Jews in the News: Adam Sandler, Robert Russell and Michael Bolton


The new “Chanukah Song” by ADAM SANDLER, 49, is now out on video. As usual, Sandler doesn’t identify by name every Jewish celeb—so if you view the video here are the “toughies”: “Olaf” refers to the character Olaf the Snowman in “Frozen”, voiced by actor JOSH GAD, 34; ‘Punky Brewster’ refers to a sit-com role played by actress SOLEIL MOON FRYE, 39; 'Google founders' refers to LARRY PAGE and SERGEY BRIN, both 42,; Harry Potter references DANIEL RADCLIFFE, 26; and IDINA MENZEL,44, plays Elsa in “Frozen.”

On Friday, Dec. 11, Netflix premieres “The Ridiculous 6”, a comedy that sort-of-marries MEL BROOKS’ “Blazing Saddles” to the “Magnificent Seven” (and uses that film’s great score by the late ELMER BERNSTEIN). Sandler plays an outlaw (“White Knife”) raised by Native Americans who goes on a mission to rescue his father. He’s assisted by his five half brothers, all of whom have the same father, but are ethnically very different (black, Hispanic, etc).  Co-stars include HARVEY KEITEL, 76, and ROB SCHNEIDER, 52.

Other TV Highlights

ESPN Films' “30 for 30 series” is very good and on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 9:30PM (right after the Heisman Trophy presentation) they will premiere a new film, “The Four Falls of Buffalo,” It looks at the Buffalo Bills of the early '90s. They made it to four straight Super Bowls (1990-1993), only to lose all four. Prominently featured is MARV LEVY, now 90, the team’s head coach. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

The documentary, “Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists,” premieres on HBO on Monday, Dec. 14, at 9PM. I’m not surprised that the film, which “Variety” called “delightful,” was screened by a number of Jewish film festivals, including San Francisco's. A very large percentage of the New Yorker’s past and present cartoonists are/were Jewish. The central character of the film, BOB MANKOFF, 71, the cartoon editor of the New Yorker since 1997, has often talked about how the “anxious” Jewish experience led to humor as a coping mechanism. The first chapter of his 2014 memoir is subtitled: “I’m not arguing, I’m Jewish.” Also prominent in the film are New Yorker chief editor DAVID REMNICK, 57, who personally reviews all cartoons, and top cartoonist ROZ CHAST, 61.  By the way, Remnick was just profiled by CBS Sunday Morning. Part of the profile included a joint interview with his wife, former NY Times reporter ESTHER FEIN. He strikes me, in the words of a 2011 “GQ” profile, as a likeable mensch. The text of the profile can be read here:

The second season of the hit Bravo series, “Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce,” starring LISA EDELSTEIN, 49, began on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Edelstein, who is in remarkable physical shape (she could pass for 35), told “Today” that it is empowering, at her age, to take off her clothes for the series many sex scenes (no actual nudity).  Edelstein also talked about husband, painter ROBERT RUSSELL, 42, who was standing just off-stage. (They wed in 2014. It is Edelstein’s first marriage.). She said they met at a Los Angeles museum, where he was talking to someone she knew. She then described her husband "wish list": "I was looking for somebody who was already had kids, lived near me and was willing, if we married, to live in my house, because I have a beautiful house, and wasn’t wishy-washy---he came over to me—we talked-- he lived near me, and he had a specific ‘date idea’-- and he was Jewish." (He’s a Russian-born Jew who anglicized his last name).

Russell is a handsome and really cool-looking guy. He's tall and sinewy, with long hair. Yes, he has a quite prominent nose and large teeth. But somehow these last two features work for him, just like they do for Edelstein (they enhance her distinctively pretty face). I guess it was “beshert.”

Pics of Edelstein and Russell: Pics

Bolton Bar Mitzvah

Singer MICHAEL BOLTON, 62, visited Israel for the first time in October and a Chabad rabbi recently revealed that he stopped Bolton near the Western Wall and got him agree to an on-the-spot bar mitzvah. This was the first time, the rabbi said, that Bolton ever wore tefillin.  I know, from a good personal source, that Bolton has previously avoided talking about his “New Haven Jewish roots” with the media---so his Israel trip is perhaps sort of a game changer.


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