Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News.
The SAG Awards
The Screen Actors Guild Awards air (live) on TBS on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 5PM, with an encore on TNT at 8PM. The Jewish individual nominees are: JONAH HILL, 28, best supporting actor, film, “Moneyball”; best actress, TV series: JULIANNA MARGULIES, 45, (“The Good Wife”) and KYRA SEDGWICK, 46 (‘The Closer”). The SAG awards include awards for best ensemble cast, motion pictures and TV shows. “Big Bang Theory” has the most Jewish cast members of any nominated TV show: MAYIM BIALIK, 36 (Amy Fowler); SIMON HELBERG, 31, (Howard Wolowitz) and MELISSA RAUCH, 31, who ironically plays Bernadette, the Catholic fiancée of the Jewish character Wolowitz. Not seen enough to be nominated is BRIAN GEORGE, 59, who was born in Israel, the son of Jews from India. He plays the father of the Asian Indian character Raj. (The father’s only seen when he lectures his son via a web-cam hook-up to India.) George is probably best known for playing Pakistani immigrant restaurant owner Babu Bhatt in three “Seinfeld” episodes. “Seinfeld” fans will recall that Bhatt was deported due to Elaine and Jerry’s negligence.
More Awards and Tube Notes
The Directors’ Guild awards (Jan. 28), which aren’t televised, feature many Jewish nominees. Here are three nominated TV directors that stand out as “blasts-from-the-past”: FRED SAVAGE, 35, “Modern Family.” The former child actor star of “The Wonder Years” long ago re-invented himself as a top TV director. Savage and his (Jewish) wife now have two young kids; MICHAEL LEMBECK, 63, is nominated for best children’s program,” Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure,” on the Disney Channel. The son of the late actor HARVEY LEMBECK (“Sgt. Bilko”), Lembeck co-starred on TV’s “One Day at a Time.” Both his mother and his wife are Jews-by-Choice; and DAVID STEINBERG, 69, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The son of a rabbi, he’s been funny in front of and behind the camera since the ‘60s.
Steinberg is the host of a new interview series, “Inside Comedy,” that starts on Showtime on Thursday, Jan. 26 (11PM). JERRY STEINFELD and DON RICKLES will appear on the first show. Future guests include LARRY DAVID, GARRY SHANDLING, CARL REINER, and SARAH SILVERMAN.
Starting on Jan. 29th on HBO is the dramatic series “Luck,” about various people associated with horse racing. Created by DAVID MILCH (“Deadwood”), the series stars DUSTIN HOFFMAN, 74, as Chester “Ace” Bernstein, a big-time gambler. RICHARD KIND, 55 (“Spin City”) has a large supporting role. I saw the “sneak” preview of the first episode last month and the show looked good.
The NY Post reports that Jonah Hill is dating ALEXANDRA “Ali” HOFFMAN, 24, Dustin’s youngest child. Hill’s teenage friendship with two of Dustin’s other children led to Hoffman offering Hill his first film role. Ali Hoffman is one of Dustin’s four children with his second wife, attorney LISA GOTTSEGEN HOFFMAN, the sister of a rabbi. Dustin, who was raised secular, credits her with making him moderately religious and their children were all bar or bat mitzvah. (His first wife wasn’t Jewish). This all said, I should note that the Post “dating” story, like a lot of Post stories, may be based on very shaky sources.
Engaged to a Jewish guy is actress Drew Barrymore, 36. Her fiancé is WILL KOPELMAN, 33, a fine art consultant. His father, ARIE KOPPELMAN, 71, is the now-retired head of Chanel, America (a subsidiary of the famous French company which is owned by the French Jewish brothers GERARD and ALAIN WERTHEIMER). Will’s sister, JILL KARGMAN, 37, is a well-known columnist and novelist. His mother, COCO, is from a distinguished Sephardi Greek family. I would call the Koppelmans moderately religious based on bio “bits and pieces.”
Barrymore had a chaotic childhood family life and I suspect she’s drawn to Will Kopelman’s very stable and accomplished family. My guess is that they’ll wed in a Reform Jewish ceremony, but Barrymore, who has always been secular, won’t convert to Judaism. It’s likely that her almost life-long mentor, STEVEN SPIELBERG, will have a role in the wedding.
Barrymore does have a Jewish half-brother. Her father, the late actor John Drew Barrymore (1932-2004), the very troubled son of the legendary actor John Barrymore (1882-1942), was married four times. His first wife was actress CARA WILLIAMS, now 87. Born Bernice Kamiat, she got an Oscar nomination for playing a poor Southern widow smitten by TONY CURTIS in “The Defiant Ones” (1958). Her short marriage to Drew’s father produced a son, former actor JOHN BLYTH BARRYMORE, now 57.
Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for InterfaithFamily.com. If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org . The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.