- 28 February 1898
- New York City, New York, USA
The little "yente" with the big, expressive talent, New York-born Yiddish icon Molly Picon entertained theater, radio, TV and film audiences for over seven decades (from age 6) with her song-and-dance routines while helping to popularize the Yiddish culture into the American mainstream as well as overseas. Raised in Philadelphia, she was performing from age 5 but broke into the big time with a vaudeville act called "The Four Seasons" in 1919, eventually making a comedy name for herself in the Second Avenue Theatres on the Lower East Side back in New York. The indefatigable Picon was a real live wire and played very broad, confident, dominant characters on stage, which ended up making it hard for her to be taken seriously in dramatic pieces. In film she is best remembered for her Yiddish-language showcases of the 30s, notably in Yidl mitn fidl (1936) (1936), the story of a traveling musician who dresses as a boy to avoid unwarranted male advances. She was cast as a Yiddish Cinderella, a dutiful but unappreciated daughter who cares for her father and his large family, in Mamele (1938), the last Jewish film made in Poland. During one musical vignette, Picon portrays her character's grandmother in several stages of life. In the 1940s, Picon started to include English-speaking plays as well and as she grew into matronly roles, became synonymous as the typical well-meaning but overbearing and coddling "Jewish mama." Such amusing, unflappable film roles would be found in Come Blow Your Horn (1963) (1963) (as an interfering Italian mother) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971) (1971) as Yente the matchmaker. Her long association with husband and corroborator, Yiddish stage star Jacob Kalich, was a fruitful one. He became her mentor, the author of many of her popular plays and the manager of her career. Married in 1919, he died in 1975 but she continued performing albeit sporadically. Picon suffered from Alzheimer's disease in her later years and died at age 93. Vicariously known as the "Jewish Charlie Chaplin" and "Jewish Helen Hayes", she was a patriot and humanitarian at heart, with an energy, creativity and ability to entertain that couldn't help but make her one of entertainment's most beloved citizens.
|Movie Name||Release Date|
|Ένα κορίτσι που τα κάνει όλα – For Pete’s Sake (1974)||December 14, 1974|