Jews in the News: Amanda Peet, Zach Braff and Arthur Miller

The Broderick Case Redux

In 1989, Betty Broderick entered the home of her ex-husband, Dr. Dan Broderick, and shot and killed Dan and his wife, Linda, in their bed. Broderick, the mother of Dan’s two children, claimed that she had been the subject of various types of abuse by Dan. The prosecution argued that the murder was the culmination of years of bizarre and often violent behavior by Betty, directed at Dan, after he left her for a much-younger woman. It took two trials to convict her of murder.  I vividly recall a 1991 “Law and Order” episode based on the Broderick case. Shirley Knight, a great actress (Tennessee Williams’ favorite), gave a powerhouse performance as the Betty Broderick inspired character (Knight died on April 22, age 83, of natural causes).

The Broderick case is the subject of the 2nd season of the crime anthology series “Dirty John” (the 8-episode series premieres June 2, USA Network). Christian Slater plays Dan and AMANDA PEET, 48, plays Betty. If she can match Shirley Knight’s performance, Peet will win an Emmy.

 Zach Braff is a Mensch and More

Broadway star Nick Cordero, 41, has been waging an epic battle with the Covid-19 virus. Late last year, Codero and his wife, Amanda Klotts, decided to settle in Los Angeles. For seven months, they stayed at the guest house of his great friend ZACH BRAFF (“Scrubs”, “Garden State”) while they were house hunting.  They went back to New York in early April just to pack-up their things. During that traveling Nick contracted Covid-19. He’s been in Cedars-Sinai hospital, Los Angeles, since early April. Cordero had to have his leg amputated and had a pacemaker installed. Sadly, his condition seriously deteriorated just a week after waking from a coma (May 16).  Meanwhile, Klotts and the Corderos’ one-year old son have been staying on at Braff’s guest house. They’ve been joined by Klott’s brother and sister. Braff told “The Hollywood Reporter”: “We [Braff and his girlfriend] help them in any way we can, too. We obviously stay social distanced from them, but we bring them food and wine and flowers.” 

I thought about Braff when his blood cousin (really!), Republican Senator Mitt Romney, voted to impeach the President. In 2012, a family history expert friend told me that Romney and Braff are direct descendants of Rachel Nurse (1621-1692), a pious Christian woman who was falsely accused of witchcraft in Salem, Mass. and hanged. She is a major character in “The Crucible”, the famous ARTHUR MILLER play. (Braff’s mother is a convert to Judaism with ancestors who lived in Salem).  I reported all this in my column and Braff became aware of “the cousinhood” when a friend of his sent him a screen shot of my column. Braff, a liberal Democrat, posted a comment on-line that said, in almost so many words, “I have nothing to do with Romney or witches.” In a later post, he said that he looked into the matter more and, to his surprise, my column info was correct. I have to believe that Braff was thinking, “Nice going, cousin” when Romney voted for impeachment.

Not Exactly a Happy Days Background

I thought about writing about MSNBC anchor KATY TUR, 36, and her husband, CBS Morning News anchor Tony Doukopil, 39, even before they were featured on “CBS Sunday Morning” on May 17 (view on CBS news app or Youtube). They seem like a devoted, “normal” couple who help each other do their respective broadcasts from their basement. Both have quite unusual family histories not noted in the "Sunday Morning" piece. Doukopil thought his father, who left him and his teacher mother when he was six, was a real estate agent. He discovered as a young adult that his dad was a major marijuana dealer. Tur grew up the daughter of two journalists. Her Jewish father is ZOEY TUR, 59, (born Robert Tur). Her mother, Marika Gerard, now divorced from her father, is of Greek, non-Jewish background. Zoey Tur told an interviewer that Katy grew-up in a home that was "culturally Jewish, but not really observant."

Bob/Zoey Tur is most famous as a fearless helicopter reporter. Tur got the copter footage of the OJ Simpson Bronco chase. Tur, who was cited by the IDF for saving the life of an Israeli soldier during the 2006 Lebanon war, completed gender re-assignment surgery in 2017. She's now legally a woman named Zoey. In 2015, conservative journalist BEN SHAPIRO, now 36, chided Tur about her sex-change during a radio program. Tur grabbed Shapiro’s neck and told him to ”stop or he’d go home in an ambulance.”



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