The Scarlett Grandma

By Anthony Weiss

Published April 07, 2006, issue of April 07, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

When Dorothy Sloan made her stage debut last week, she was following in her family’s footsteps — make that the world’s sexiest footsteps.

Sloan, who appeared in an intergenerational song-and-dance number in New York, is the maternal grandmother of actress Scarlett Johansson. The star of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003) and Woody Allen’s 2005 film “Match Point” recently was dubbed the sexiest woman in the world by FHM magazine — with strong support from a member or two of the Forward’s editorial staff — and raised eyebrows (and blood pressures) when she posed naked for the March cover of Vanity Fair.

“That’s my baby!” Sloan told the Forward. “I’m so proud of her.”

A Brooklyn native, Sloan worked in New York as a bookkeeper and schoolteacher. Then she moved to Denmark with her daughter, Melanie, who met and married Karsten Johansson; the marriage produced four children, including Scarlett.

“I spent a lot of time with Scarlett when she was younger,” Sloan said. “People would ask her, ‘Who’s your best friend?’ And she would say, ‘Grandma!’”

Scarlett apparently learned more than a few things from Grandma. It turns out that Sloan’s favorite song to sing at family gatherings was always “Summertime.”

Recently, Sloan’s sister called her up to play for her a track from a collection of songs that Hollywood stars — nonsingers all — had made for a nonprofit. “And I heard a rendition of Scarlett Johansson singing the most sexy, the sultriest version of ‘Summertime’ you ever heard,” Sloan recounted. “I never knew she could sing!”

Sloan had her own brief fling with stardom when she was a youngster. From first grade through sixth, she had, by her own account, the lead role in every school play. “Then I got self-conscious,” she said, and her theatrical career faded.

But now she is back. With the help of a few show-biz professionals, Sloan, along with a dozen seniors and five New York City teens, wrote and performed a musical number titled “Back in My Day.” The newly penned song, which tells about their experiences as youngsters growing up, was presented in a workshop and performance organized by Dorot, a Jewish nonprofit that provides services for the elderly. It was inspired by a recent production of “70, Girls, 70,” a musical about a group of elderly Broadway veterans who, when threatened with eviction, turn to shoplifting.

Prior to the performance, Sloan confessed to only a little trepidation about the old self-consciousness returning. “No. I don’t think so. A little bit,” she said. “You know, after all, I don’t have the experience. I just have someone following in my footsteps.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.