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Asherson, Renée [real name Dorothy Renée Ascherson] (1915–2014), actress, was born on 19 May 1915 at 2 Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, London, the younger daughter of Charles Stephen Ascherson (1877–1945), a shipowner of German Jewish descent, and his second wife, ...

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Berk [née Heymansohn], Lieselotte [Lotte] (1913–2003), dancer and fitness trainer, was born on 17 January 1913 in Cologne, Germany, the only daughter of Jewish parents. Her Russian father, Nicolai Heymansohn, was originally a tailor and owned shops selling clothing for men. Her German mother died of a stroke when ...

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Sarah Henriette Rosine Bernhardt (1844–1923) by Histed private collection

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Bernhardt, Sarah Henriette Rosine (1844–1923), actress, was born, probably on 22 or 23 October 1844, in Paris, the first of the three daughters of Julie Bernhardt (d. 1876), a Jewish courtesan from Amsterdam. The identity of her father remains unknown, although he is sometimes given as ...

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Sheila Van Damm (1922–1987) by Lewis Morley, 1962 © Lewis Morley, courtesy of The Akehurst Bureau; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Damm, Sheila Van (1922–1987), rally driver and theatre director, was born on 17 January 1922 in Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, London, the youngest of three daughters (there were no sons) of Vivian Van Damm (d. 1960) and his wife, Natalie Lyons. Although her father had sponsored motorcycle speedway events in the 1920s, before inheriting the ...

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Elisa Félix [Rachel] (1820/2121–1858) by Édouard-Louis Dubufe, 1850 © Collections de la Comédie-Française

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Félix, Elisa [performing name Rachel] (1820/21–1858), actress, was born at Mumpf, a small village in northern Switzerland, the daughter of Jacob Félix, an itinerant pedlar, and his wife, Esther Haya Félix, a dressmaker. Her precise birth date is uncertain: some claim it was 24 March 1820; others prefer a slightly later date, 28 February 1821. The family was passing through on its way to ...

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Celia Franca (1921–2007) by Janine, 1960 courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada archives

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Franca, Celia [real name Nita Celia Franks] (1921–2007), ballet dancer, choreographer, and ballet director, was born on 25 June 1921 at 57 Nicholas Street, Mile End, London, the daughter of Solomon Franks, boot salesman, later ladies' outfitter, and his wife, Gertie, née...

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Hermione Ferdinanda Gingold (1897–1987) by Francis Goodman, 1945 © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gingold, Hermione Ferdinanda (1897–1987), actress, was born in London on 9 December 1897, the elder daughter (there were no sons) of James Gingold, stockbroker, who had emigrated from Austria, and his wife, Kate Walter. She claimed Viennese, Turkish, and Romanian blood on her father's side. Her mother was Jewish....

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Greengross [married name Katz, afterwards Kates], Wendy Elsa (1925–2012), general practitioner and broadcaster, was born at 10 St Mary's Road, Golders Green, London, on 29 April 1925, the daughter of Morris Philip Greengross, formerly Moisze Fiszel Gringross (1892–1970), manufacturing jeweller, and his wife, ...

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Hamermesh, Mira (1923–2012), painter and documentary film-maker, was born Mirjam Hamermesz in Łódź, Poland, on 15 July 1923, the third and youngest child of Josef Meir Hamermesz, manufacturer, and his wife, Fajga, née Lerer. Her brother, Mordechai, was born in 1918, and her sister, ...

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Karlin, Miriam [real name Miriam Samuels] (1925–2011), actress, was born on 23 June 1925 at 1 Lawn Mansions, Hampstead, London, the younger child of Harry Samuels (1893–1976), barrister, and his wife, Céline, née Aronowitz (d. 1983). Her elder brother, Michael Samuels (1920–2010)...

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Verity Ann Lambert (1935–2007) by unknown photographer, 1965 © BBC

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Lambert, Verity Ann (1935–2007), television and film producer, was born on 27 November 1935 at 63 Fitzjohns Avenue, Hampstead, London, the only child of affluent Jewish parents, Stanley Joseph Lambert, a chartered accountant, and his wife, Ella Corona, née Goldburg. At the time of her birth registration her parents lived at ...

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Maker: Mark Gerson

Marghanita Laski (1915–1988) by Mark Gerson, 1963 © Mark Gerson; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Laski, Marghanita [formerly Esther Pearl] (1915–1988), writer and broadcaster, was born in Maida Vale, London on 24 October 1915, the eldest child (she had one sister, two brothers, and an adopted brother and sister) of Neville Jonas Laski, barrister (later a crown court...

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See Leon, Jack de