her, penis in hand. When she declined his advances, said Monroe, "I had never seen a man so angry." [JORDAN, p. 91; WOLFE, D., p. 211-212] Cohn then "banned her from the [Columbia] lot after she refused to accompany him on a yacht to Catalina Island." [LEAMING, p. 8] "You know," Monroe once said, "that when a producer calls an actress into his office to discuss a script that isn't all he has in mind ... I've slept with producers. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't." [SUMMERS, p. 34-35] In 1955, 20th Century Fox awarded Monroe the richest per-film contract of any actress. "It means," remarked Monroe, "I'll never have to suck another cock again!" [MCDOUGAL, p. 217]
Cohn also, notes Barbara Leaming,
"developed an obsession with getting [his contracted actress] Rita
[Hayworth] into bed that was more than just sexually motivated...
As time went by he would become preoccupied with keeping other
men out of her life, including her own husband and any other man
who might come between Rita and the studio ... [Cohn] went so far
as to sport hidden microphones in her dressing room to listen in on
her private conversations." [LEAMING, B., 1989, p. 60]
Louis B. Mayer (head of MGM) had "a private life [that] was not always so praiseworthy," notes Norman Zierold, "... Although married, he had a keen eye for feminine beauty and courted women at a clip in keeping with his extravagant nature." [ZIEROLD, p. 319] "In his more delicate personal relations with established and aspiring actresses," adds Bosley Crowther,
"[Mayer] was naturally careful and decorous, but none the less
vigorous in pursuit of those he lusted after, frequently in vain ...
He once said to Luise Rainer, 'Why don't you sit on my lap when
we're discussing your contract the way the other girls do?' A little
adroit lap-sitting would go a long way, they found. He was hardy
and persistent, however. Tirelessly he laid siege to some of the
more formidable actresses, rewarding them with richer roles or
disciplining them with poor assignments, in maneuvering to
accomplish his private aims." [CROWTHER, 1960, p. 263]
Mayer was alleged to have "once insisted that 'the Talmud says a man is not responsible for a sin committed by any part of the body below the waist.'" [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 389]
Legendary actress Lana Turner remembers what it was like for her as a teenager at MGM:
"Often in those early years at MGM I'd see a young actress
with more experience than I had, and I'd think, 'Oh boy,
there's competition for me.' Six months later she would have
fallen by the wayside. When I asked, people would say, 'You're
so dumb!' It had to be spelled out for me that those six-month
option girls would never go on to a movie career -- they were
there for the benefit of management. That was what Zeppo
Marx [Turner's first agent and one of the famous Marx Brothers]
had meant when he told me to say I was eighteen [she was fifteen
when signed]. If I got one of those six-month-option deals, I'd
better lie about my age -- for their protection." [TURNER, L.,
1988, p. 34-35]
Shirley Temple (Black) recalled her experience as an 11-year old movie star the FIRST time she went to the MGM offices with her mother:
"Eight months had elapsed since leaving Fox in May 1940, and on this first
executive visit under my new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract, Mother and I
were split up, she ushered away by general manager Louis B. Mayer and I left
alone with producer Arthur Freed.
Best known as producer of the blockbusting The Wizard of Oz, Freed was
rumored in some adult circles to have an adventuresome casting couch. At the
time I knew none of this, nor would I have recognized such furniture even when
sitting on one. To visit an executive of such stature was enough to send my
'I have somthing made just for you,' he continued, fumbling in his lap.
'You'll be my new star!' That phrase had last been used when I was three
years old in Kid in Hollywood.
Obviously, Freed did not believe in preliminaries. With his face gaped in
a smile, he stood up and abruptly and executed a bizarre flourish of clothing.
Having thought of him as a producer rather than exhibitor, I sat bolt upright.
Guarded personal exposure by both brothers and Father had maintained me
in relatively pristine innocense. Not twelve years old, I still had little appreciation
for masculine versatility and so dramatic was the leap between schoolgirl
speculation and Freed's dazzling exposure that I reacted with nervous laughter.
Disdain or terror he might have expected, but not the insult of humor.
'Get out!' he shouted, unmindful of his disarray, imperiously pointing to the
closed door. 'Go on, get out!' [BLACK, S., 1988, p. 319-320]
Telling her mother about the incident as she drove home, her mother told her that she too had similar troubles, fending off a sexual advance from Louis Mayer in HIS office at the SAME time. [BLACK, S., 1988, p. 320] "Usually solemn,' writes Temple,
"[Mayer's] eyes glinted. Surely [Temple's mother] could recognize real sincerity
when she saw it. Never forget, he continued, at MGM we are a family. We take
care of our own. Slipping down off his chair, he approached the sofa and sank
down beside her, uttering a contented sigh. Surely she was the most unique mother
in the world, he said. Someone who should be a star in her own right. He grasped
her hand, pulling her toward him. Mayer's opinion of his personal prowess was rumored to be overblown, but not the power of his office. Reluctant to test either, Mother picked up her purse and retreated out the door, walking backwards. Unlike
my reaction of hilarity to Freed, hers was to be grieviously affronted. Not for nothing was the MGM lot known as the 'factory,' a studio perfumed with sultry, busty creatures with long legs and tight haunches, and more than its quota of lecherous
older men." [BLACK, S., 1988, p. 320]
And what of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, also married, partner in Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and United Artists? As his biographer notes,
"[An assistant director] stumbled into Goldwyn's office during the
making of Whoopee! and discovered the producer in a
compromising position with a girl who did not even get into
the picture. Most of the girls on the lot had heard about
Sam Goldwyn's 'casting couch.'" [BERG, A., 1987, p. 205]
Actress Joan Crawford, early in her career, allegedly starred in a porno movie. "When she was trying to break into the studios," says Ted Jordan
"she got nowhere until several studio executives were given a private
screening of her stag film ... In short order Miss Crawford won a studio
contract." [JORDAN, p. 122; also CONSIDINE, S., 1989, p. 12-13]
Crawford was brought to Holywood in 1924 by Jewish MGM mogul Harry Rapf. Agent in the early MGM years? Michael E. Levee. [CONSIDINE, S., 1989, p. 16, 61] "Over a sixteen month period," says Shaun Considine, "Joan Crawford appeared in thirteen pictures at M-G-M. She also acquired the reputation of being a quid-pro-quo girl. Years later, when asked if she ever had to sacrifice her virtue for roles via the proverbial casting couch, Crawford replied, 'Well, it sure as hell beat the hard cold floor.'" [CONSIDINE, S., 1989, p. 17]
"While their wives were meant to be decorous and refined and sexless," notes Neal Gabler,
"many of the Hollywood Jews found sexual release elsewhere --
sometimes flagrantly ... Sex, like family, power, wealth, and culture, was
meant to be conspicuous in Hollywood. It was a symbol of power, which
may be why so many of the Hollywood Jews behaved with such little
discretion. Jack Warner [one of the heads of Warner Brothers] bragged
about his conquests as if they were trophies. Bess Lasky knew that when
her husband [the head of Universal] sneaked away to make a quick
business call he was not talking to Adolph Zucker ... David Selznick
[was] a bearish hedonist with the appetites and discipline of a child."
[GABLER, N., 1988, p. 246, 258]
Charles Feldman, founder of the important Famous Artists film artist agency, represented the likes of Greta Garbo, Marlena Dietrich, and John Wayne. "Feldman," also, notes Peter Biskind, "was known for casting his girlfriends in his movies." [BISKIND, p. 25] He was once banned from MGM for his love interest in actress Jean Howard, a woman MGM head Louis B. Meyer had his eye on too. [CROWTHER, p. 193] Feldman was once romantically involved with sex queen actress Jean Harlow. [RUBIN, p. xii] So were others. Columbia Pictures' head Harry Cohn introduced Harlow to Jewish mobster Abner Zillman (an investor in Columbia). "For years after Harlow's death, [Zwillman] was boasting nostalgically about the various ways he'd banged the actress." [MCDOUGAL, p. 146] Zwillman also "reportedly gave some gangster friends gold lockets, each containing a strand of Jean's blonde pubic hair." [MARX, S., 1990, p. 121] Blonde bombshell movie star Carroll Baker's Jewish husband was theatre and film director Jack Garfein: their son is named Herschel David Garfein. Mae West made a career centered upon flaunting sexuality -- in a long list of intimates, her "first steady beau, Joe Schenck," a pianist and singer, [LEIDER, E.M., p. 51] was also Jewish. Blonde sexpot Jayne Mansfield's boyfriend at the time of her death in a 1967 car accident was also Jewish: Hollywood lawyer Sam Brody. The crash killed both of them. Among Marilyn Monroe's long list of Jewish (and other) partners, one of her husbands was playwright Arthur Miller. She even formally converted to Judaism for him. [WOLFE, D., p. 285]
Clara Bow, renowned for her promiscuity, was the sex goddess (the "It girl") of the late silent screen era. Like many who have the burden of being "sex" stars, she repeatedly collapsed with nervous breakdowns. She was built to fame by Benjamin Schulberg, head of a film company called Preferred Pictures. "To launch her," note Joe Morella and Edward Epstein:
"Schulberg instructed his photographer [in 1923] to take a series of provocative
pictures of Clara. In the photographs she was gracefully posed and draped only
in a sheet, Greek goddess-style. Her breasts and ample derriere were outlined, and
it was obvious that she wore nothing under the sheet ... Clara was in effect a pin-up
girl, though the term had not yet been coined. This manner of selling her would set
the tone for her entire career ... One of the unpublicized advantages of being under contract to a studio, even a small one like Ben Schulberg's, was the ready availability
of reliable medical attention for 'unspeakable' problems certain to arise among Hollywood's high-living set. Abortions were easily arranged. Venereal diseases could
be treated without undue embarrassment. To put it bluntly, and in the words of an
actor of the era, 'Anyone as promiscuous as Clara was sure to catch the clap." [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 58]
Eventually, in 1925, Schulberg and his company moved under the wing of larger Jewish film moguls Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky at Paramount Pictures, at the time the largest movie studio in Hollywood. [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 69-70] Bow's paramours were numerous, but perhaps the most publicized was her affair with "showman Harry Richman," "Mr. Broadway," "a Cincinnati-born Jewish boy ... By his own admission he often wined, dined, and bedded down as many as four showgirls in one night. And Harry was generous. He shared his conquests with his pals ... For a time one of Harry's closest buddies was fellow womanizer and enormously wealthy film mogul Joseph Schenck ... head of United Artists ... At the time of his friendship with Harry Richman, Schenck was married to top star Norma Talmadge [who later married Jewish comedian George Jessel]." [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 69, 70, 169, 170] Schenck arranged the initial sexual tryst with Bow for Richman. [p. 172-175] (Richman also owned Club Richman, "a speakeasy which became a big success." [MORELLA /EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 70]) "Richman's name was romantically linked with the most glamorous women of his day, including the tragic, gorgeous silent-screen star Barbara La Marr. There was mystery and scandal too. Ziegfield girl Helen Walsh burned to death in a fire on one of Richman's yachts." [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 70] Per Clara Bow, "Harry Richman had finally found his match for sexual adventure. In his own words: 'One of the greatest things about Clara was that she had an appetite for lovemaking that was at least the equal of mine. Every time I was ready, she was, and believe me, there was hardly an hour when I was not ready." [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976, p. 179]
"Not all Bow suitors retained fond memories of her," write Morella and Epstein,
"Abel Baer, a sexy young songwriter from New York, was in Hollywood writing
the score for an upcoming Clara Bow picture. Baer had attracted the attention
of Mae West back in New York, and in Hollywood he caught Clara's eye. 'I
went to bed with her,' Baer says, 'but I'll tell you this -- there were no repeat
performances. Once was enough for me.'" [MORELLA/EPSTEIN, 1976,
Jewish comedian and early television star Milton Berle hosted "the most successful show in television history." [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 269] His "reputation with the girls was pretty big," notes George Burns,
"He went out with everybody from silent movie star Pola Negri to
evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to Marilyn Monroe. You'll notice
I use the phrase 'went out,' but that's not exactly what I mean. I can't
tell you exactly what I mean, because I do a clean act. I don't even
drop cigar ashes on the page. But if you want to know what Milton
did with these women, think of a train going into a tunnel. And based
on Milton's reputation, this train was so popular with the passengers
that he couldn't keep it in the station." [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 253]
"Why do Italian women wear panties?" joked Berle, "To keep their ankles warm." [BERLE, M., 1996, p. 306] "What's a blonde standing on her head?" "A brunette with bad breath." [BERLE, M., 1996, p. 92]
Jewish singer Eddie Fisher, ("I prefer seduction to singing") for years a cocaine addict, divorced Debbie Reynolds, "America's sweetheart," to marry Elizabeth Taylor in 1958. To the mores of the 50s it was a scandal of monumental attention. "Even a partial list of his claimed [sexual] conquests," adds London's Daily Telegraph,
"include Mia Farrow, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Kim Novak,
Stefanie Powers, Angie Dickinson, Dinah Shore and Judith Exner,
the mistress also shared by President Kennedy and Sam Giancano,
the boss the Chicago mafia.... Fisher is of the generation that
still uses a good sprinkling of Yiddish words, and prominent among
them is shiksa."
"I think I slept with only one Jewish girl in my whole life," Fisher told the London paper, "Peggy Lipton, and then I didn't know she was Jewish ... Boy, did I have a libido." [LAURENCE, C., 10-14-99, p. 23] (Film director Oliver Stone's father was Jewish -- originally Lou Silverstein. He was a wealthy stock broker. [RIORDAN, 1995, p. 4] "Like many men his age," writes James Riordan about Oliver's father and mother, "[Lou] began to seek solace through an increasing number of affairs. There were several models, but often he preferred high-class call girls." [RIORDAN, J., 1995, p. 16]
Doris Day was stunned when her agent, Al Levy, "followed me into my room, closed the door, turned off the lights, and pulled me onto the bed. He desperately thrust himself on top of me as if he was some unknown rapist and I were an anonymous victim." [HOTCHNER, 1976, p. 102] Jewish bandleader Artie Shaw's romantic flings included those with Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and Lana Turner. [SHIPMAN, D. 1993, p. 104-107] Hollywood lawyer Gregory Bautzer "had a reputation not unlike Artie Shaw of having 'squired' many of Hollywood's most famous stars; he had preceded Shaw in Turner's life, and he was publicly associated with Joan Crawford for several years." [SHIPMAN, p. 464] Among [MGM screenwriter-producer] Joe "Mankiewicz's former lovers were Joan Crawford, Gene Tierney, and Linda Darnell. He had a habit,' said his son Chris Mankiewicz, 'of bedding down with leading ladies.'" [HEYMANN, C.D., 1995, p. 203] Screenwriter/playwright George S. Kaufman (best known for the Marx Brothers movies), who was married, "had a cleanliness compulsion, abhorred outward displays of affection, and hated physical contact except, presumably, with his many sexual conquests (the Broadway producer Max Gordon called him a 'male nymphomaniac')." [WINOKUR, 1987, p. 109] Even Jewish Hollywood hairdresser Sydney Guilaroff "had a long affair with [Greta] Garbo and then moved on to Ava Gardner." [MCDOWELL, p. 15]
When swimmer Esther Williams first got started in show business, "famous New York showman" Mike Rose lured her into "a seduction scene -- pure and simple. I saw that look in his eyes ... Couldn't he look in the mirror? He was already in his fifties, married, and five feet two inches. I was seventeen, not even the legal age for such antics." [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 45] Williams' first marriage, that same year, was to a Jewish pre-med student, Leonard Kovner, whom she soon divorced. Her lawyer in her golden years was also Jewish, Lew Goldman. [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 302] As a budding actress, a particularly pesky Hollywood sexual predator was Sam Katz, head of MGM's musical productions. Williams recounts an early encounter with him:
"Sam, aren't you married?
'Yes, I am. I have two beautiful daughters.'
'And so am I,' I said. 'Don't you think it would be embarrassing if you
and I were seen in public having dinner together?'
'Well ... I have little places.'
'I bet you do.'" [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 92]
"Katz's philandering was common knowledge," writes Williams,
"so I decided to deal with this head-on.
'You've done this before, Sam. Did the other girls become big stars?'
Astonishingly enough, he tried to answer the question. He began ticking
off his other conquests.
'Well, let's see. Kate Groom? No. Ilona Massey? Not really...’
I stopped him before he got too deep. I didn't want to be another 8 X 10
glossy on his wall of conquests, and I didn't want to know the names of
the rest of them." [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 92]
Williams' most bizarre love affair was with Jeff Chandler (also Jewish, born Ira Grossel, his most famous role was that of Cochise in Broken Arrow). Williams fell in love and had an affair with him until she discovered his fetish for wearing women's clothing. "Jeff," notes Williams, who quickly abandoned him,
"was dead serious about this dress-up game and obviously had been
at it for a long time ... [He] had a compulsion to don Aunt Sophie's
underpants, which gave him his first orgasm, growing up and feeling
happy and secure only in women's clothing." [WILLIAMS, E., 1999,
As Rachel Abramowitz notes the oppressive undercurrent for women trying to make it in Hollywood:
"Go to CAA [a rival talent agency]," [top Jewish agent Sue Mengers
at the William Morris agency] derisively told the starlet Valeria Golino,
who was vacillating about William Morris, "Ronnie Meyers [a Jewish
executive at CAA] just wants to fuck you." [ABRAMOWITZ, R.,
2000, p. 331]
Jewish novelist Judith Krantz notes the stir actress Loretta Young created at the funeral of Jewish film director Mervyn Le Roy:
"At the funeral of Mervyn Le Roy ... I heard Loretta Young give a eulogy that
won the bad-taste prize of all time. She slithered exquisitely down the aisle
of the Forest Lawn chapel, clad in a startingly sexy, body-hugging black
dress and the largest black garden-party hat I'd ever seen. 'Mervyn Le Roy
discovered me,' she announced slowly. Pause. 'No, we didn't have an affair.'
Long pause. 'I was only thirteen,' she added thoughtfully, as if in explanation
for the omission." [KRANTZ, J., 2000, p. 209]
In 1977 director Roman Polanski, also Jewish, fled America rather than face sentencing for raping a 13-year old model. He had drugged her (with Quaaludes and alcohol) as he photographed the child at an actor's home. Arrested, he was allowed to work on his current film. As Barbara Leaming notes:
"Since the probation report would affect his fate, Polanski
worked on his [Jewish] probation officer, Irwin Gold, for whom he
painted a picture of a tragic past [Polanski was a Jewish survivor
of Nazi-occupied Poland] a compliant girl, and remorse for
anything he had done wrong ... He managed to win Gold's
sympathy ... This was a victimizer as victim -- a role Polanski
had played to the hilt." [LEAMING, 1981, p. 181, 184]
Also, "at age fifteen, Natassia [Kinski, star of Polanski's film Tess] became Polanski's lover. Polanski gave her books to read and suggested ways for developing her acting abilities." [LEAMING, 1981, p. 192] Polanski once married actress Sharon Tate, star of his film Fearless Vampire Killers. "During the shooting, Polanski had become Sharon's lover." [LEAMING, 1981, p. 79] She had been introduced to him by Jewish producer Martin Ransohoff of Filmways, who had her under contract. After Tate and others were sensationally murdered by the Charles Manson "family," one week later Polanski charged Life magazine $5,000 to pose at the door of the house she was slain. [KIERNAN, T., 1980, photo section]
Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider were Jewish partners who produced a number of influential 1970s "counterculture" movies (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, et al). "Bert was so relentless," noted one acquaintance, "that he came on to almost every pretty woman who came his way ... Sex was a publicly traded commodity among the Raybert guys, sexual exploits, a variety of who could piss farther." Actor Jack Nicholson (no innocent himself) reportedly admonished a friend, "Never bring a woman that you're serious about around Bert or Bob." [BISKIND, p. 58-59] Among Schneider's love affairs was one with actress Candice Bergen. [MCGILLIGAN, 1994, p. 181] At BBS (the Rafelson/Schneider company), notes Patrick McGilligan,
"All of the important players were men; the atmosphere was familial;
but really it was a fraternity of insiders, a boy's club. Bert was capable
of unzipping his pants during an argument and flourishing his cock; his
brother, Harold, was also known to bring his penis out and lay it on the
table. The BBS men circulated throughout the building, calling each
other "babe," and "doll," and hitting on the women. 'The important
players took a macho pride in fucking the same women at different
times,' said one former BBS staff member, 'from the starlets right
down to the typists.'" [MCGILLIGAN, p. 201]
"This [Hollywood]," complained novelist Theodore Dreiser in its big studio glory days, "is a selfish, self-concentrated, mean, loafing town. The business and political world is hard-boiled and cruel. The movies are solidly Jewish. They're dug in, employ only Jews with American names and buy only what they cannot abstract and disguise. And the dollar sign is the guide -- mentally and physically. That America should be led -- the mass -- by their direction is beyond all believing. In addition, they are arrogant, insolent, and contemptuous." [GOULD, p. 298] "There's enough sincerity in Hollywood," wrote H. L. Mencken, "to fill a peanut shell and still leave room for an agent's heart." [GITLIN, p. 145] The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald summed up the Hollywood scene as "a Jewish holiday, a gentile tragedy." [GABLER, p. 2]
"The entire [movie] industry," notes Chaim Bermant, "was dominated by the big five: MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, RKO, and Twentieth Century Fox, all of which were owned and controlled by Jews. And of the not-so-little three -- Universal, Columbia, and United Artists -- two were in Jewish hands." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 91-92] The major motion picture studios of the Hollywood golden age of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, and their Jewish founders and most important chiefs over the years include:
Universal -- Carl Laemmle, Jesse Lasky
Paramount - Adolph Zukor, Marcus Loew, Barney Balaban; much later,
in the 1970s, Robert Evans. Bought by Charles Bluhdorn in 1960s
Twentieth Century Fox - William Fox (originally Fuchs), Sol Brill,
Joseph Schenck, (and non-Jew Daryl F. Zanuck). Bought by
Marvin Davis in 1970s
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM, part of Loew's Inc.) Louis B. Mayer,
Samuel Goldwyn (originally: Shmuel Goldfisz), Nicholas Schenck,
Irving Thalberg (the model for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon),
Dore Schary; earlier, Marcus Loew; 1970s: Frank Rosenfelt
Warner Brothers - Harry, Sam, Albert, and Jack; Norman Katz
Columbia - Harry and Jack Cohn (At Harry's death, Columbia merged
with Screen Gems, headed by Leo Jaffe, Abe and Stanley
Schneider, and Mike Francovich); Daniel Melnick
RKO - in early years, financially controlled by the Lehman Brothers,
Jewish bankers. Later headed by Arnold Grant (Goldstein), one
time head of Board of Directors. (Also chairman of the Anti-
Defamation League and the Joint Defense Appeal of the American
Jewish Committee). Later controlled by non-Jew Howard Hughes
United Artists - [None of the original founders -- the biggest attractions in
the early film industry who sought freedom from the exploitive
hegemony of other film companies -- were Jewish: director D. W.
Griffith, actress Mary Pickford, and actors Charlie Chaplin,
Douglas Fairbanks, and William S. Hart. But it was arranged that
Jewish businessmen Hiram Abrams and B. P. Schulberg "would
run the company, receiving 20 percent of the profits."
[WHITFIELD, 1997, p. 191] Facing economic difficulties, in 1924
D. W. Griffith pulled out of leadership of United Artists. The new
(Jewish) Chairman of the Board became Joseph Schenck. Samuel
Goldwyn joined U.A. as a distributor, "but here too his personality
proved too dominant, and he bought his partners [the above-mentioned
actors] out." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 93] In later years,
Jewish U.A. heads included Al Lichtman, Samuel Goldwyn,
and Alexander Korda. Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin later took
over power; still later Krim, Benjamin, William Bernstein, Mike
Medavoy, and Eric Pleskar branched out to form Orion Pictures.
As an example of almost complete Jewish domination of the studios' executive hierarchy, one recent author listed the members of Columbia's 1957 Board of Directors, as part of a section entitled "the Columbia Empire on the eve of Harry Cohn's death." (Is there more than one non-Jewish name here?) :
President: Harry Cohn
First Vice President and Treasurer: Abe Schneider
Vice President for Production: B. B. Kahane
Vice President for Domestic Sales: Abraham Montague
Vice President for Foreign Distribution: J. A. McConville
Vice President for Advertising and Publishing: P. N. Lazarus, Jr.
Vice President for Public Relations: N. B. Spingold
Vice President for Finance: L. J. Barbano
Vice President and Assistant Treasurer: Leo Jaffe
Secretary: Charles Schwartz
Assistant Secretary (Legal): D. G. Cassell
Assistant Secretary: Bernard Birnbaum
Assistant Treasurer: Mortimer Wormser
Controller: Arthur Levy
Director (Hemphill Noyes): L. M. Blanke
Director (City National Bank): Alfred Hart
Director (Sonnebend): A. M. Sonnebend
Director: (Hallgarten): D. S. Stralem
Director: Ralph M. Cohn
A listing of Columbia's "Corporate Management, Divisions and Subsidiaries" executives contains almost all the same names, and the "Hollywood Studios" hierarchy is the same pattern. [DICK, B., 1993, p. 196-198] And as Chaim Bermant observes, to understand the nature of this firm: "Harry Cohn, or King Kohn, as he was sometimes called, head of Columbia, directed his company with the arbitrariness of a Caliph. So many legends have accumulated round his barbarity that one almost suspects that he consciously set out to play a part." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 94] (More generally, note here one investigator's overview research into the gender and ethnicity of many past studio executives at MGM, Columbia, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Disney, and MCA/Universal).
Famous swimmer/actress Esther Williams notes what it was like when she first strode down the long and intimidating executive office carpet as a teenager to meet her new (Jewish) MGM employers (who were considering her for a contract):
"As I walked the sixty-foot-long walk on this white carpet, [MGM head
Louis] Mayer scrutinized me through his thick glasses as if I were a piece
of merchandise. Sitting in back of [Mayer] was a phalanx of executives
-- L. K. Sidney, Sam Katz, Eddie Mannix, and Benny Thau -- all the
top management ... Although I didn't know it then, they were the men
who ran MGM. Like Mayer, they were all short ... I felt like Snow White
with the dwarfs. When I reached the desk, I put out my hand and said,
'Hello Mr. Mayer." No one stood up." [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 62-63]
Mayer's assistant, Ida Koverman, adds Williams, was "a power behind the throne." [WILLIAMS, E., 1999, p. 79]
At Warner Brothers, brother Harry was an "ardent Zionist." Brother Jack even forced his Jewish employees to donate part of their salary to the United Jewish Welfare Fund. [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 289-290] "If a thing worked," Jack Warner, Jr. once remarked about his father, "it was moral. That's a terribly cynical thing to say, but I think that's how he felt." [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 293]
Other prominent Jewish executives at various smaller studios over the years have included Victor Carter (chairman of Republic Pictures), William Chaikin (president of Avco Embassy Pictures), Bernard Donnenfeld (president of the Filmmakers Group), and Paul Heller and Fred Weintraub (heads of Sequoia Pictures), among others.
Dan Moldea notes that:
"As early as 1938, the Justice Department's Antitrust Division had
filed suit against the eight big motion picture companies --
Paramount, Loews, RKO, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century
Fox, Columbia, Universal and United Artists for 'combining and
conspiring to restrain trade in the production, distribution, and
exhibition of motion pictures,' in violation of the Sherman Antitrust
Act ... Thurman Arnold, the head of the Antitrust Division charged
that the motion picture business had become 'an industrial dictatorship
and strictly unAmerican ... The danger in this country is the private
seizure of power ... it is subject to no criticism and no attack because
no one even knows about it.'" [MOLDEA, p. 46]
A settlement was reached in 1940. A second trial commenced in 1944 with some changes being forced upon the studios.
In 1941, there was even a public investigation in the U.S. Congress about Jewish domination of Hollywood and its alleged activist postion in support of American involvement in the looming world war:
"In August 1941 [Senators Gerald P. Nye and Bennett Champ Clark] called for
a congressional investigation into warmongering and propaanda in the film
industry .. [Because it did not receive enough votes in support] ... the Interstate
Commerce Committee ... established a subcommittee to investigate Nye's and
Clarks' allegations ... The subcommittee hearings raised exactly the charges which
Jewish organizations and industry leaders had long feared anti-Nazi films
would bring about: that Jews in Hollywood were warmongers and propagandists
and that Jewish organizations abetted their coreligionists in Hollywood. The
hearings added new and powerful rhetoric to the long-time charge that Jews
controlled Hollywood and were using it for nefarous purposes, and they gave
these ideas an airing on the very public floor of the U.S. Congress ... Yet ...
despite Jewish fears, the American press treated the subcommittee hearings
with criticism and even derision." [HERMAN, F., MARCH 2001, p. 86-88]
"All the great moguls," notes Frank Rose, "belonged to the Hillcrest [Country Club] -- Louis B. Mayer, and the Warner Brothers and Harry Cohn of Columbia and Adolph Zukor of Paramount. Most of the top comics belonged -- George Burns, Danny Thomas, Georgie Jessel, Milton Berle, the Marx Brothers ... Benny Siegel, the mobster who invented Las Vegas, was admitted, but Joseph P. Kennedy was turned down: Jews only. (Danny Thomas was an exception)." [ROSE, p. 1]
"Within the studios and on the screen," says Neal Gabler,
"the Jews could create a new country -- an empire of their own so
to speak ... They would create its values and myths, its traditions
and archetypes ... This was their America and its creation may be their
enduring legacy.... They lived in large, palatial homes that imitated (some
would say "vulgarized") the estates of Eastern establishment. They
became members of a lavish new country club called Hillcrest that
mimicked the Gentile clubs and barred them ... For their social life,
they organized a system of estates, a rigid hierarchy, that could easily
have been modeled after the court of Louis XIV ... The Hollywood
Jews would cope through 'a sustained attempt to live a fiction, and to
cast its spell on the minds of others.' ... The Hollywood Jews created
a powerful cluster of images and ideas -- so powerful that, in a sense,
they colonized the American imagination ... Ultimately, American values
came to be defined largely by the movies the Jews made." [GABLER, p.
In 1979, a Jewish screenwriter, Ben Stein, wrote a book about Hollywood, based upon his own experience in the city and interviews with nearly forty TV producers and writers. Such people, he concluded,
"with a small number of exceptions ... are all white males. They are
almost never younger than 35. They are almost never second-generation
Californians. A distinct majority, especially the writing of situation
comedies, is Jewish ... [STEIN, p. 10] ... The super-medium of
television is spewing out messages of a few writers and producers
(literally in the low hundreds) ... Television is not necessarily a mirror
of anything but what those few people think. The whole entertainment
component of television is dominated by men and women who have a
unified, idiosyncratic view of life." [STEIN, p. xiii]
"Hollywood is largely liberal and Jewish,' Jewish agent Barry Mendel (of the United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills) told Jewish journalist Steve Berg in 1995, "We live in an insular world. We don't understand fully people's common concerns." [BERG, S., p 1A] "The Hollywood elite," note one Jewish research team, "shares a set of political and cultural assumptions that it views as natural (as all of us view our own assumptions) and that it seeks, as do others, to put into action. These Hollywood leaders do not do this in a concerted or conspiratorial way; yet because there is a general agreement on core issues ... the totality of their world suggests a more or less coherent ideology. That ideology is generally left-leaning and highly critical of traditional features of American society." [POWERS/ROTHMAN/ROTHMAN, p. 5]
"I've always believed that film," observed Jewish film critic Lester Friedman, "like all art forms, is inherently propagandistic. Even seemingly innocuous pictures carry messages that either support or attack the prevailing status quo." [FRIEDMAN, L., p. vii] In this vein, psychology professor Kevin MacDonald suggests sometimes deeper dimensions and themes to Jewish-dominated Hollywood movies. He cites the example of the film Addam's Family Values (1993), produced by Scott Rudin, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and written by Paul Rudnick -- all Jewish. "The bad guys in the movie are virtually anyone with blond hair," says MacDonald, "... and the good guys include two Jewish children wearing yarmulkes." [MACDONALD, 1998, p. 18]
As Jewish comedian Lenny Bruce once noted in his stand-up routine:
"Now the Jew gets into show business. And he writes motion pictures,
he's making the images -- he has the film industry knocked up -- he
controls it! And the Jew naturally writes what he thinks is pretty, what
he thinks is ugly -- and it's amazing, but you never see one Jewish
bad guy in the movies. Not ever a Jewish villain, man. Gregory Peck,
Paul Muni -- haha! It's wonderful! Who's the bad guy? The goyim!
The Irish!" [COHEN, J., p. 37-38] [Apparently even Bruce, like
virtually all movie-goers, didn't realize that Muni was Jewish.]
In 1983, a book, Inside Prime Time, by Jewish sociologist Todd Gitlin, was published about the entertainment divisions of American television. (Among the pioneers in the field was Ira Phillips, who was Jewish. "In 1941", notes Anthony Heilbut, "the most popular [radio] soap operas were the creations of Ira Phillips ... By 1949 [he] had become the doyenne of television serials." [Heilbut, p. 125]) Noting that his field work evidenced "the large number of Jews who hold top positions in the networks and production companies," [GITLIN, p. 184] Gitlin interviewed a range of people in the TV business. Among them was Ethel Winant, vice-president in charge of mini-series at NBC, who told him
"There's a kind of joke that you hear often in this business. The same
people move in kind of a circle. It's a family. If I were fired tomorrow,
I would get a job the day after ... I'm part of that group. Which has very
little to do with whether I'm good or bad." [GITLIN, p. 116]
"A few score producer's names come up over and over again," noted Gitlin, "a few major production companies dominate the airwaves ... [GITLIN, p. 118] ... The old-boy networks binding executives, agents, and top producers amount to a curious kind of solidarity. Outsiders charge corruption ... [GITLIN, p. 155] ... Cronyism, mutual back scratching, behind-the-scenes favors, revolving doors, musical chairs, careers made by failing upward, the 'amazing largesse' given to favored members of the 'creative community' ... The same names may stay in circulation for years, or decades ... Old-boy networks bind this savage business together." [GITLIN, p. 156]
"Nepotism," says Jewish critic Michael Medved, "... plays a limited role in preserving Jewish prominence in the entertainment industry. Power often seems to pass from generation to generation. Just look at famous acting [Jewish] families like the Douglases (Kirk and Michael). Among producers and top executives, this pattern is even clearer. One of the major independent studios, Samuel Goldwyn Pictures, is run by the son of founding father Samuel Goldwyn ... A third-generation Goldwyn (Tony) is a successful and talented young actor ... It's possible that industry leaders feel more comfortable working with people who share their own outlook, values, and background." [MEDVED, p. 39] In the heyday of MGM, studio chief "Louis B. Mayer placed so many of his relatives on the payroll that the initials M-G-M were said to stand for 'Mayer's ganze mishpoche [Mayer's whole family].'" [WHITFIELD, p. 156]
"Back in the heyday of the self-made Jewish movie moguls," notes the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,
"the studios were, to a certain degree, family businesses. For Louis B. Mayer, Jack
and Harry Warner [at Warner Brothers], and others, nepotism was standard operating procedure ... Nepotism reached unprecedented heights at Universal Pictures, which was founded in 1915 by Carl Laemmle, an affable and unpretentious German-Jewish immigrant." [ZAGA, D., 5-23-97]
Universal, notes Chaim Bermant, "during [Laemmle's] heyday, was full of relatives, a fact which gave rise to Ogden Nash's famous couplet: 'Uncle Carl Laemmle has a large famlee.'" [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 93-94]
"Perhaps the most unique aspect of Jewish participation [in Hollywood]," says Jewish scholar Patricia Erens,
"that which sets them apart from any other ethnic group -- has been the
virtual monopoly on film producing ... As Jews gained a foothold in
the industry, they hired friends and relatives, and so their numbers,
and influence, grew." [ERENS, P., 1980, p. 115]
"In certain ways," says Tom Tugend, "the Hollywood moguls revealed their Jewish roots implicitly, by the patriarchal style in which they ran their fiefdoms and by their close family loyalties." [ERENS, P., 1980, p. 115] "Relationships play a big part in Hollywood filmmaking ... There is a very familial relationship between the four of us [Jews] who head Orion -- Eric Pleskow, Bill Bernstein, Arthur Krim, and myself," noted a Jewish co-founder, Mike Medavoy, of Orion Pictures in 1990. [BROUWER/WRIGHT, 1990, p. 8]
Richard Shepherd, for example, whohad "a brilliant producing career," became a partner at talent agency Creative Management Associates, and eventually production chief at (post-Mayer) MGM. A key factor in getting the ball rolling was that his wife "was a granddaughter of the fabled Louis B. Mayer. Judy's father, William Goetz, had married Mayer's daughter, Edith, and had gone on to become a powerful producer in his own right during Hollywood's golden era." [BART, p. 127] Goetz was once a producer at 20th Century Fox. Another Mayer daughter, Irene, married David Selznick, member of another prominent Jewish Hollywood clan. Mogul Samuel Goldwyn married the sister of mogul Jesse Lasky. [ERENS, P., 1980, p. 133]
One time head of the Paramount film studio? Stanley Jaffe. One time chief at Columbia? Jaffe's father, Leo, whose brother-in-law, Abe Schneider, was Chairman of the Board. One time chairman of MGM? Nick Schenck. At the same time his brother, Joseph, headed United Artists.
And as Peter Hay notes about Warner Brothers studio:
"In 1950 stockholders brought suit against Warner Brothers and
United States Pictures, which was run by Milton Sperling, the son-in-
law of Harry Warner. Warner Brothers financed and distributed the
films made by United States Pictures. This was not the first nepotism
suit, which prompted producer Jerry Wald to remark: 'If this sort of thing
keeps up, the son-in-law business in Hollywood will be set back at
least ten years.'" [HAY, P., 1990, p. 262-263]
Note the case of Joan Micklin Silver, a "housewife turned director." Silver's husband Raphael, says Rachel Abramowitz, "had grown so distressed by watching his wife's frustrated ambition that he personally raised the money to finance her 1975 directorial debut, Hester Street, about a neglected Jewish housewife at the turn of the century." [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 139] "At a party," notes the Jewish Press,
"Silver met Joan Ganz Cooney, a founder of the Children's Television
network, who put her in touch with Linda Gotlieb, then an executive
with an educational film company. Gotlieb fed her freelance script
writing work and when Micklin Silver told the company head she
wanted to direct as well, she got her wish." [BIGA, L., 4-14-2000, p. 34]
David Begelman "was in the insurance business when he met and married Esther Feldman, sister of the agent Charles Feldman." Feldman was one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood. Begelman soon worked at the MCA agency till he formed his own company with Freddie Fields, Creative Management Associates (CMA). [SHIPMAN, D., 1993, p. 447] By the 1970s, Begelman was head of Columbia studios. MCA executive Jay Kanter was Paramount president Barney Balaban's son-in-law. [MCDOUGAL, p. 231] Famed Universal director William Wyler's cousin, Carl Laemmle, was the head of that movie company. [BERG, A., 1989, p. 263] Paul Weinstein, vice president of production at Warner Brothers has a sister, Lisa, who is a "D-girl for the powerful production team of Leonard Goldberg and Jerry Weintraub at Universal." [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 170]
Famous agent Mort Janklow's wife Linda is the daughter of prominent Jewish film director Mervyn Le Roy and granddaughter of Harry Warner, of Warner Brothers. Jeremy Zimmer, who rose to head the motion picture packaging department at talent agency giant ICM, (and later became a partner in the "prestigious Baver/Benedek Agency" is the grandson of former MGM president Dore Schary. [BROUWER/WRIGHT, 1990, p. 45] Howard Kaminsky, president of Warner Books, is Jewish director/comedian Mel Brook's first cousin. [KRANTZ, J., 2000, p. 209, 288] Ray Stark was the "producer of such films as Funny Girl, the Oscar-winning movie based on the life of [Jewish comedian] Fanny Brice, Stark's mother-in-law." [KING, T., 2000, p. 270] George Shapiro was Jewish comedian Andy Kaufman's personal manager. "[Kaufman]," notes Shapiro, "came to my attention through my darling uncle and client Carl Reiner, who saw Andy in a nightclub in New York City." [ZEHME, B., 1999, p. 3] And on and on.
Sidney Ganis was named president of the motion picture group for Paramount Pictures in 1988. Here's how he got his start in Hollywood:
"As a teenager, he responded to a New York Times want ad for an office
boy needed in a show business publicity office. When the rejection note
came, he left it on the kitchen table, where his uncle Phil, a restaurateur
with acquaintances in the entertainment industry, happened to read it.
One call from Uncle Phil, and Sid had the job. Within three years he was
introduced to the publicity chief at Twentieth-Century-Fox who brought
him on board." [BROUWER/WRIGT, 1990, p. 515-516]
"Hollywood is a make-work town where nepotism is a way of life," observed (Jewish) comedian Roseanne Barr's sister (and longtime manager), Geraldine, in 1994. [BARR, G., 1994] "In Hollywood," once joked British character actor Arthur Treacher, "success is relative. The closer the relative, the greater the success." [HAY, P., 1990, p. 262] "I became a director," says Jay Sandrich (director of TV's The Cosby Show, among others), "by being in the right place at the right time, plus the wonderful thing that helps so many people in this business, nepotism.... My father was a feature film director ... I really had no interest in the business. I've always felt that if my father had worked in the automobile business, I'd be in the automobile business." [LEVINSON, p. 118-119] (Cosby's Jewish agent, Jerry Katzman, originally arranged the deal for his show with NBC's Jewish head, Brandon Tartikoff. One of the two co-writers for the program was also Jewish, Ed Weinberger. [TARTIKOFF, p. 10, 13] Thomas Werner, the head of Carsey-Werner, produced "The Cosby Show" and "Roseanne" for television. In earlier years, as Bill Cosby made the transition from stand-up comic to television with the I Spy series, his managers were Fred Weintraub and Roy Silver. The producer of another popular Black-oriented program, Sanford and Son? Bernard Orenstein).
"Now that Jews govern the New [mass media] Establishment, (their official mouthpiece is the New York Times)," complained William Cash, a reporter for Britain's Daily Telegraph, "does any sort of reverse form of class or racial discrimination operate against outsiders trying to get access to the entertainment highway -- wasps, blacks, Brits (there is only one Brit of any level of executive significance in all the major studios, and he is Jewish) and others not so favoured?" [CASH, p. 15]
"Recently I had a meeting with a young executive," wrote Jewish screenwriter Adam Kulakow in a Jewish journal, "to discuss a possible script assignment. Our conversation began with a discussion of the Eastern European origins of my surname and segued from their to talk of my grandparent's arrival in America ... It wasn't long before we were playing 'Jewish geography.' By the time we got around to the business of the meeting, we had achieved a comfort level based on our common ground." [KULAKOW, A., p. 43] Kulakow ends his story that dismisses Jewish nepotism by declaring that Jewish solidarity meant nothing because he didn't get the job. What he neglects to mention, of course, is how many other candidates were interviewed for the job, and whether or not the person who did get the position had the same "comfort level." After all, even the most ethnocentric Jewish executive can't hire all fellow Jews for one open position. "Relationships at studios," says television comedy writer Stuart Gibbs, "often begin with whether they are comfortable with you. If you share a bond you might have a slight edge [in getting a job.]" [KULAKOW, p. 43]
Meanwhile, Kulakow quotes a non-Jewish television writer who dutifully says that being a non-Jew hasn't hurt his career. However, the Gentile notes to Kulakow that "in a nice way every now and then I feel like a shabbes goy." Short of those married to Jews, how many non-Jews know what a shabbes goy is, except those who have the term directed to them, jokingly or otherwise? A shabbes goy is (whatever its formal dissimulative explanations) essentially a non-Jewish servant who traditionally does all the work for Jews on Saturdays while they sit home lounging around, religiously forbidden to even light candles. One dictionary of Yiddish slang defines shabbes goy as "Someone who does the dirty work for others (Lit., gentile doing work for a Jew on Sabbath)." [KOGOS, p. 69] In what context would such a Yiddish term come up between Jew and non-Jew, unless there was, however veiled in humor, a latent undercurrent of reality? In Black parlance, shabbes goy is the rough equivalent to "house nigger."
(While we're on Yiddish terms, the double moral/linguistic standard in today's Jewish-dominated mass media can be staggering to behold. The free use of the word shiksa (the defamatory slur against non-Jewish women) can still be found today, common in major publications. The New York Post calls Hilary Clinton's grandmother a shiksa [PEYSER, 8-6-99], the Los Angeles Times notes a film with an "unattainable shiksa princess," [HORNDADY, p. 90], and Richard Siegel, the executive director of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture has a letter printed in the New York Times quoting another commentator about a "shiksa-chasing Jewish prince." [SIEGEL, R. 11-30-96] Can we imagine this day and age the same Jewish (or any other) organization discussing "nigger-chasers," "Pollock-chasers," or any other comparable defamation in a reputable national newspaper? One writer, Ellen Jaffe-Gill, (who is Jewish; how many non-Jews have even heard the shiksa term, let alone know the way that the Jewish community still widely uses the word?) had the integrity to complain to the Times about the paper's use of the term. Shiksa, she noted, "is about as affectionate as the N-word, and if the Times' style sheet lists racial pejoratives ... as no-nos, shiksa ... should go on the list." [JAFFE-GILL, p. 95] Elsewhere, in a Jewish journal, Gabrielle Glaser notes that when she reviewed Jewish literature for information about intermarriage with non-Jews, "a lot of it was judgmental and didactic. The attitude was, 'Well, if she's not Jewish, she's a stupid shiksa.'" [COLEMAN, S., p. 41]) (A review of expressly Jewish periodicals in the Ethnic Newswatch computer databank, from 1994 through 1999, notes the use of the word shiksa in over 70 different articles).
Being Jewish means nothing in Hollywood? In 1992, struggling Jewish actress Fran Drescher ended up sitting on a plane next to a Jewish broadcasting mogul, Jeff Sagansky, then president of CBS Entertainment. "To her captive audience she pitched an idea: a sitcom about a Jewish babe who become a nanny for the children of a dashing British millionaire. By the time Drescher deplaned, she'd convinced the network honcho to give her a weekly show [The Nanny] -- which is now in its fourth season." [HANSON, p. 160]
In another such case, Jewish journalist Philip Weiss "conspired to get himself seated next to [book publisher] Farrar, Strauss' formidable [Jewish] boss, Roger Straus, at a dinner party. After three drinks, an emboldened Weiss asked Straus if he would take a look at his novel. Straus agreed to look, and later agreed to publish [Weiss' novel entitled Cock-a-doodle-do]." [CRYER, p. 34] "The social and professional scope I have as an American Jew is largely unlimited," says Weiss, "... I have been included just about everywhere I have wanted to be. My (largely Jewish) professional network is well connected and powerful." [original author's parenthesis: WEISS, p. 26]
Jewish NBC head Brandon Tartikoff notes that at his grandmother's death bed she was still asking him to do a TV mini-series based on the book Evergreen, by Belva Plain. "Grandma," Tartikoff explained to her, "It's a Jewish story. There are only six million Jews. We're into large audiences ... After she died, I felt badly that I'd never done it and -- largely for sentimental reasons, I admit -- I commissioned a script of the book." [TARTIKOFF, p. 29] Evergreen eventually became a regular television program.
In 2001, the New York Times started an article about Jewish/Israeli Hollywood mogul Haim Saban like this:
"Haim Saban picked up the phone in his office. Leslie Moonves [also Jewish], president of CBS Television, was returning his call. 'Bobbie,' said Mr. Saban, the childrens' television mogul and top Democratic fund-raiser, 'Don't worry, don't worry, I'm not asking for money.' Instead Mr. Saban asked Mr. Moonves to help a singer,
who was a family friend, in finding a TV gig." [WEINRAUB, B., 3-4-01, p. 2]
In this vein, Jewish Hollywood mogul David Geffen "helped [Jewish fashion mogul] Calvin Klein's daughter, Marci, land a job at Saturday Night Live." [KING, T., 2000, p. 480] (Geffen had helped the head of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels, get a job earlier in his career as a writer at a Phyllis Diller TV show). [KING, T., 2000, p. 61]
"Soon after the success of Daisy," says Jewish novelist Judith Krantz, about one of her early novels,
"Nat Wartels sold Crown to Random House, which was owned by Si Newhouse,
one of the richest men in America. On my next trip to New York, this unknown
billionaire gave a dinner party to welcome me, inviting only executives from Crown
and Random House. He and Bob Bernstein, who was his second-in-command at
the time, quizzed me, a total stranger, trying to get a grip exactly who this strange Californian was besides being a successful novelist.
'So where did you go to high school?' Bob began.
'My God, did you know my cousin, Alice Bernstein?'
'Well, of course I did, we graduated in the same class,' I answered
'What did you do after college?' Si wanted to know.
'I worked for Herb Mayes at Good House [Keeping]."
'Herb? I've known him all my life. A great man' was Si's response.
'My father was one of his best friends,' I said modestly, 'and Alex is one of my oldest and dearest friends,' I added, knowing full well that Si had dated their daughter, Alex, at one point her life, and that Mitzi Newhouse, his mother, and Grace Mayes were friends. Both men's faces beamed with relief. An absolutely perfect game of Jewish Geography had just been beautifully played and I had been squarely identified as a highly credentialed, super-nice New York Jewish girl, no potentially oddball California exotic." [KRANTZ, J., 2000, p. 303]
In 2000, Tom King's The Operator. David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood outlined Hollywood mogul David Geffens' rise to fabulous power via his largely Judeo-centric networking:
First Geffen got a job in the mailroom at the William Morris (Jewish-founder) agency. He told the Jewish man who hired him, Howard Portnoy, that he was (Jewish music producer) Phil Spectre's cousin. He also lied and said he had graduated from UCLA. [p. 46-47] Expecting a letter from UCLA to the company to evidence that Geffen was not a graduate, Geffen came in early to the mail room to intercept it. He had his brother, a lawyer, write a bogus UCLA confirmation from his law office instead. [p. 47] Geffen was much like the Hollywood hustler in [Jewish author] Budd Schulberg's novel What Makes Sammy Run, "a backstabbing [Jewish] huckster who employed appalling tricks to run to the top in Hollywood." [p. 48] In the mail room, Geffen met "Barry Diller, a Jewish kid from Beverly Hills who years later became one of Geffen's best friends, when the two were among the most powerful moguls in all of Hollywood." [p. 50] At a night club, he "struck up a conversation with Herb Gart, a manager who had recently come to New York with comedian Bill Cosby." [p. 50] "He next set his sights on romancing Nat Letkowitz, the celebrated head of Morris's New York office." [p. 51] "Enlisting Letkowitz's support was a brilliant move. Geffen had realized the value of having a 'rabbi' in life, someone powerful to help him get what he wanted." [p. 52] [Journalist -- and later Hollywood everything -- David Freeman likewise notes this "rabbi" relationship with Marv Seligman, his boss at the New York Post: "Marv was my rabbi at the paper. He had hired and trained me."] [FREEMAN, D., 1992, p. 10] "Geffen worked in the mailroom for six months until "he was stopped by Scott Shukat [also Jewish], who offered him a job as secretary to Ben Griefer [also Jewish], one of the office's most respected television agents ... Brooklyn born and raised in Queens, Shukat ... too, had lied on his employment application at the Morris office, listing his stage name, Scott Logan, Jr. But when he arrived at the office on the first day and saw the executives' names on the company directory in the lobby -- Letkowitz, Kalcheim, Griefer, Weiss, and so on -- he hustled back to the personnel office and told them his given Jewish name." [p. 52-53] [KING, T., 2000]
"To cover some of the long-distance calls, Geffen called the local switchboard at CBS and claimed to be Jerry Rubin, a CBS executive he had met." [p. 53] "Geffen began to mentor other secretaries and trainees. Jeff Wald [also Jewish], who supported his petty salary by peddling marijuana in the mailroom, immediately latched onto Geffen." [p. 54] "But by far the most important alliance Geffen made was with Elliot Roberts [also Jewish], a dope smoking clown who had grown up across the street from Wald. In the years to come, Roberts hitched his star to Geffen's and played a critically important role in David's life ... Born Elliot Rabinowitz ... he was not as swift as Geffen, [but] he was nevertheless a hustler." [p. 54] "Nat Lefkowitz placated Ben Griefer [also Jewish] by giving him a new secretary and then promoting Geffen to assistant to a crusty agent named Harry Kalcheim [also Jewish]." [p. 59] "With Marty Litke [also Jewish], also now a pal, Geffen signed Carmen Matthews ... Nat Lefkowitz soon promoted [Geffen] to agent." [p. 60] "At the meetings, Geffen often prattled on about a fellow he had met at the University of Texas named Ronny Pearlman [also Jewish], who he claimed would be the hottest writer the TV business had ever seen. He also talked up a hippie named Lorne Michaels [also Jewish, and later head of Saturday Night Live] and soon got him a gig writing for a situation comedy." [p. 61] "Geffen first turned to Herb Gart [also Jewish] .. who was now handling a group called the Youngbloods." [p. 66] Geffen got a hot stock tip "at a lawyer's office" about "Allen Klein [also Jewish], the manager of the Rolling Stones who was going to take over Cameo-Parkway Records." [p. 67] "Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Barry Diller [also Jewish] had quit the Morris office to become assistant to Leonard Goldberg, the head of West Coast programming at ABC ... Before long, Diller was running the department by himself." [p. 68] "Laura Nigro [Nyro] was born in the Bronx in 1947, the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Italian-Catholic father ... [She was managed by] Artie Mogul [also Jewish]l, a hustler who had once signed Bob Dylan [of course also Jewish] to an early publishing deal . [p. 73] "He did not interfere with her songs, but he did insist that she change her name, fearing people might pronounce it 'Negro.'" [p. 73] "Geffen next plotted to make a new label deal for his client. He went to see Jerry Schoenbaum [also Jewish], the head of Verve-Folkways." [p. 80] "CBS Records head Clive Davis [also Jewish] was one of the slickest and most intimidating figures in the business ... Geffen, meanwhile, had gotten all the use he could squeeze out of Nat Lefkowitz and was searching for a more powerful rabbi." [p. 81] "Clive Davis, meanwhile, had developed an extraordinary affection for David Geffen." [p. 86]
In 1968, the "rivals of William Morris began to court [Geffen]. The Ashley Famous Agency [also Jewish-founded] ... now badly wanted him." [p. 87] "[Nat] Lefkowitz also may not have wanted to get in a bidding war with Ashley Famous in part because Ted Ashley was his nephew." [p. 88] "In late 1967, Ashley sold his agency for thirteen million dollars to Kinney Service ... Kinney was run by the owner's son-in-law" Steve Ross [also Jewish], "later ... chairman of Warner Communications. Ross was the man directly responsible for the transactions that were to make Geffen a billionaire." [p. 88] "Once again displaying indomitable guts, Geffen set his sights on Albert Grossman [also Jewish], the biggest gun in the management business." [p. 89] Geffen "got on the phone, found [Todd] Schiffman [also Jewish] at home in Los Angeles, and began selling him on the notion that he ought to quit APA and join Ashley Famous." [p. 90] "But the real clincher for Schiffman was that he, like Geffen, had a shady artist-management operation on the side." [p. 91] "Geffen met the man with home he would develop a decades-long friendship, bonded in a love that many would term brotherly" -- Sandy Gallin [also Jewish]. [p. 92] Gallin shot to stardom after booking the Beatles for their legendary 1964 debut on The Ed Sullivan Show." [p. 93] "The only person Geffen knew at Atlantic Records was Jerry Wexler [also Jewish], Atlantic's president." [p. 106] "The next day, Geffen visited his friend Lous Adler [also Jewish]." [p. 120] Freddie Fields [also Jewish] "was the most powerful motion-picture agent in the business. Geffen thought that he might be able to use a connection to fields as a springboard to establishing himself as a power in movies as well as music." [p. 127] "At CMA, Geffen was in Field's office every day, ushered in by Field's assistant, a young man named Jeff Berg [also Jewish], who years later became the chairman of the agency (known then as ICM)." [p. 129] When Geffen first met David Begelman [also Jewish], who a few years later became known as one of Hollywood's most notorious felons, he looked him in the eye and said, 'You know, what I admire most about you is your ability to lie with such grace.'" [p. 129] Geffen "finangled relationships with Robert Evans [also Jewish], the president of production at Paramount Pictures, and David Picker [also Jewish] the head of United Artists." [p. 129]
"It has long been a standing joke in LA," says English journalist William Cash, "that the way to get on is to convert to Judaism. Simon Kelton, an Eton-and Oxford-educated screenwriter friend with whom I used to share a house, and who was shortlisted for the Samuel Goldwyn film-writing award, always stressed his Jewish 'ancestry' whenever he gets a chance in LA; something few had heard about before." [CASH, p. 29]
Non-Jew Jon Peters, a seventh grade dropout, [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 95] eventually rose from co-ownership of a hairdresser shop to become co-head of a Columbia division. It didn't hurt his possibilities that when he started out, he shared the hair business with a Jewish friend, Paul Cantor. Nor did it hurt his Hollywood career that he eventually was doing Barbara Streisand's hair, and that he later became her live-in lover. [GRIFFIN/MASTERS, p. 23, 102, et al] Jewish film producer Julia Phillips, early in her Hollywood career, notes the first time she met Streisand at her home: "She stares at me a lot. I make sure to let her know I'm Jewish like the time I met [my husband] Michael's grandmother, and that pleases her." [PHILLIPS, J., p. 90]
Russian-born French film director Roger Vadim (Jewish?) -- famed for romances with Brigette Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, and Jane Fonda -- notes the beginning of his movie career: "All I needed was opportunity and luck. Opportunity came in the form of Raoul Levy.... a Belgian of Russian origin." [VADIM, p. 78] Levy, notes actor Tony Randall, "made many of Brigette Bardot's films, starting with her first, And God Created Woman." [RANDALL, T., 1989, p. 89]
Famed French film director Francois Truffaut? "His father had disappeared in 1931 after impregnating his mother." A hired detective discovered that Truffaut's father was "the Bayonne-born Jew, Roland Levy." And as the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California notes:
"According to the authors of a new biography on the filmmaker, Truffaut
was relieved [that his father was Jewish] 'because it confirmed he
was not like everyone else. He was different. He was not a child like
anyone else and perhaps that was because he was Jewish child...
[Truffaut] kept his Jewish origins a secret from all but his ex-wife
Madeleine Morgenstern; Helen Scott, the head of the public relations
for the French Film Office in New York; and film producers Pierre
Braumberger and Ilya Lopert -- just a few of the Jews he surrounded
Truffaut's "long time Jewish assistant" was Suzanne Schiffman. He was also a member of Fonds de Solidarite avec Israel (the Israel Solidarity Fund). [GELENTER, T., 4-23-99, p. 35A]
How prominent are Jews in Hollywood? Superstar Judy Garland's road to Hollywood stardom was like many others. Although not Jewish, her big break in Hollywood was provided by a Jewish friend of her parents, Marc Rabwin. He contacted a Jewish acquaintance, Joseph Mankiewicz, a prominent screenwriter, who personally asked an audition for her from Louis B. Mayer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Garland's agent at the time, Al Rosen, also Jewish, "claimed credit" for setting up a second audition for his client at the powerful studio where the man she "decided to see was Sam Katz, a new arrival to the studio." [SHIPMAN, D., 1993, p. 42-44, 51] Like many Hollywood stars, Garland's eventual agent was the prominent Charles Feldman, also Jewish. So was her doctor, Lee Siegel. Garland's first husband was also Jewish -- bandleader Artie Shaw. Her second husband was a Jewish musician, David Rose. (Garland's sister, Suzi, also married a Jewish musician, Lee Cahn. [SHIPMAN, D., 1993, p. 104, 108]) Judy Garland's fourth husband was her business manager, Sid Luft, also Jewish. A man he hired, Harry Rubin, "a former hoodlum from Brooklyn," [SHIPMAN, p. 304, 352] also had a series of affairs with the famous actress/singer. One of Garland's many Jewish psychotherapists, Leonard Krauss, called Rubin "her one island of [emotional] safety." [SHIPMAN, D., p. 353] When Garland divorced Luft, her divorce lawyer, Jerry Geisler, was also Jewish. Garland also had a variety of other marriages and other affairs. Included among them was romantic engagements with her lawyer Gregory Bautzer. (Another of her lawyers was Irving Erdheim). Bautzer was "the unofficial California law partner" of mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, also Jewish. [MCDOUGAL, p. 327] The man Garland declared in later life to have been "the only one she ever loved," was also the aforementioned Joe Mankiewicz. [SHIPMAN, D., 1993, p. ix]
Late in her career, Garland also believed that she had been swindled by as much as $300,000 by a Jewish agent, David Begelman. Both Begelman's wife and Garland's husband believed he too had a secret affair with the famous actress. [SHIPMAN, D. p. 448] Aside from numerous Jewish producers and directors in her life, others in Garland's business world included Arthur Freed, MGM lyricist, described by one chronicler as "a vulgar, ambitious, sentimental, reactionary, ruthless, insensitive, and ill-educated man." [SHIPMAN, D., 1993, p. 53] Garland's daughter Liza (Minelli) was even named after a song by Jewish songwriters Ira Gershwin and Gus Kahn. [SHIPMAN, D. p. 190] Daughter Lorna Moon was named after a character created by Jewish playwright Clifford Odets, [SHIPMAN, D., p. 299] the character played by Odet's real-life tragic paramour, Frances Farmer, in Golden Boy.
Lana Turner? The legend that she was "discovered" by Hollywood at Schwab's pharmacy was created by a Jewish columnist, Sidney Skolsky. [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 23] Her first agent, when she was 15, was Zeppo Marx, who had dropped out of the Marx Brothers comedy group to concentrate on business ends of Hollywood. In later years her agent was Stan Kamen. [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 28-29, 283] As a teenage actress, the first man Turner ever had sex with was Jewish Hollywood lawyer Greg Bautzer. "I wasn't surprised at all," she wrote in 1982, "when I recently read that he is now the power behind the throne at MGM." [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 43] Turner's next lover was Jewish bandleader Artie Shaw (Arshawasky), who she married in Las Vegas at age 19. [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 50] (This was the first of seven marriages). After having sex with Shaw after the marriage, Turner writes that "I experienced nothing but a question -- what am I doing underneath this man? I don't even know him." Others actresses at the same time with emotional investments in Shaw included Judy Garland and Betty Grable. [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 53] "By the third day of our marriage," notes Turner, "I knew I was in trouble, but how could I get out of it?" [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 55] Within the year she had divorced him and had an abortion of his child. Turner's last husband (for six months) was scam artist and nightclub hypnotist Ronald Dante (Peller). Dante skipped out of the marriage after six months, trying to swindle Turner out of $35,000. [TURNER, L., 1982, p. 291] (Dante surfaced publicly again in 2000, heading a fraudulent business system called the Permanetics Institute, and became a fugitive when sentenced to 67 months in prison).
Non-Jewish actress Betty Davis? "Her role in [Jewish film director William] Wyler's movie," notes Reuters,
"was one of Davis' many trademark performances. She always maintained that
'Jezebel' made her a box-office star. She also had an affair with Wyler. Though
Davis would have many Hollywood affairs, some with her other directors,
Davis later maintained that Wyler was the love of her life." [REUTERS, 4-6-01]
TV star Mary Tyler Moore became famous on the Dick Van Dyke Show (produced by Carl Reiner and Sheldon Leonard). The heads of her production company, MTM Enterprises, were Arthur Price and Mel Blumenthal. In recent years she moved in with Robert Levine, also Jewish, a cardiologist she met in a Los Angeles hospital. Soon thereafter they took a vacation to Israel, where he had nearly 100 relatives. [MOORE, M., p. 258] Touring the Jewish state, she says,
"Nothing compared to the effect I felt at visiting The [Jewish Wailing]
Wall, with its millions of prayers and wishes written on small pieces of
paper that were tucked into crevices and cracks by all who had come
there throughout the ages. It was an Orthodox tradition that men and
women visit separately, so I was alone and without a prayer, but I did
put my forehead against the Wall and embraced with outstretched arms
all the pleas hidden there. When Robert and I were reunited some
distance from it, we both had tears in our eyes." [MOORE, M., p. 258-
This emotional scene, she states, soon led to a Jewish marriage. "My [Christian] family," she writes,
"was more accepting of the impending marriage than Robert's was
at first. Marion [Robert's mother], who was about to become my
mother-in-law, was only five years older than I. She confided to
Robert that as the director of a family mental-health agency, it might
appear that she had failed personally as a parental counselor. Irving
[the groom's father, who was Director of the Institute on American
Pluralism of the American Jewish Committee] was obliged to be a
little more receptive because of his long involvement with and
knowledge of cultural pluralism." [MOORE, M., p. 261]
Moore first heard the Yiddish word shiksa with her new husband at a party. It "is taken," she says, "almost always, as an affectionate term for a non-Jewish woman." [MOORE, M., p. 255]
"Suicide blonde" starlet Gloria Grahame attained fame in the early 1950s. Her initial screen test as MGM was conducted by Harry Rapf and J. Robert Rubin. She was romantically involved with film producer Stanley Rubin, later marrying Cy Howard (originally Seymour Horowitz). "Cy's Jewishness," notes Vincent Curcio, "was a very important issue to him, and as time went on it was to weigh very heavily on Gloria." [CURCIO, 1989, p. 186]
"Platinum Blonde" superstar Jean Harlow was, early in her acting career, involved with Jewish mobster Abner "Longie" Zwillman. Harlow's mother, notes David Stenn, "knew [Zwillman] could help her daughter's career, which he proved by securing a two-picture deal for Harlow with Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures." [STENN, D., 1993, p. 61] Harlow eventually married MGM executive Paul Bern (born Paul Levy), a close friend of top Jewish MGM executive Irving Thalberg. "Paul Bern fell in love with Jean Harlow," says Samuel Marx, "and got her the part that made her a star [a film called Red-Headed Woman]." [MARX, S., 1990, caption; photo section] Bern, while marrying America's silver screen sex symbol, was alleged to have been impotent. He was also, says Harlow biographer David Stenn, "interested in abnormalities and complexes, inhibitions, perversions, suicide and death." [STENN, D., 1993, p. 92] Bern was found dead at home, naked, with a gun at hand. His death, ruled a suicide, has always been controversial. Harlow later married Hal Rosson. Another Jewish beau late in Harlow's short life was Donald Friede, one of the owners of the Boni & Liveright publishing firm. [STENN, D., 1993, p. 105-134, 160, 216]
Jewish bandleader Barney Rapp (Rappaport) "gave Doris [Day] her start as a singer." [HOTCHNER, 1976, p. photo] Al Levy was Day's agent. She married her Jewish manager, Marty Melcher. When Melcher died in 1968, "he left his widow nearly half a million dollars in debt. His business partner, lawyer Jerry Rosenthal, mismanaged Day's assets -- estimated at $20 million -- down to nothing." [MCDOUGAL, p 251] (Among others Rosenthal hastened towards financial ruin was actor Van Johnson, "especially [via] a shelter that was supposed to decrease his tax bill. It was completely bogus.") [WYNN, N., 1990, p. 187] Sam Weiss, the head of Warners music, noted that "the fact was that the only thing Marty loved was money. He loved Patty's money [Melcher was first married to Patty Andrews of the popular singing trio, the Andrews Sisters] until Doris's money came along and then, because there was more of it, he loved Doris's money more." [HOTCHNER, 1976, p. 126] Day successfully sued Rosenthal; the presiding judge noted Rosenthal's "pattern of kickbacks and rebates disguised as attorney fees, and the implication of his clients thereby in tax fraud." [HOTCHNER, 1976, p. 281]
Actress Debbie Reynolds married Harry Karl -- they were introduced by omnipresent Jewish mob lawyer Sidney Korshak. [MCDOUGAL, p. 326] Reynolds once was also married to Jewish singer Eddie Fisher. Fisher left Reynolds to court superstar actress Elizabeth Taylor -- eventually Fisher became Taylor's fourth husband. Taylor converted to Judaism during this marriage, in 1959. (Her Hebrew name was Elisheba Rachel). Although she was never known by her husband to have attended a Jewish religious service, she promised to invest $100,000 in Israel Bonds. [HEYMANN, C.D., 1995, p. 195] Taylor's prior husband, Mike Todd, was a Hollywood film producer and was also Jewish. He, in turn, was formerly married to actress Joan Blondell. Todd's other "conquests," says C. David Heymann, "included Marlene Dietrich, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Marilyn Monroe ... Lawsuits, civil litigations, and bankruptcy court peppered Todd's career. The consummate con man, he survived (even thrived) by skirting the edge ... [HEYMANN, C.D., p. 151] ... Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Todd made an entire set of tape recordings of their lovemaking sessions and frequently presented the tapes as mementos to friends and business associates ... [HEYMANN, C.D., p. 153]
Taylor's uncle Howard, says C. David Heymann, "couldn't understand why Elizabeth would become involved with so many Jewish men." [HEYMANN, C.D. p. 195] These also included, during her marriage with Eddie Fisher, and "on-again off-again romance with another man" -- Max Lerner, a professor at Brandeis University who was decades older than her. Patricia Seaton, the widow of Peter Lawford, recalls that "I knew Max when he would hang out at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles. He had his own room there and would lure the young Playboy bunnies into his web by promising to read poetry to them. He pulled the same routine on me, and to my amazement it worked." [HEYMANN, C.D., p. 228]
The Jewish presence in Elizabeth Taylor's life, like so many in the Hollywood world in the rise to stardom, was important. "Taylor's emergence as a child star ... was largely the result of one man's intention." [HEYMANN, 1995, p. 36-37] This man was Samuel Marx, a producer at MGM, also Jewish. The director of the film that catapulted her to fame, National Velvet, was also Jewish: Fred Zinnemann. Taylor's agent in her glory years was Jules Goldstone. Her partner in the Elizabeth Taylor Theatre Company was also Jewish, Zev Bufman.
Marlon Brando? Agent: Jay Kantor. When the future movie star moved to New York to begin an acting career, he began taking courses at the Jewish-dominated New York School for Social Research and was subsumed by a Jewish environment. "I was largely raised by these Jews," he says, "I lived in a world of Jews. They were my teachers; they were my employers. They were my friends ... As well as [Jewish] academics and scholars from Eastern Europe, Jewish girls, most of whom were more educated, sophisticated and experienced in the ways of the world than I was, were my teachers in those early days in New York." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 72, 74] Brando's profoundly influential "method acting" acting teacher was Jewish, Stella Adler, who he credits with having enormous influence in his personal life; he even had a "relationship ... off an on, for many years" with Adler's daughter Ellen. [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 98-99] Adler also secured Brando his first important part in a play. [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 101]
Early in his career, Brando also took an important role in a play called A Flag Is Born, written by avid Zionist Ben Hecht and directed by Stella Adler's brother, Luther: both Jewish. As Brando notes, "it was essentially a piece of political propaganda advocating the creation of the state of Israel ... Everyone in A Flag Is Born was Jewish except me ... I did not know then that Jewish terrorists were indiscriminately killing Arabs and making refugees out of them in order to take their land ... The play, as well as my friendship with the Adlers, helped make me a zealous advocate for Israel and later a kind of traveling salesman for it." Brando was then further exploited by his Jewish cohorts; he began giving propaganda speeches for a Zionist organization, The American League for a Free Palestine. Influenced by Hitler's mass murder of Jews and the world view of the many Jews around him, Brando even contributed money himself to the Zionist Irgun organization, a terrorist group. Noting his avidly pro-Israel political activities, the movie star wrote to his parents, saying, "I'm really stimulated more than I've ever been." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 107-111]
Eventually Brando learned more about Zionism and his politics changed. "Now," he said in 1994, "I understand much more about the complexity of the situation than I did then ... [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 111] ... I sided with Jewish terrorists without acknowledging that they were killing innocent Palestinians in their effort to create the state of Israel ... [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 231] ... One of the strangest government policies is that largely because of the political influence of Jewish interests, our country has invested billions of dollars and many American lives to help Israel reclaim land that they say their ancestors occupied three thousand years ago." [BRANDO/LINDSEY, 1994, p. 388]
This kind of devotion by non-Jews in the entertainment world to Jewish causes was echoed by silent screen star Mary Pickford, who was catapulted to fame by Jewish mogul Adolph Zukor. Originally, Pickford held contempt for a number of the Jews she knew and was highly critical of them. "Behind his back," says Eileen Whitfield,
"Pickford called Goldwyn 'Shylock.' And to [her husband Douglas]
Fairbanks, whose grandfather had been Jewish, Mary sometimes said,
'That's the Jew in you.' But she topped these comments in the presence
of actress Carol Myers, to whom she explained that the Jews had invited
Hitler's persecution. Forgetting that Myers was a rabbi's daughter...,
Pickford chirped that avaricious Jews had snapped up German property
at bargain prices after World War I. She added that a syndicate of Jews
would repeat the conspiracy after World War II." [WHITFIELD, E.,
1997, p. 333]
Later, however, leaning on her universalistic Christian religious values, and troubled by increased reports of Nazi attacks against Jews, Pickford repented. Henceforth, "for years she tried to compensate [for her earlier feelings] by giving till it hurt to Jewish causes. Her greatest triumph was the Mary Pickford Building at L.A.'s Jewish Home for the Aged, to which she became a devoted patron." [WHITFIELD, E., 1997, p. 333] (Another example of such well-meaning non-Jewish Hollywood support for Jewish causes is the case of Jon Voigt and his activism for the Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement. As Howard Jacobson notes about the actor: "Jon Voigt would seem to have a special relationship with Chabad Lubavitch. He speaks of 'whirlwinds of knowledge' ... 'I'm a firm believer,' Jon Voigt goes on, 'in this source of energy that keeps the just justly.'" [JACOBSON, H., 1995, p. 100] One presumes that, like so many, the well-meaning non-Jewish Voigt has not done his homework about the racist teachings of this Orthodox organization. Click these three links for earlier discussions about Chabad: First, Second, Third. (Meanwhile, people like former NBC producer Molly Resnick, raised in Israel, has returned to her Jewish roots via alleigiance to Chabad. She eventually beame a "proud Jew, instead of the kind of Jew who wanted to be a WASP," and founded Mothers Against Teaching Children to Kill and Hate, an organization against the content of Palestinian school textbooks). [ESKENAZI, J., 5-11-01]
Comedian John Belushi's Hollywood world included the usual swirl of Jewish lawyers, agents, and film and TV people: Lorne Michaels, head of Saturday Night Live; Belushi's personal manager Bernie Brillstein, his assistant Joel Briskin; movie producer Robert Weiss; "physician and psychiatrist" Bennett Braun, musician and cocaine supplier Richard Gerstein, [WOODWARD, p. 344] filmmaker and drug addict Gary Weis, among others. The public relations firm of Solters, Roskin and Friedman was hired, "as with many of their clients, ... to keep [Belushi's] name out of the news, not in it." [WOODWARD, 1984, p. 377] Belushi degenerated into a hopeless drug addict and developed a reputation for unreliability, eventually dying of a heroin overdose.
TV talk show host Jay Leno? His manager is Helen Kushnik, later the Executive Producer of Leno's TV show. She and her husband Jerrold Kushnik (a Hollywood lawyer) have been members of Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills. Leno's lawyer? Ron Berg. [CARTER, B., 1994, p. 79, 104-106, 62]
Tough-guy John Wayne started out in Hollywood at Harry Cohn's Columbia Studios, moved to Nat Levine's Mascot Pictures, and then was under contract to Sidney Rogell and Leon Schlesinger. [ROBERTS/OLSON, 1995, p. 99, 102, 112] Likewise, Gene Autry got his start at Levine's film company. [TUSKA, J., 1982, p. 156] Director Orson Welles? "A curious member of Welles' entourage," says Barbara Leaming, "[was] his mentor and surrogate father, Dr. Maurice 'Dadda' Bernstein." [LEAMING, B., 1989, p. 92] "Bernstein, "notes Charles Higham, Welles' biographer, "was greedy and unscrupulous; he used, married, and discarded Mina Elman, sister of the violin virtuoso Mischa Elman, and later equally misused the Chicago opera star Edith Mason, drawing her into a menage a trois with her former husband. Later Dr. Bernstein tried to milk Welles of every possible cent when Welles achieved fame." The index in Higham's volume lists ten pages under the heading: "Bernstein-- money grubbing antics of." Bernstein also had an affair with Welles' mother. [HIGHAM, C., 1985, p. 6, 350, 38-39] Welle's first acting role was as a "brutally anti-Semitic, bullying nobleman" in the Irish play Jew Suss. [HIGHAM, C., 1985, p. 57]
Jackie Gleason's Jewish circle? His agents were "superagent" Sam Cohn [HENRY, W., 1992, p. 10, 66] and Herb Siegel [p. 225] Meeting CBS chief Joseph Cates in 1952, his "agents and managers" included "Herb Rosenthal and Herb's assistant Jerry Katz." The writers for his smash 1950s TV series The Honeymooners were Marvin Marx ("Gleason's leading writer for a couple of decades"),Walter Stone, Leonard Stern, and Sid Zelinka. [p. 169] Coleman Jacoby was the "creator of most of the characters Gleason played for two decades of network television." [p. 10]
Of particular note too was a "tall, fat, big-nosed, craggy-faced, homely Jewish man called Toots Shor ... [p. 67] For at least a decade and a half, from the early forties through the late fifties, [Gleason] was to center his life on a ceaseless effort to tease, amuse, trick, top and otherwise entertain Toots Shor. He spent more cumulative time with Toots than any of his wives or mistresses." [p. 68] As Gleason's biographer William Henry III notes about Shor:
"No social history of Manhattan would be complete without mention of Shor,
the barkeep-turned-celebrity who was described by The New Yorker in a
November 1950 profile (adulatory at such lenght that it ran in three installments)
as 'the burly, impudent, hard-working, high-spirited, sentimental proprieter of the restaurant at 51 West 51st Street that bears his name' ... Shor's was not for the
literati, the left-leaning or, naturally, the ill-to-do. It was not for the cafe of society
of tuxedoed gentlemen and gilded debutantes. Rather, Shor's was for saloon
society, the self-confident men of attainment in sports and journalism and entertainment, plus their hangers-on, admirers, and gawkers ... Toot's was a
world of celebrities, commingling with all sorts of people whose common bond
was being famous ... Just as being 'mentioned in [Jewish columnist Walter] Winchell' was a vital hallmark of this status, so was being moved to the front of the inevitable waiting line at Shor's ... Just as important to Shor's reputation were the newspaper columnists, most of them locally based but many of them nationally syndicated ... These journalistic power brokers worked the tables at Shor's to get glittering celebrity items for their columns, often accumulating a whole day's worth of material in the course of lunch. The celebrities, in turn, worked the tables at Shor's to promote
their careers ... Toots was regarded as a crude but accurate barometer of how
one's career ws going ... The warmer his greeting, the faster one was rising; the
more perfunctory the handshake, the quicker one's impending fall." [HENRY,
W., 1992, p. 68]
Danny Thomas, the Arab/Lebanese-born comedian famous for the long-running TV series Make Room for Daddy, was -- like most -- inundated by Jewish Hollywood. He started his career at Harry Eagle's nightclub in Chicago. His first agent was Leo Salkin, who passed him up to super-agent Abe Lastfogel (Thomas called him "Uncle Abe" all his life), [THOMAS, D., 1991, p. 111] the head of the William Morris Agency. Thomas describes his first performance for Lastfogel:
"When I finished, I joined the William Morris group at their table. Mr. Lastfogel
was deep in thought. Everybody was waiting for him to speak. Finally, his
wife, Frances, broke the ice. She said, 'You've sure got a lot of talent for a
Lebanese from Toledo. Are you sure you're not a Jew from New York?"
Everyone laughed." [THOMAS, D., 1991, p. 110]
Thomas (who was often mistaken for being Jewish) notes his first stand-up comedy gig in Chicago:
"Sensing the makeup of the audience, I told a lot of my Yiddish stories, starting
with my classics about Mrs. Feldman. I didn't know it at the time, but in the
audience there was a wealthy diamond appraiser, Max Finkelman, who was
staying at the nearby Edgewater Beach Hotel and had stopped by with his wife
for a cold beer on that warm night. This man became my biggest booster. There
were two big Jewish private clubs in Chicago, the Covenant and the Standard.
The diamond appraiser spread the word around these two clubs, and people
soon came flocking to see 'this great neew Yiddish comic.'" I never said I was
or wasn't Jewish." [THOMAS, D., 1991, p. 86-87]
Jewish comedian Fanny Brice gave him his first radio break. Three prominent Jewish movie moguls (Louis Mayer, Harry Cohn, and Jack Warner) offered him a future in the movies if he had his large nose changed with plastic surgery. [p. 153-157] He declined each time, but MGM's first film offer cast him as a Jewish cantor. [p. 155] At Warner Brothers, his first movie role was to star in a screen biography of Jewish songwriter Gus Kahn (producer: Lou Edelman). [p. 158] He next starred in a remake of the classic Jewish-themed movie The Jazz Singer. [p. 159] Thomas is known for building the St. Jude Catholic hospital. The only people Thomas mentions in his biography on the St. Jude Foundation of California were Lastfogel as president, fellow-Jew Morris Stoller (another executive at William Morris) as treasurer, and Democratic Party activist Paul Ziffen (also Jewish) "the attorney who got us our tax exemption." [p. 171] The script writer who wrote the pilot for Make Room for Daddy was Mel Shavelson. [p. 186] Other writers for the series included Danny Simon, Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf, Frank Tarloff, and Mac Benoff. [p. 210-211] The director was first Bill Asher, and later Sheldon Leonard, who became Thomas's co-partner on many future projects. These projects included successful TV series like the Dick Van Dyke Show, The Real McCoys, The Andy Griffith Show, and others. "The man who deserves most of the credit," writes Thomas, "for running the Empire (we frequently had three shows in the Top Ten) was the indefatigable Sheldon Leonard." [THOMAS, D., p. 218]
Moving along in the show busines world, there is Joseph E. Levine. "I built a helluva lot of people -- made them stars," he declared,
"Sophia Loren -- I won her the Academy Award for Two Women, promoted
the shit out of her within the industry, and she didn't even mention me in her
book. And don't forget [Jewish actor] Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. I made
a helluva lot of directors too. I hired [Jewish director] Mike Nichols the first
one -- won him an Oscar for best director, The Graduate. I hired [Jewish director]
Mel Brooks the first one -- on The Producers. Yeah, it was his first picture."
ARONSON, S., 1983, p. 194]
Among actress Gloria Swanson's marriages was one to Herbert Somborn, a Jewish film executive. [GABLER, N., 1988, p. 279] After Dezi Arnaz, Lucille Ball married Gary Morton (born Morton Goldaper) in 1961, a comic and film producer. Husband of the famous redhead for the rest of her life, Morton became head of Lucille Ball Productions. [AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4-1-99, p. B3] Late in her life, actress Rita Hayworth developed Alzheimer's disease. Yet "even at this point there was a man in Rita's life, Kim Novak's former beau, Mac Krim, who regularly squired her about town and to certain of her public appearances." [LEAMING, B., 1989, p. 356] In once-prominent Hollywood actress June Allyson's autobiography, she dedicates the book to her husband, two children, and her manager Jerry Cohn. [ALYSON, J., 1982, DEDICATION PAGE] (Allyson, who was once thinking about giving up her Hollywood ambitions, credits MGM producer Joe Pasternak with launching/saving her movie career, interceding with MGM head Louis B. Mayer on her behalf). [ALLYSON, J., 1982, p. 36].
Even "top supermodel" Cindy Crawford has a Jewish husband. When she was honored with an award by a women's division of Yehisva University, a number of rabbis began complaining that, "as a gentile married to a Jew, Ms. Crawford sends an inappropriate message to a Jewish community that is beleaguered by intermarriage." [FORWARD, 5-5-2000, p. 1]
The incestuous Jewish world of power in Hollywood may also be noted in the Jewish team of Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, who have been influential in a variety of Hollywood projects since the late 1960s. Schneider got his start in his father's Screen Gems company, the television wing of Columbia pictures, rising to become treasurer of the company. The two men later formed a firm called BBS which was influential in the creation a number of hit "counterculture" films like the aforementioned Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces, among others. Independent filmmaker Jim McBride noted that at BBS, "the truth is, they were very schizophrenic. We used to call them 'the Hollywood Sperm,' because they were all children of successful Hollywood people. They had beards, but in other ways, they didn't seem at all that different." [BISKIND, p. 77] Another who knew them, Harry Gittes (also Jewish), noted that the BBS "people were the meanest people I ever met in my life, brutal, inhumane inflicted. Respect and loyalty, that was the way BBS operated. They had a gangster mentality. This was the Jewish, Bugsy Siegel-type of hipness ... These were the coldest, toughest Jews I'd ever met in my life to another Jew!" [BISKIND, p. 117]
Famed television talk show host Larry (Zeiger) King's first "benefactor" was Lou Wolfson, "a great philanthropist in the Jewish community" who once "controlled a $400 million industrial empire and was known as 'the great raider' because of his penchant for taking over corporations." [KING, p. 11] "Now, one may wonder," wrote King, "as I did not, why this virtual stranger suddenly wanted to become my benefactor and career advisor. To this day I don't know." [KING, p. 13] (Wolfson eventually went to prison for stock crimes. Jewish Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas was also hit by Wolfson's wake, resigning "from the Court in disgrace" when it was learned he was a $20,000 a year advisor for the "Wolfson Foundation." [KING, p. 197] King himself was sued by Wolfson in 1972, accused of stealing $5,000; the charge against him was eventually dismissed because "the statute of limitations had run out." [KING, p. 29] A later wealthy benefactor for King's career was Ed Gordon.
Being Jewish means nothing in the behind-the-scenes world of Hollywood? The chummy network is so strong that lead defense lawyer, Robert Shapiro, in O.J. Simpson's trial for murder, seriously entertained the idea that he could influence potential jurors by requesting a favor from some Hollywood friends. The idea was to warm the local public up to the idea that O.J. Simpson had been set up by racist policemen. "I know people in the TV industry," he remarked to his staff, "I'll talk to them about playing movies that show people being framed by the police. Perhaps Twelve Angry Men." [SCHILLER/WILLWERTH, p. 161]
The eventual president of production at Columbia Studios, Dawn Steel (she replaced another Jewish executive, David Puttnam, and her boss was Jewish mogul Victor Kaufman, the CEO of Columbia Pictures Entertainment), wrote about her path towards becoming the second woman to head a major Hollywood studio. ([Paula Weinstein had a similar post at about the same time at United Artists. Sherry Lansing, another Jew, was the first woman to get such a high position. Lansing started out as a math teacher in Watts while she looked for acting jobs. Within ten years of getting a $5 an hour script reviewing job, in 1980 she was named -- at the age of 35 -- to be the head of Twentieth Century Fox. "Quite honestly," she says, "I think I've been accused of sleeping with every man I've ever worked for. Every single man: married, unmarried, gay, whatever." One verifiable such connection, early in her career, was Jewish executive Dan Melnick. [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 90-91] Lansing eventually married Jewish movie director William Friedkin, of "The Exorcist" fame. [Earlier husband: Michael Brownstein]. After her first big hit, Fatal Attraction, she turned to do The Accused, a film about a woman who gets gang raped in a bar. Members of the Portuguese-American community protested that the story defamed their community).
Dawn Steel's own road to power is illustrative. "Steel's defining characteristic was unapologetic and ambitious," says Rachel Abramowitz, "a consuming desire to make it." Steel "drank with the best of them [male Hollywood executives]. She fucked with the best of them. She told the same bawdy stories," says her "close friend" Howard Rosenman. [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 187, 195] In Steel's autobiography, she notes that she got her start in the media as the head of merchandizing at Penthouse. Her first personal entrepreneurial venture was a mail order business selling amaryllis plants as "penis plants." She ran a simple ad in men's magazines across the country, announcing "Grow Your Own Penis. All It Takes Is $6.98 and a Lot of Love." Costing her thirty cents apiece, Steel sold 100,000 of them. [STEEL, p. 68] Her next money-making venture was to mass produce and sell toilet paper with the Gucci imprint. Eventually she was dating actor Richard Gere, highlighted by a visit with him to Plato's Retreat, a nude swinger club in Manhattan where her brother worked as a lifeguard.
Steel's move up the movie world was expedited by a self-described "connection" to Jewish media mogul Jeffrey Katzenburg. "He was one of the best friends of Sid Davidoff," she notes, "my lawyer in the Gucci [toilet paper] affair." [STEEL, p. 106] Jewish mogul Michael Eisner [later head of Disney, where Steel landed later producing work] hired her virtually off the street to be a major movie executive:
"You're vice president of production in Features. Congratulations."
"I don't know anything about movies," I told him.
"Neither does anybody else. Goodbye, good luck, and break a leg."
[STEEL, p. 110]
As Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Matthews later wrote: "Marketing designer toilet paper seems as good a background for success in Hollywood as anything else." [SLOMAN, p. 14] Steel quickly built a reputation as "Hell on Hells" and the "Queen of Mean"; California magazine put her on one of its covers in 1984 as one of the state's worst bosses to work under.
When Steel [whose father was a professional bodybuilder who changed his last name from Spielberg] married a fellow movie industry Jew, Chuck Roven, "the main obstacle was Chuck's mother, Blanca ... Somehow she got it into her head that, of all things, I was not Jewish. She was convinced I was pretending, to catch her son. I was enraged ... Blanca tracked down my family." [STEEL, p. 191] (An earlier Steel husband was Ronald Rothstein). [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 190]
Opportunities have been obviously improving for Jewish women in Hollywood in more recent times. Paula Hyman and Deborah Moore noted that:
"Since the 1990s there seems to be a deluge of Jewish women behind the
[Hollywood] scenes. The following list, which is by no means complete,
attests to the immense energy and talent of Jewish women who are now
working in [film] production: Susan Arnold, Bonnie Bruckheimer, Laurie
Schuler Donner, Connie Field, Wendy Fineman, Ellen Geiger, Litz
Glotzer, Lynn Harris, Susan Hoffman, Gale Ann Hurt, Donna Isaacson,
Gail Katz, Nana Levin, Rachel Lyon, Nancy Myer, Linda Obst, Polly
Platt, Mimi Polk, Jane Rosenthal, Midge Sanford, Deborah Schindler,
Sandra Schulberg, Arlene Sellers, Shelby Sherr, Sandy Stern, Shelby
Stone, Roselle Swid, Anthea Sylbert, Paula Wagner, Paula Weinstein,
and Laura Ziskin ... The real change in the past few decades has been in
the number of Jewish women in positions of power and influence. Jewish
women have always worked behind the scenes, most often as writers.
More recently, and especially in the exponential leap of the early 1990s,
they have moved into directing and producing, both independently, and
as studio executives. For many, there is no question that Jewish women
have gained higher access because of their connection to Jewish men in
the industry." [HYMAN, p. 447-448]
"There was hellish competition among the women," says executive Paula Weinstein about those around her in corporate Hollywood, "Roz Heller [at Columbia] and Marcia Nasatir and Nessa Hyams [at Warner Brothers] always argued about who was the first woman vice president [at a Hollywood studio], but one of the three of them was. We all tended to compete with each other." [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 131] All these women are Jewish. In the talent agency world," notes Rachel Abramowitz, "by the late eighties, a number of young women had begun to make their mark -- Elaine Goldsmith and Risa Shapiro ... and the lanky JJ Harris." Others included Joan Hyler and Toni Howard. [ABRAMOWITZ, R., 2000, p. 329-331] (See Abramowitz's volume -- Is That a Gun In Your Pocket? about women, almost all Jewish, in the business side of recent Hollywood).
Want to take your production crew to film in Philadelphia? You'll be talking to the Commissioner of Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Sheila Pinkenson, who is also Jewish. [SALISBURY, G., 3-30-99]
"Even those who might not like Jews," says Barry Rubin, "[have] to accept their power and win their favor. In June 1991, the Simon Wiesenthal Center held a fifty-thousand-dollar-a-table dinner to honor movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who reportedly contributed five million dollars to build its Museum of Tolerance. Present were Jewish executives heading virtually every movie studio including Disney, whose late founder refused even to hire Jews. The Austrian-born actor's father may have been a Nazi Party member and the actor himself was a friend of Kurt Waldheim, Austria's ex-Nazi President, but Schwarzenegger also needed the favor of these powerful men." [RUBIN, p. 88]
Among those who sociologist Todd Gitlin sampled in the early 1980s by interview or research in his television entertainment project included Sy Amlen, vice-president of ABC Entertainment in New York; Paul Klein, program chief at NBC; Gerald Jaffe, NBC vice president for research development Stu Sheslow, vice president for dramatic development at NBC; Jonathan Axelrod, vice president at ABC "before he moved through the industry revolving door to Columbia Picture's television division;" [GITLIN, p. 24] Arnold Becker, CBS vice president for television research; Fred Silverman, the research head at NBC; Peter Roth, an ABC development executive; Lee Rich, Lorimar president; Ann Daniel, an ABC executive in drama development; Richard Reisberg, former president of United Artists; Esther Shapiro, an ABC executive (she and her husband wrote the founding script for the Dynasty TV series); Lew Wasserman, head of MCA; Herman Keld, vice president of CBS; Jane Rosenthal, at CBS and "probably the youngest high-ranking woman in network entertainment"; Brandon Tartikoff, for ten years the president of NBC Entertainment and later head of Paramount Pictures and New World Entertainment; Alfred Schneider, head of ABC's Standards and Practices department; Stu Samuels, vice president for TV movies at ABC, writer-producer Richard Levinson, producers Norman Lear, Aaron Spelling, Barney Rosenzweig (whose father-in-law -- Arnold Rosenberg -- was a producer at Twentieth Century Fox), Mace Neufeld, David Wolper (the most prominent producer of documentary films in recent decades), Herb Brodkin (whose projects include the TV program "The Holocaust"), Leonard Goldberg, David Gerber, Michael Zinburg, Tony Ganz, Marvin Kupfer; former president of the Writers' Guild of 'America, David Rintels; William Morris agent Jerry Katzmann, and writers Garry Goldberg and Michael Elias.
Among the many prominent Jewish television directors over the years was Alan Rafkin. Rafkin directed over 80 TV shows from the 1960s into the 1980s, including Danny Thomas in Make Room for Daddy, Love, American Style, Mash, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rafkin's autobiography is subtitled "Tales from TV's Most Prolific Sit-Com Director." [KROTKI, A., 2-2699, p. 49]
Another Jewish director, Jess Oppenheimer, subtitled his own autobiography "How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time." This was the I Love Lucy show, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Oppenheimer founded the show, produced it, directed it, and was one of its three screenwriters. The show's film editor, Dann Cahn, and cinematographer, Karl Freund, were also Jewish. The key man who actually sold the I Love Lucy show to Philip Morris cigarette company sponsorship was also Jewish, Milton Biow, "head of the ad agency that bore his name." An early influence upon, and connection for, Oppenheimer was Ralph Freud, director of a theatre group at San Francisco's Jewish Community Center. (Freud later founded UCLA's theatre arts department). A former Oppenheimer roommate, Bob Weiskopf, joined the I Love Lucy staff as a screenwriter in the show's fifth year. And Oppenheimer's high school friend, Mort Weiner, "would later become programming chief at NBC-TV." [OPPENHEIMER, J., 1996, p. 18, 56-58, 141, 145, 158, 185]
Ralph Levy directed the original pilot program for I Love Lucy. He also directed The George Burns and Gracy Allen Show, The Jack Benny Show, and, in later years, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and Hawaii Five-0. [OLIVER, M., 10-20-01, p. B15
Jews have long shaped the essence of American popular culture through the medium of television: David Dotort, for instance, created and produced Bonanza (actors Michael Landon and Lorne Greene were also Jewish), Aaron Ruben produced The Andy Griffith Show, Chuck Barris created The Dating Game, The Gong Show, and The Newlywed Game. [JEWHOO, 2000] Rod Serling, host of The Twilight Zone, was Jewish. David Levy created The Addams Family. Gil Fates was the Executive Producer of pioneer TV game shows To Tell the Truth and What's my Line? [KIRSCHNER, S., 9-14-00, p. 11] Lou Cowan produced the infamous $64,000 Question, and other early TV quiz shows like The Quiz Kids. He was also once the president of CBS-TV. [COWAN, P., 1982, p. 4] (Cowan "met with Israeli officials to suggest ways of explaining their policies to the American public. Sometimes he would be among the most hard-line, uncompromising American Jews in the room, insisting that Israel emphasize its own self-interest, its own point of view, instead of concocting the bland, half-true justifications for controversial policies that Americans might not want to hear ... [COWAN, P. 1982, p. 91] [Cowan's wife Polly's] feelings about Israel as a vital, precarious symbol of Jewish survival were deeper than I imagined [wrote her son Paul], even when I thought about her lifelong obsession with the Holocaust." [COWAN, P. 1982, p. 93] Ms. Cowan was also a television producer.)
"In a study completed in the 1960s, Muriel Cantor found that almost half of the Hollywood producers of prime time television shows were of Jewish background." [ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 97] And as Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter note elsewhere:
"The role of Americans of Jewish background in television dramas was
equally pronounced. Michael Robinson and Ben Stein have pointed to
the negative portrayals of businessmen, the military, and other 'establishment'
groups that characterized dramatic series and soap operas during the
1960s, as well as the counter-cultural themes that were openly introduced
in such dramas. Although Stein does not make the point directly, his
interviews with television writers and producers suggest the importance
of Jews in formulating the social imagery of television entertainment."
[ROTHMAN/LICHTER, 1982, p. 107]
In the 1950s, Jules Stein's and Lew Wasserman's MCA subsidiary, Revue Productions, was the world's largest producer and distributor of television series. Popular Revue shows included most of the major TV shows of the era, including Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, The Ed Sullivan Show, Wagon Train, The Jackie Gleason Show, General Electric Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, et al. Dennis McDougal lists in his volume about MCA over 60 such programs). [MCDOUGAL, p. 230] (Danny Thomas' popular show, Make Room for Daddy, was run by independent Jewish producer Lou Edelman). MCA's influence at NBC was great -- it is credited with getting Robert Kintner his job as NBC president, as well as that of NBC vice president Mannie Sacks. [MCDOUGAL, p. 239]
In later years, Norman Lear was the producer of TV programs like All in the Family (lead character Archie Bunker, the "loveable bigot," was based upon Lear's father, Herman), [COWAN, G., p. 24] Maude, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Soap, and the Jeffersons. Lear is also the "king of a multimillion dollar media empire that ultimately embraced publishing, broadcasting stations, theatres, and TV and film production." The man who founded the righteous-minded "liberal" political action group People for the American Way has a brand of "American Way," however, which is remote from most Americans. As the San Francisco Chronicle notes: "The Lears' new 12,300-square home is off Mandeville Canyon on a nearly 10-acre site, which Lear says is costing $15 million to buy and remodel. The property will have a facility for 30 cars built cantilevered under a tennis court that is being built on a hilltop ... In 1986, Lear was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the 400 richest Americans in the United States, with an estimated worth of $225 million -- only to be deleted in 1987 after his $112 divorce settlement from his second wife, Frances, with whom he had a 29-year marriage and two daughters. She has since become founder and editor-in-chief of the women's magazine Lear's. [MICHAELSON, p. 43] Frances Lear's monthly, with a circulation of 350,000, claims a readership whose "average yearly household income [is] a startling $95,000." [SMILGIS, p. 70]
(A similar kind of magazine, Lifestyles, founded by Gabriel Erem, is expressly geared to rich Jews -- or, as Mediaweek calls it, "a super-glossy lifestyle magazine for upscale Jewish people." [LIEBMAN, H., p. 16] Its circulation by 1993 was 118,336, of which 81,659 was paid subscriptions. "Readers," notes Mediaweek, "have high incomes and education levels, as well as a propensity for purchasing art objects and collectibles. They also give a lot to charities -- the main [Lifestyles subscription] list is culled from donations of more than $10,000 to major Jewish groups." [LIEBMAN, H., p. 16])
Aaron Spelling, described by some as the "Cotton Candy King" of TV, or the "King of Schlock," "boasts of being the most successful TV producer in the world." [CRITTENDON, p. C12] Starting out in the business with partner Leonard Goldberg, Spelling's string of eventual TV hits included Dynasty, Melrose Place, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills 90210, and The Mod Squad, among others. He has "often been criticized," notes the (London) Guardian, "for perpetuating inane shows," [JOHNSON, p. 14] of which his own daughter was installed as an actress in one of them. Locally, in Los Angeles, Spelling is also known for his spectacularly ostentatious home, called by some "the tackiest in Hollywood," a 123-room mansion costing $60 million dollars.
In 1990, Peter Bart noted another Jewish agent/producer/executive of this genre, Jerry Weintraub:
"His mannerisms and life-style seemed to spill from the pages of The
Great Gatsby. The vast parties at his Malibu estate, called Blue Heaven
(San Simeon South, others dubbed it) were Gatsby-like in their opulence.
Clad proudly in his two-thousand-dollar custom-made Brioni suits,
a valet always at his elbow, poised to light his Havana, Weintraub
presided over the swarms of strangers -- some of them important
strangers -- who always seemed to overflow the grounds. And while
?? not everyone would necessarily get to shake hands with the host,
all would, at the very least, confront the life-sized portrait of Weintraub
and his wife in stained glass that adorned the house. (In Weintraub's
portrait, he is talking on the phone)." [BART, p. 240]
(At a ceremony in Los Angeles in 2002, Weintraub was awarded the "Golan Fund's Humanitarian Award" by former right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanjahu. The Golan Fund is a Zionist organization, described at one Internet web site as "a non-profit organization in the U.S. Its objective is to support developing Jewish life in the Golan [Heights -- part of the Occupied Territories of Israel] by strengthening the 32 [Jewish] communities and the city of Qatzrin.")
Dennis McDougal notes the self-conscious image of MCA mogul Jules Stein in his early years in Chicago:
"[Stein] took great glee in dressing like a million bucks, crashing
the highest society that money would permit, and tossing a leopard-
skin blanket across the back seat of his Rolls Royce and tooling
down Michigan Avenue like a peacock." [MCDOUGAL, D., p. 2]
Then there is Joel Silver, producer of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, 48 Hours, and other "action" movies. He is "known for his flamboyant personal style, which includes shouting matches and public feuds. Silver is said to be the model for the ruthless Steve Martin character in the film Grand Canyon." [A DAY IN THE LIFE, 1992, p. 124] In 1984, one author noted that "the three largest producers of documentary films for television are NBC, CBS, and [Jewish independent producer] David Wolper." [WALDEN, p. 473] Alexander Salkind (who died in 1997) was the "producer of the Superman films and one of the first movie moguls to put together large, internationally financed films." [DALLAS, M, p. 33A] Samuel Arkoff headed for years the "exploitation film" production center American International Pictures ("How to Stuff a Wild Bikini," et al).
A small sampling of other recent faces for the 1990s include Jeffrey Sagansky, the president of CBS Entertainment; Mel Harris, president of Sony Pictures; Jon Feltheimer of Sony TV Entertainment; MCA president and CEO Ron Meyer; Fred Bernstein, president of Columbia Tri-Star; Warner president Terry Semel; David Goodman, president of WarnerVision TV, John Goldwyn, the production head at Paramount; Barry Diller, formerly of 20th Century Fox and now head of USA Network, Inc. which controls the USA Network (America's "most watched" cable channel), Studios USA, the QVC Home Shopping Network (host: Kathy Levine), and other firms. In 1999 he joined with computer Internet giant Lycos to create a new entity called USA-Lycos Interactive Network that expected $1.5 billion in annual sales. [SUROWIECKI, p. 54]
In 1995, the London Sunday Times called Barry Isaacson, the vice president of production at Universal Pictures, "probably the single most powerful Englishman in the film business." [YOUNG, ONLINE] In 1996 the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, Arthur Hiller, was also a member of the Anti-Defamation League. [ROSENFELD, p. G1] Hiller, who headed famous TV series like Gunsmoke, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, and many others, was awarded the first annual Jewish Image Awards in 2001 "which recognizes outstanding work reflecting the Jewish heritage through film and television." [NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR JEWISH CULTURE, 10-31-01] Gilbert Gates, also Jewish, was the "former president of the Screen Actors Guild, long time producer of the Academy Awards telecast, producing director of the Geffen playhouse and former dean of UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television." [WELKOS, R., 7-22-2000, p. F1] Andy Vajna, a Jewish immigrant to America and head of the independent Cinergi company, "is considered one of the most respected and richest filmmakers in Hollywood." [TUGEND, Arts, p. 2] His $60 million Rambo III was the largest film ever produced in Israel.
In 1992, Arnon Milchan, an Israeli, was described by the Jerusalem Post as being "among the handful of Hollywood moguls with the muscle and money to single-handedly give the go-ahead for a new movie project. [Among his big movie hits was his movie about a prostitute, Pretty Woman.]" [TUGEND, MOGUL, p, ARTS] Milchan "has admitted laundering some of the more than $100 million spent by the South Africans during the 1970s in an attempt to improve the white government's image abroad." [MARSHALL/SCOTT/HUNTER, 1987, p. 123] A citizen of both Israel and Monaco, he controls 30 companies in 17 countries, profiting in everything from film production to the weapons trade. Milchon has been investigated for "possible links to a pro-apartheid propaganda campaign [in South Africa] and ... a shipment of nuclear triggering devices to Israel." [TUGEND, MOGUL, p. ARTS] "I've heard the rumors [about Milchon]," said controversial film director Oliver Stone who signed a long-term deal with the Israeli producer, "but, then, I've always had a penchant for larger-than-life figures. If Arnon comes from an arms background, well, so did Rhett Butler [in Gone With the Wind]. If those stories are true, I'm sure Arnon sees himself as a [n Israeli] patriot." [TUGEND, MOGUL, p. ARTS] Curiously, Stone -- defender of Israeli patriotism -- is the well-known director of a number of anti-military (American) establishment films, including JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, and Platoon. (Oliver Stone is "half-Jewish." This kind of referral is often used by Jewish observers who seek to claim the famous and accomplished -- whatever the subjects' own opinion about themselves -- to the tribal fold. Other famous "half-Jews" include actors Paul Newman, and Harrison Ford. Whatever the subjects' own sense of identity, being at least "half-Jewish" is a definite plus in Hollywood. And with popular American celebration of Jewish identity as being a lineage of noble hero/victims, many are pulled into the fold. Take, for example, the children of Jewish actor Kirk Douglas, twice married to non-Jews. Although the famous actor didn't assert a Jewish identity until recent years, his "half-Jewish" sons Peter, Joel, Eric, and Michael Douglas all made connections to a Jewish identity on their own). [DOUGLAS, K., 1997, p. 147-151]
Oliver Stone is especially famed for his film "Natural Born Killers," a movie (in which two teenagers murder dozens of people) that has spawned a number of real life "copycat" killers who cited the movie as an influence in their crimes. "Already the target of outrage and a pending lawsuit over viewers who took 'Natural Born Killers' as a how-to-manual," noted the San Francisco Chronicle, "... two [more] serial-murder movies will be released under Oliver Stone's imprint." [WHITING, S., 8-18-96, p. 32] Even in the wake of controversy, Stone released an "unedited" "director's cut" version of "Natural Born Killers" to the video market, including even more carnage, including a chainsaw attack upon twin bodybuilders.
Stone was also the producer, and Milos Forman (also of Jewish heritage) the director, of The People Versus Larry Flynt, a film that heroizes the non-Jewish pornographer (of Hustler magazine fame) under the auspices of a noble struggle for free speech. (The film was released under the auspices of Phoenix Pictures, headed by Gerald Schwartz, also Jewish). Flynt, who once wrote of his copulation with a chicken, has even been accused of child molestation by his own daughter. And as so very often (even in the movie itself), a "baby-faced Jewish lawyer," notes reviewer Adina Hoffman, "... takes up Flynt's cause because he believes the publisher's constitutional rights have been violated." [HOFFMAN, A., 3-28-97, p. 5; STEYN, M., 3-2-97, p. 29]]
Another Israeli media mogul now based in Hollywood, Haim Saban, created and produced the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" film and fad. His Saban Entertainment company (president: Stan Golden), and offshoot Libra Pictures, produces about twenty-five feature length films a year, mostly for television. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show was banned in some countries for excessive violence, including Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In 1996, he merged Saban Entertainment with Rupert Murdoch's Fox Children's Network and he remained head of this company. The Children's Network in turn owns the Christian-founded International Family Channel. Bought from Pat Robertson, this channel reaches 69 million American households. [TUGEND, T., 3-28-99]
Jerry Bruckheimer is "probably the most financially successful film producer in movie history with film, video and soundtrack revenues topping $11 billion." Among his many credits are Pearl Harbor, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Con Air, Armageddon, and Flashdance. "He is returning to his roots," noted a Jewish ethnic newspaper in 2001, "by developing his first Jewish-themed film, 'Operation Moses,' based on the mass airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1985." "Even if [the critics] don't like my movies," he says, "the public does. That's why I make my pictures. I've gota take the bright side."[PFEFFERMAN, N., 5-25-01]
In 1997, Michael Nathanson, the head of Milchon's New Regency Productions, became the CEO of MGM Pictures, replacing yet another Jewish mogul, Mike Marcus. In 1999, Hollywood director Mike Nichols (original name: Michael Igor Peschkowsky) was awarded the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Lifetime Achievement Award. The New York Times noted that in 1980s he had "a prolonged reaction to the drug Halcion, prescribed for sleep after minor heart surgery, left him delusional, convinced that he had lost all his money and was being subjected to some form of retribution for having escaped the Holocaust." [APPLEBORNE, p. 24]
Sociologist Gitlin noted (in 1983) that few on-screen personalities actually on network television call attention to the fact that they are Jewish, in part because the Jewish TV executives have a "self-protectiveness against any real or conceivable anti-Semitic charge that Jews are too powerful in the media." [GITLIN, p. 184] "In the 1930s," adds Edward Shapiro, "the operative principle in Jewish life was shah (low profile). Jews were advised to be as inconspicuous as possible for fear of provoking anti-Semitism." [SHAPIRO, Jewish-Americans, p. 166] Or, as James Jaffe noted in 1968: "'Don't make yourself conspicuous'-- this is one of the earliest pieces of advice that the Jewish mother gives to her child." [JAFFE, J., 1968, p. 61] "To 'make rishis,'" says Paul Jacobs, in describing traditional Jewish thinking, "was to stir up a fuss of some kind, and it was a cardinal sin, for it supposedly made Jews vulnerable to the potential wrath of the Christian world. This world was conceived of as something like a potential sleeping giant who, if awakened by a loud noise, might, and probably would, turn on the disturber of his peace and do him harm." [NOVICK, P., 1999, p. 40-41]
For decades, throughout the entertainment world most Jews assumed WASP-sounding names to disguise their identities (a process that was eventually dictated by Hollywood moguls upon virtually all actors). Jewish actress Lauren Bacall was really Betty Joan Perske (she's a cousin of current Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres), Jewish dancer Arthur Murray was Arthur Teichman, actor Danny Kaye was Daniel Kaminisky, and Tony Martin was Alvin Morris. Among many, many other Jewish name-changers were Fanny Brice (Fanny Borach, whose husband Nick Arnstein spent two years in prison for heading a $5 million Wall Street bond theft), [BURNS, G., 1989, p. 248] Mel Brooks (Melvin Kaminsky), George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum), Dyan Cannon (Samile Draen Friesen), Kitty Carlisle (Catherine Holzman), Jack Gilford (Jack Gellman), Lee Grant (Lyova Rosenthal), magician Harry Houdini (Ehrich Weiss), Peter Lorre (Lazlo Loewenstein), Paul Muni (Muni Weisenfreund), conductor Billy Rose (William Rosenberg), Jill St. John (Jill Oppenheim), Dinah Shore (Francis Rose Shore), opera singer Beverly Sills (Belle Silverman), Walter Matthau (Walter Matuschanskavasky), Ethel Merman (Ethel Zimmerman), Shelley Winters (Shirley Schrift), Bert Lahr (Irving Lahrheim), Ed Wynn (Isaiah Edwin Leopold), and on and on. [SIEGEL/RHEINS, p. 13-16] "The first western star who played a lead in the first motion picture that had a story line ("The Great Train Robbery," 1903) was Max Aronson, better known as 'Bronco Billy' Anderson." [PLESUR, M., 1982, p. 72-73]
This on-screen dimension, of course, is drastically changing. "Any Martian monitoring America's television," said Jewish media writer Michael Medved in 1996, "... would view Seinfeld, Friends, the Nanny, Northern Exposure, Mad About You, and other shows [Rhoda, Welcome Back Cotter, Barney Miller, et al] and be surprised to learn that fewer than one in forty Americans are Jewish." [MEDVED, p. 39] The same year, the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California noted that
"On a recent episode of the TV sitcom 'Third Rock from the
Sun,' a young man who happens to hail from an alien planet
bemoans the fact that while all his schoolmates can claim an
ethnicity, he cannot. His landlady solved the dilemma
explaining that the youth must be Jewish because his surname
is Solomon. Later, when his sister returns from a date, the alien
father immediately demands: 'Is he Jewish?' Watching this show
with his young daughter, the National Foundation for Jewish
Culture's executive director Richard Siegel was thrilled to see yet
another example of Jewish identity popping up in mainstream
culture ... Pointing out that filmmaker Mel Brooks recently joked
on CNN's 'Larry King Live' that his next movie will straighten out
all the kinks in the Talmud, Siegel said Jewish culture is becoming
more and more part of mainstream media. 'It's everywhere,' he said."
[WEINSTEIN, N, p. 28]
Michael Elkin notes that:
"Alex Rieger, Judd Hirsh's character on TV's 'Taxi,' was Jewish
'because I made him Jewish,' says the actor. 'Barney Miller' was
never defined as a Jewish cop. But, according to Hal Linden, the
actor who played him, there was a Talmudic wisdom about his
decisions 'that reflected my own Jewish upbringing.'" [ELKIN, God,
By the mid 1990s, Jewish Internet web sites were appearing which traced the rising numbers of Jewish actors and actresses in films and television and their Jewish pedigrees ("half-Jewish," full-Jewish, practicing Jew, non-practicing Jew). Here we learn that the TV series Love Boat has a regular Jewish actor (Bernie Kopell), as does Friends (David Schwimmer), Knotts Landing (Michele Lee), Cheers (Rhea Pearlman), Starsky and Hutch (Paul Michael Glaser), Hill Street Blues (Bruce Weitz), Anything But Love (Richard Lewis), and on and on. Alicia Silverstone was chosen by (also Jewish) film producer Joel Schulmacher to be "Batgirl"; Steven Bochoco created NYPD Blues, Hill Street Blues, and Brooklyn South. Douglas Schwartz was the Executive Producer of Baywatch. Janis Hirsch was the writer/producer of Frasier. Marshall Herkovitz and Edward Zwick created thirtysomething. Michael Gelman is the Executive Producer of Live with Regis (Philbin). Jeff Melvoir is Executive Producer of Northern Exposure. Al Franken, actor/writer/producer for Saturday Night Live moved on to be the Executive Producer of the satiric Lateline. Actress Ellen Barkin is Jewish, as is Barbara Hershey (Herzstein), Robert Downey Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Kevin Costner, Winona Ryder and so on. Paula Abdul's mother was Jewish; her father an Arab.
In 1996 a reporter for the (Jewish) Forward, Susan Kaplan, wrote an article about the lack of Jewish women in positive role models onscreen. But this is how she framed it:
"Although it's not a theme of the show 'Friends,' it's clear that both
... Ross Geller ... as well as his father ... are Jewish ... After 'Friends'
comes 'The Single Guy' with Jonathan Silverman as novelist Jonathan
Elliot ... Then there's 'Seinfeld' ... Next on Thursday night comes 'ER.'
Oops, no readily identifiable Jewish characters here although on CBS's
'Chicago Hope,' Adam Arkin and Ron Stone ... are oozing Jewishness
from every pore ... On other days of the week, 'Mad About You' gives
us non-Jewish Jamie and her hyper-Jewish husband Paul ... 'Relativity,'
a new show this season ... focused on -- surprise! -- a Jewish guy...
Many television writers are Jewish men." [KAPLAN, S., 11-29-96, p. 16]
As Jewish author Alina Sivorinovsky noted in 1995:
"In the 1990s, it seems that the mother of every fictional female on
television is advising her daughter to find a nice Jewish boy. And the
daughters are listening. From hour-long dramas, 'Sisters,' 'Chicago
Hope,' and 'Murder One,' to 30-minute comedies, 'Mad About You,'
'Cybill,' 'Partners,' 'Bless This House,' 'The Single Guy,' 'The Larry
Sanders Show,' 'Friends,' 'Love and War,' 'Seinfeld,' and 'Murphy
Brown,' Jewish men are dating and marrying Gentile women in
numbers far exceeding any other interethnic relationship currently
on television ... All [of these Jewish men] are either resident New
Yorkers, as in 'Seinfeld,' 'Mad About You,' 'Love and War,' 'The
Critic,' 'The Single Guy,' 'Friends,' and 'Dream On,' or transplanted
New Yorkers, as in 'Northern Exposure,' 'Murphy Brown,' 'Anything
But Love,' 'Homefront,' and 'LA Law' ... The question is, why should
an ethnic group that makes up only two percent of the US population
be so disproportionately, albeit stereotypically, represented on
television? And why is that representation nearly exclusively male?"
[quoted by O'BRIEN, P., 12-23-97]
Scholar Patrick Gerald O'Brien noted in 1997 what he found on television during the Christmas season:
"Let's return to TV. At 7:25 I surfed to Channel 11, the Christian channel,
and Pat Robertson was talking about a court ruling ... he specifically
mentioned efforts of the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] to enforce this ...
Then I turned to NBC and caught the end of 'Suddenly Susan' (or
something like that). The set was a living room or small cafe all done up
in Christmas decor, but huge Stars of David were prominently posted
pasted all over ... Now that I was on a roll, I watched the next NBC
show, 'Jenny,' ...[where George] Hamilton now sits in front of his
mantelpiece, on which is strung a large 'Happy Hanukkah' decoration,
and in a thick accent, he belts out a Yiddish greeting ... At 8:00 came
'Caroline in the City' (I think it's called) in which another Christmas scene
took place [in which O'Brien senses a Jewish undercurrent] ... At 8:30
came 'Georgie and Leo,' with Bob Newhart attempting a comeback,
and Judd Hirsch playing a Jewish guy (which he mentioned during the
show). So, given that about 2% of Americans are Jewish, I'd say that
Jewish identities and concerns crop up fairly often. Autobiographical of
the producers, writers, and actors? It would seem so. Though the 9:00
show was not about Christmas, it did deal with a Jewish topic for an
hour ... tensions between Hasidic Jews and African Americans in
parts of Brooklyn. The following night, Tuesday, I only once scanned
the network sitcoms, but on the first show I turned to, 'Hiller and Diller,'
they were singing
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy Hanukkah." [O'BRIEN, P., 12-23-97]
Jews are so omnipresent in entertainment television that in 1999, when the Anti-Defamation League took offense at some jokes at the expense of Jews on Saturday Night Live, ADL's director, Abraham Foxman, found himself protesting to NBC's head of programming, Rosalyn Weinman, and Saturday Night Live's executive producer, Lorne Michaels. [TUGEND, 12-19-99] Both of them, too, are Jewish. Saturday Night Live was also criticized for anti-Semitism years earlier for a satire sketch: a "Jew-Not a Jew" game show. The head of NBC at the time, Brandon Tartikoff, fielded a flood of negative phone calls, noting that:
"Tom Hanks played the host. A slide of a famous personality would
appear on the screen, and the panelists had to decide whether the
person was Jewish ... It was funny, I thought -- but was it anti-Semitic?
All week long, I agonized over that question, not just with Broadcast
Standards but with myself. Since I'm Jewish, I wondered if I was
being too sensitive or maybe too blasé." [TARTIKOFF, p. 192]
(In 1998 the Anti-Defamation League even attacked a series of Superman comic books in which Superman flies back in time to fight the Nazis. The complaint, wrote ADL director Abraham Foxman, was that Superman "never names the victims. The intent was to send a universal message. The result provided offensive to Holocaust victims." Although the word "Jew" was never used in the comics, "the victims were shown wearing yarmulkes and prayer shawls, had Jewish names like Mordechai and Baruch, and referred to each other using Yiddish terms such as 'bubeh' and 'zayde.'" The CEO of DC Comics, Jenette Kahn, which produced the Superman series, was even Jewish. She responded with a formal apology for not using the word "Jew" in the comic series). [GOLDBERG, D., TIKKUN]
Some in the Jewish community even suggested anti-Semitic undertones in a new Jewish-like Star Wars movie character, Ferengi, despite the fact that the film's executive producer, Rick Berman, was also Jewish. [WALZ, 6-8-1999] Original Star Trek stars William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Dr. Spock) were also, in real life, Jewish, as was William Koenig (Chekov). (Nimoy's Jewish activism includes an integral role in getting Mel Mermelstein's story made as a film. Nimoy also starred in the film as the main character. Meremelstein is a man who figured out a way to sue a "Holocaust denial" organization that offered $50,000 to anyone who could prove that the Holocaust really happened). [NIMOY, p. 307-308])
Jews in the mass media apparently even have subtextual dialogues with themselves about Jewish identity in film reviews. References (anti-Semitic?) to Jews in an Entertainment Weekly review of director Barry Levinson's science fiction movie, Sphere, drove him to anger, culminating in a furiously written script (in three weeks) for his next film (Liberty Heights). This new movie expressly embraced his Jewish heritage. The offending review, entitled "Abysmal," trashed, like most reviews, his earlier science fiction effort. But Levinson zeroed in on these words by the EW reviewer:
"... Norman the emphatic Jewish psychologist [played by Jewish actor
Dustin Hoffman]. Okay, so he's not officially Jewish [in the film];
he's only Hoffman, who arrives at the floating habitat and immediately
announces, noodgey and menschlike, 'I'd like to call my family' ... This
Sphere isn't science fiction, or even psychological fiction ... It's a matzo
ball. Norman's mother knows what I mean." [Even Jewish actor Liev
Schrieber, notes the reviewer, plays "the neurotically competitive
Levinson was "enraged" and "furious" by such commentary. "The movie has nothing to do with religion!" he exclaimed to the Los Angeles Times, "... I mean, you wouldn't say that Mel Gibson [in the film "Ransom"] is a Catholic businessman whose son is kidnapped." [HORNADY, p. 90] This fixation on the subliminal Jewish nature of Levinson's film as preface to his overtly Jewish one, the one that champions "being Jewish," the one where he goes back to his roots in Baltimore, is certainly curious. But more strange is the Los Angeles Times report on Levinson's motivation to make Liberty Heights -- it never notes the fact that the Entertainment Weekly culprit/author of the slights to Jewry is not a malevolent Gentile. On the contrary, the critical reviewer, Lisa Schwartzbaum, who cannot see Levinson's science fiction from his Jewish "religion," is also Jewish. To carry on such a "film review" (and thrust to Levinson's heart) in actual Yiddish jargon, she has to be.
One negative review of Liberty Heights, by Jewish author Jeff Salamon, notes the usual Jewish stereotypes about the non-Jewish Other (repeatedly evidenced throughout Jewish history):
"The WASP elite [that a Jewish protagonist] is trying to infiltrate turns
out to be full of drunks with sexual hangups." [SALAMON, J., 12-
Reflecting the trend of more and more overtly Jewish themes in Hollywood, "many more films," notes Barry Rubin, "dealt openly with Jews in the 1980s and 1990s than ever before, and Jews not only remained numerous on stage, screen, and television, but also became far more visible." [RUBIN, p. 99] David Desser and Lester Friedman suggest that "ethnic consciousness in American cinema is a fairly recent trend. ... The notion of a 'great melting pot' ... held little interest to people ... Directors turned to Jewish themes and characters..." [DESSER, p. 2-3] By the 1990s, even Gentile actor Robin Williams was playing the role of a Jew in Holocaust-era Poland ("Jacob the Liar"); non-Jew Demi Moore converted to Orthodox Judaism in a Woody Allen film. Even a TV game-show called "Win Ben Stein's money" has recently made the airwaves, sounding like a stereotypical joke by an anti-Semite. (Stein, among other things, is a former speech writer for Richard Nixon).
As Larry Mark noted in an ethnic Jewish newspaper in 2001:
"Over the past five years, as Holocaust survivors pass away and filmmakers
struggle with the lessons of World War II, it has become even-money
that a film touching upon the Nazi atrocities will be an Oscar nomination.
Since 1995, these nominees and winners have included One Survivor
Remembers, Ann Frank Remembers, Shine, Life is Beautiful, The Long Way
Home, The Last Days, and even One Day in September. ... Three very
strong and poignant nominees drank out of the well of the Holocaust
for this year's stories: Divided We Fall, One Day Crossing, and Into the
Arms of Strangers ... Three other actors portraying Jewish characters
received Oscar nominations [in the films Requiem for a Dream, Pollock,
and Almost Famous]." [MARK, L., 3-1-01]
Jewish actor Jerry Seinfeld (of the popular Seinfeld TV series) was named to have the highest yearly income ($225 million) in a 1998 "Top Entertainer" list by Forbes magazine. A Jewish co-creator of the Seinfeld show, Larry David, was ranked number two, at $200 million.” To some degree," suggests Adam Levitin, "the reason for Seinfeld's success is that America has absorbed so much Jewish culture that 'being Jewish' has become mainstream America ... What Jews have long considered 'Jewish' has evidently become so incorporated into America at-large that non-Jews assume them to be American ... A significant manifestation of this New-York Jewish milieu is the ineffable neurosis that pervades the outlandish, manic drama of each episode [of Seinfeld]." [LEVITIN, p. 52-54]
Among the many Jewish power mongers in Hollywood is film producer/director Stephen Spielberg, "perceived by many to be the formative representative of American popular culture." [LOSHITZSKY, p. 12] Like many supposed "non-Jewish Jews" of Tinseltown, Spielberg had followed the pattern of being a non-committed, non-didactic Jewish public figure throughout his early years, but inevitably experienced a "rebirth" as a Jew.
This return to Jewish particularism has many adherents, dramatically exemplified in Jewish actor Kirk Douglas' renewed interest in Jewish Orthodoxy. (Douglas' original name was Issur Danilovich Demsky). In 1997 he was even honored at a dinner held by a "controversial Orthodox outreach organization," Aish Ha Torah. [TROUNSON, p. B1] "I'd have to say [Aish Ha Tora] techniques bother me," a Conservative rabbi told the Los Angeles Times, "It's the Jewish equivalent of fundamentalist Christian groups." [TROUNSON, p. B1] "As part of its executive learning program," noted the Times in an earlier article, "Aish, which is based in Jerusalem and has offices around the U. S., sends rabbis to the homes and offices of executives, free of charge." [HEIMAN, p. B4] Co-chairs of the Ha Torah occasion -- held at the home of Merv Adelson, the founder of Lorimar Pictures -- included other Jewish media moguls Jeffrey Katzenburg, Michael Ovitz, Lew Wasserman, and talk show host Larry King. Right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu even managed to attend the dinner for the famous actor. "I see that no matter how far I run away from my Jewishness," Douglas has written, "it was always there. Like my shadow, I could not lose it." [TROUNSON, p. B1] Echoing similar communal loyalties, in 1996 the Israel Film Festival in New York City featured not only a former Israeli prime minister as guest of honor, but also mostly Jewish Hollywood powerbrokers as co-chairs for the event: Michael Ovitz, Sherry Lansing, and David Geffen.
Even when not so overtly visible, the Jewish producer/writers' dominance in the media world is still felt. In 1968, NBC featured a weekly sit-com starring an African-American (Diahann Carroll), the first since the 1950s (Amos and Andy). The new show was created by Jewish writer/producer Hal Kanter. The program, "Julia," is still examined by scholars today, particularly in the way it featured Carroll as a "white Negro" living an upper-class lifestyle familiar to very few African-Americans. "While large numbers of blacks lived in exploding ghettos," notes Aniko Bodroghkozy, "Julia and Corey Baker [the main character and her son] lived a luxury lifestyle impossible on a nurse's salary [her occupation]." [BODROGHKOZY, p. 143] (This depiction of African-American life is similar to that of the aforementioned Bill Cosby show, where the Cosby resides in a "lavish townhouse decorated with African-American art works." [BODROGHKOZY, p. 150])
In 1993, USA Today noted that Black actor Paul Winfield was "not happy with the state of Black sitcoms these days." "They are mostly Jewish jokes," he complained, "being mouthed by Black actors." [KING, L, p. 2D] Jewish dominance caused troubles in the Black community in 1999 with a remake of the classic Black-oriented movie, "Shaft." Director John Singleton locked horns with Jewish producer Scott Rudin over the fact of 125 positions filled to make the movie, only six were Black employees. [FINK, M. 8-23-99]
A front page New York Times article in June 2000 highlighted the same theme, although the Jewish dimensions of the problem were muted. In the piece entitled "Who Gets to Tell a Black Story?," the usual tensions between "white journalist" (and eventual writer-film producer for HBO) David Simon and African-American director Charles Dutton (during the shooting of "The Corner") were rendered purely as a Black-White problem. Not surprisingly, Simon is Jewish; his father was even a public relations director and speech writer for B'nai B'rith. When Dutton found so few African-Americans on staff to film a story about drug addicts in a Black ghetto, he was outraged. The Times, (owned and mostly edited by Jews, as we shall soon see) evaded the theme of Jewish dominance and nepotism in Hollywood, but did criticize other ethnic ethnocentrism (however minor in Hollywood) instead, saying:
"It was always the same, Mr. Dutton said later. The business was 'full
of nepotism and cliquism.' Italians hired Italians, Asians hired Asians.
'So why is it a problem when it's a black project? Every black project
that I've worked on, with the exception of the Spike Lee movies, you've
got to go through this every time. You've got to say, Why can't we have
some more black folks on the crew?" [SCOTT, J., 6-11, 2000, p. 22]
[Note that the Italians and Asians reference is an insert by the paper between quotes by Dutton. Did the reporter write this? Did the editor? What, one wonders, was Dutton's direct quote on the subject of nepotism, when his foremost nemesis on the film he was directing, and all of Hollywood, was/is Jewish?]
In 1990 the Los Angeles Times reported that
"In comments sure to trigger controversy in the entertainment industry,
members of a panel at the NAACP convention in Los Angeles
complained today that the influence of Jewish executives over films
and music distribution has held back black entertainers and producers."
[FOX, D., 6-11-90, p. B1]
"If Jewish leaders can complain of black anti-Semitism," said LeGrand Clegg, city attorney of the city of Compton and chairman of the Coalition Against Black Exploitation, "our leaders should certainly raise the issue of the century-old problem of Jewish racism in Hollywood." Marla Gibbs, a film producer and actress on the NBC series "227," added that "criminal behavior is being imitated by our children because it is being glorified on the screen ... The Jewish system in Hollywood was not set up for us." [FOX, D., 6-11-90, p. B1]
In 2000, the African-American newspaper The Los Angeles Sentinel noted the following story:
"Jerome Metcalf, a black writer and entrepreneur has filed [a lawsuit] recently
against [Jewish] CBS television producer Steven Bochco for allegedly stealing
the story idea that led to the creation of 'City of Angels' ... The material was submitted to Bochco and CBS and according to Metcalf, both passed on the project. However, after viewing the pilot episode of the 'City of Angels' Metcalf
said he and his wife were 'shocked and devastated to see their works,
dramatic expressions, literary expressions, ideas, treatment, scripts and property had been stolen' ... The most interesting if not revealing truth surrounding the
lawsuit is the fact that Bochco's attorney, Edward A. Rottenberg, contacted [Metcalf's attorney Michael] Lotta recently with a settlement offer. Lotta
deemed the settlement inadequate and turned it down ... A hypocritical truth,
would the court find Metcalf's allegations valid, is that Bochco and
the president of CBS Entertainment Leslie Moonves [also Jewish] hosted a screening of the 'City of Angels' at the Magic Johnson Theater Complex in
South Los Angeles prior to the series debut. Metcalf said he was particularly insulted that Moonves, in front of invited guests, many of them black community leaders, praised Bochco as the creator of the first black medical drama for prime television." [WILLIAMS, S., 12-27-00, p. A3]