Nate Bloom blogs on this week’s Jews in the News.
Jews Rock the Hall of Fame
Last December, when the inductions for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced, I wrote a similar column item to the one below. If you missed that item, here it is again with some updates. The induction ceremony took place on April 15 and will be televised on HBO on Saturday evening, May 5 (many encore showings).
Individual inductees: (1) singer-songwriter LAURA NYRO (1947-97), was born Laura Nigro, the child of secular parents. Her maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish, as was her father’s mother. Her paternal grandfather was Italian Catholic. Nyro wrote very well-crafted songs that others turned into big hits, including “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” and “Eli’s Coming.” Ovarian cancer claimed her. She was inducted by a tearful BETTE MIDLER, 66, who said at the ceremony: “In a world of imitators . . . she was a complete original. She was an ornament on the Earth.” (2) DON KIRSHNER (1934-2011), inducted as a “non-performer,” he was the genius producer/executive who was critical to the creation of most of the best rock music of the early-to-mid ‘60s. His stable of in-house songwriters included CAROLE KING, NEIL SEDAKA, BARRY MANN, CYNTHIA WEIL, and NEIL DIAMOND. He created the Archies and the Monkees rock bands. King, 70, inducted him, saying: “He was one of the most significant influences on popular music in the 20th century.”
Bands: (1) The Red Hot Chili Peppers, a hard rockin’ band: the original line-up (and Hall inductees) includes two Jewish members: JACK IRONS, 49, the original drummer, and HILLEL SLOVAK, the original lead guitarist. Born (1962) in Israel, the son of Holocaust survivors, Slovak’s great talent was overwhelmed by drugs and he died (1988) of an overdose. (2) The Beastie Boys, the best “white” rap group of all-time, its line-up has always been: Adam Yauch, 47, ADAM HOROVITZ, 45, and MIKE DIAMOND, 46. Although the band has sometimes touched on Jewish themes– the ‘two Adams’ come with asterisks. Horovitz is the son of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, while Yauch is the son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. Both were raised secular. Yauch, long a devout Buddhist, is sadly fighting cancer, and wasn’t able to be at the ceremony. (3) Guns ‘N Roses: STEVEN ADLER, 46, the group’s original virtuoso drummer. He’s battled a serious drug problem for decades.
A Minyan of Marvel Heroes
Opening on May 4, is “The Avengers,” which is based on a Marvel Comic created by co-created STAN LEE, 89, who has a cameo in the flick. A number of the most famous Marvel heroes are assembled to fight a new, terrible enemy. Robert Downey, Jr. appears for third time in a film as “Iron Man.” SCARLETT JOHANSSON, 27, who acted with Downey in “Iron Man 2,” reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow. This flick has pretty good advance “buzz.”
TV Updates and Premieres
I previously wrote that the new HBO series, “Girls,” has four young women as its lead characters: series creator LENA DUNHAM, 25, whose mother is Jewish, plays Hannah Horvath; ZOSIA MAMET, 23, the daughter of playwright DAVID MAMET, 64, plays Jewish character Shoshanna Shapiro; Allison Williams, the daughter of NBC anchor Brian Williams, plays Marnie Michaels; and I just found out that JEMIMA KIRKE, 27, who plays Shapiro’s English cousin, Jessa Johansson, is the daughter of a non-Jewish father (former “Bad Company” drummer Simon Kirke) and a Jewish mother, LORRAINE DELLAL, 60. Lorraine’s father, JACK DELLAL, 83, is a famous and very wealthy British real estate developer whose parents were Iraqi Jews. Lorraine’s mother, ZEHAVA HELMER, is a former Israeli stewardess. The premiere Israeli center for dance, the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, was funded by Jack in memory of Lorraine’s sister, who died in childhood.
“The Conversation” is a talk show on the Lifetime network that began on April 26. New episodes air Thursday at 11PM. Host Amanda De Cadenet, who is famous in Britain, interviews famous women. The premiere show guests were Jane Fonda, Zoe Saldana, GWYNETH PALTROW, and SARAH SILVERMAN (this episode can be seen on the Lifetime web site). Other famous Jewish woman scheduled to appear on the eight-episode series include DIANE VON FURSTENBERG (May 17), DONNA KARAN (June 7) and IVANKA TRUMP (June 14). A reviewer for “USA Today” wrote: “‘The Conversation’ is a series that’s smart, often funny and not the least bit cheesy. (unlike much Lifetime programming).”
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.