The widely reported demise of the last Ziegfeld girl, Doris Eaton Travis, sent entertainment historians rushing to the dwindling list of surviving silent film actors, of whom the late Ms. Travis was one. Another name on that list ranks as a survivor on more than one account: the beloved Israeli actress Hanna Maron.
Born Hanna Meierzak in Berlin in 1923, Maron, whose name is sometimes also transliterated as “Meron”” or “Marron,” began acting as a toddler before talking pictures were in vogue. Her best remembered childhood role, however, is from a classic 1931 sound picture, Fritz Lang’s “M”, in which she assertively leads a child’s counting game before being murdered by Peter Lorre’s deranged character.
Soon after this ominous early role, Maron emigrated to Palestine with her mother. There, as Linda Ben-Zvi’s definitive “Theater in Israel” (University of Michigan Press) explains, Maron gravitated to The Ohel Theater, Habimah, and especially Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater. Her stage roles included Hedda Gabler, Lady Bracknell, Shakespeare’s Rosalind, and the title role in “Hello, Dolly!” She probably would have also been Tevye’s wife Golde in the film “Fiddler on the Roof,” but in 1970, traveling to London to audition for the part, she lost a leg in a grenade attack when Arab terrorists hijacked her El-Al flight, landing in Munich.