I first met Les Moonves — newly appointed CBS Executive Chairman — when, as then CBS CEO, he was honored by The American Theater Wing at its April 11, 2005 gala at Cipriani 42nd Street with a lineup of stars and performances by among others: Lucy Arnaz, James Earl Jones, Tommy Tune, *Jessica Lange**, Hank Azaria and Jerry Herman at the piano belting out his creations from “Mame” and “Hello Dolly!” ending up with a personal plea: “Promise me you’ll never go away!
Caught up with director Cellin Gluck on January 31 as he was heading to the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival premiere of “Persona Non Grata” — a film about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who in 1940 issued 2139 visas for 6000 Jews including my mother and me (visa #1881).
A documentary gem at the Jewish Film Festival is Peter Miller’s “Movies in Wartime: Projections of America,” the behind-the scenes narrative about the dramatic U.S. “propaganda” films made 70 years ago by Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Riskin, whose mission was to show WWII-liberated Europeans what America and Americans were really like.
The first time I was introduced to British publisher Lord George Weidenfeld — who died at 96 on January 21, 2016 in London — was at the November 22, 1998 American Friends of Ben Gurion University in the Negev Dinner at the Hotel Pierre at which BGU president Avishay Braverman declared: “We work with the Palestinians, the Jordanians, the Moroccans and the Tunisians …and one day we will work with the Syrians.”
“Art and Heart” Catherine Tambini’s heartwarming, intellectually rewarding and delicious retrospective documentary about Isaiah Sheffer—Yiddish maven actor/writer/impresario and wit —had its sold out world premiere on January 14 at the Walter Reade Theatre— Part of the New York Jewish Film Festival under the auspices of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Jewish Museum.
“Just as the IDF protects the State of Israel, Beit Hatfutsot — and the magnificent new Museum of the Jewish People — protects our culture, our values and our unity on a global level,” Ido Aharoni, Israel’s Consul General, told the guests at the museum’s recent annual gala held at 583 Park Avenue.
Michael Douglas, together with Kati Marton, recently presented Elie Wiesel with The Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Social Justice at The Blue Card’s 81st Annual Gala at The New York Public Library. The actor lauded the world-renowned Holocaust survivor, author and activist for “sounding the clarion call to speak out against silence” and carrying on ‘the unending fight for the victim.”
With “Fiddler On The Roof” back on Broadway with Danny Burstein as Tevye the Milkman, I asked the musical’s 91-year-young lyricist Sheldon Harnick for his review of this production.