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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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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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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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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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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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Grade, Lew, Baron Grade (1906–1998), theatrical agent, television executive, and film producer, was born Louis Winogradsky on 25 December 1906 at Tokmak, near Odessa, Ukraine, the eldest of four children, three boys and a girl, of Isaac Winogradsky (c.1879–1935), and his wife, ...

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Harris, Sir Augustus Henry Glossop (1852–1896), actor and theatre manager, was born on 18 March 1852 in the rue Taitbout, Paris, one of five children of the theatre manager Augustus Glossop Harris (1826–1873) and his wife, née Maria Ann Bone, a theatrical costumier....

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James, Sidney [Sid] [real name Sidney Joel Cohen] (1913–1976), actor, was born on 8 May 1913 in Hancock Street, Johannesburg, South Africa, the second of the two sons of Laurie Cohen (b. 1878) and his wife, Reine Solomon. His parents were both Jewish music-hall entertainers who had moved to ...

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Kossoff, David (1919–2005), actor and broadcaster, was born on 24 November 1919, at the Mothers' Hospital, Clapton, London, the son of Lewis (Louis) Kossoff, tailor, and his wife, Annie, née Shaklovich. At the time of his birth registration his parents, Russian Jewish immigrants, lived at ...

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Kustow, Michael David (1939–2014), author, theatre producer, and television executive, was born on 18 November 1939 at Suffolk House maternity home, Marsh Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex, the oldest of three children of Marcus (Mark) Kustow (1908–1994), who came from a Jewish-Russian immigrant family and sold children’s clothes in a shop at ...

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Menken, Adah Isaacs (1835?–1868), actress and poet, is thought to have been born on 15 June 1835 in New Orleans. At various times in her life she produced different versions of her parentage, giving her father's name as James McCord, Richard Spencer...

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Neilson, Julia Emilie (1868–1957), actress and theatre manager, was born in Tottenham Court Road, London, on 12 June 1868, the only child of Alexander Ritchie Neilson, a silversmith and jeweller, and his wife, Emily Davis, who was one of an unusually gifted Jewish family of five sisters, no fewer than seven of whose offspring became professional actresses. Her widowed mother later married ...

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Pinter, Harold (1930–2008), actor, playwright, and director, was born on 10 October 1930 at Tudor House, Newington Green, London, the only child of Hyman (Jack) Pinter (1902–1997), ladies' tailor, and his wife, Frances, née Moskowitz (1904–1992). At the time of his birth his parents lived at ...

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Pitt, Ingrid (1937–2010), actress and writer, was born on 21 November 1937 in Poland, the daughter of a German father and a Polish Jewish mother. Many biographical accounts give her birth name as Ingoushka Petrov, although the origin of this is unclear. She herself gave her father's name as ...

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Reinhardt, Max [real name Max Goldmann] (1873–1943), theatre director and manager, was born Max Goldmann on 9 September 1873 in Baden, near Vienna, of Jewish parents, the eldest of six children of Wilhelm Goldmann (1846–1906), shopkeeper, and his wife, Rosa Weingraf (1851–1924)...

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Schlesinger, John Richard (1926–2003), film and stage director, was born on 16 February 1926 at 53 Hollycroft Avenue, Hampstead, London, the son of Bernard Edward Schlesinger (1896–1984), paediatrician, and his wife, Winifred Henrietta, née Regensburg (1897–1986), who had studied music at Trinity College of Music...

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Taylor, Dame Elizabeth Rosemond (1932–2011), actress, was born on 27 February 1932 at Heathwood, 8 Wildwood Road, Hampstead, London, the younger child and only daughter of Francis Lenn Taylor (1897–1968), art dealer, and his wife, Sara Viola, née Warmbrodt (1895–1994), a former actress (under the stage name ...

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Wanamaker [formerly Watenmaker], Samuel [Sam] (1919–1993), actor and director, was born Samuel Watenmaker on 14 June 1919 in Chicago, USA, the second son of Morris Watenmaker, later Wanamaker, and his wife, Molly, née Bobele. His parents were first generation Russian-Jewish immigrants. It is quite possible that his stage début as a teenager in a plywood and paper replica of the ...

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Wells [née Davies; other married name Sumbel], Mary Stephens (1762–1829), actress, one of the three daughters of Thomas Davies, a carver and gilder in Birmingham, was born in that city on 16 December 1762. Her father died in a madhouse while she was a small child. Her mother kept a tavern frequented by actors, including ...

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Zadek, Peter Max (1926–2009), theatre director, was born in Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany, on 19 May 1926, the only child of Paul Zadek (1879/80–1969), haberdashery salesman, and his wife, Suzanne (Suzi), née Behr (c.1889–1959), whose family were prominent Jewish bankers. Both had been married before: his father, who spent six months of every year travelling in ...