Jews in the News: Emmanuelle Chriqui, Stacey Farber and Soleil Moon Frye

Superman & Soleil are Back; Finally, the Evan Rachel Wood "Jewish Story"

"Superman & Lois", a new CW series, premiered on Feb. 23 and moved to its regular time slot (9PM) on March 2 (Catch-up on episodes via on-demand or CW web site/app). This iteration of the Man of Steel saga finds Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane married, with two sons, and looking to live again in Smallville, Clark’s boyhood home. EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI, 45 (Sloan on “Entourage”) has a recurring role as Lana Lang, an old friend of Clark who still lives in Smallville. Also appearing in a recurring role is STACEY FARBER, 33. She plays Leslie Larr, a business honcho.

Both actresses are Canadian. Chriqui’s parents were Sephardi Moroccan Jews who settled in Montreal. Farber grew-up in Toronto and, like many Canadians, got her start with a big role on the popular Canadian series “DeGrassi High: The Next Generation”. Next year, she will also have a recurring role on “Virgin River”, a hit Netflix drama series.

After years of relative obscurity, SOLEIL MOON FRYE, 43, is back. A ten-episode re-boot of “Punky Brewster”, the popular ‘80s sit-com, began streaming on the Peacock Channel on Feb. 25. In the original, Punky (Frye) was a warm and funny 7-year-old who was abandoned by her parents. Luckily, she met a kind old man who eventually became her legal foster parent. In the new version, Izzy, a young girl who is suffering in the foster system, is taken in by Punky (Frye, again).

In 1998, Frye wed TV producer JASON GOLDBERG, now 48, in a traditional Jewish ceremony and they have had four children.  Sadly, they separated last year. But Goldberg is the producer of Frye’s new documentary, “kid 90”. Back in the ‘90s, a teenage Frye always carried a video camera and amassed tons of footage (many shots of famous teens). Those videos provide a focus for (director) Frye and about a dozen actors, all about her age, to talk about fame, sex, drugs, aging, and the unique problems of young female actors. (Starts streaming Mar.12 on Hulu)

 EVAN RACHEL WOOD, 33, was a child when she began acting in made-for-TV films in the ‘90’s. In 2003, she had her breakthrough star role in “Thirteen”, a gritty, critically acclaimed film about two teen girls who fall into a downward spiral of sex and drugs. The “Thirteen” videotape featured commentary by the star actresses, Wood and NIKKI REED, now 32. (Reed’s father is Jewish). The commentary included them casually noting that they are both Jewish.

 Around the same time, Wood’s father seemed to say that Rachel’s mother converted to Judaism as an adult and that’s what bios reported (it was unclear if this conversion came after Evan’s birth). So began decades of confusion about Evan’s Jewish background.

In the following years, Evan was busy in prestige film and TV projects. She received a Golden Globe film (acting) nomination for “Thirteen” and Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for the mini-series “Mildred Pierce” and the TV show “Westworld”.

 It’s long been clear that her father, Ira Wood, the head of a North Carolina theater company, is not Jewish. Her mother is SARA LYNNE MOORE, 62, a Hollywood-based acting coach and sometime actress and director. Evan’s parents split-up when she was about 10. A few years later Moore married her present husband, who is Jewish.

 Last September, in honor of her mother’s birthday, Wood posted on Instagram a photo of Sara taken when she was just 16 and in high school. Sara is wearing a prominent Jewish star pendant. Clearly, her mother converted to Judaism as a teen, long before she met Evan’s father. Obviously, this is unusual story---but I simply don’t know the details. My gut is that Sara, the child of two non-Jewish parents, made a personal choice around age 16 and has stuck with it.

Now the story gets “icky”. When she was 19, Evan began a six-year relationship with shock rocker Marilyn Manson, now 52. Last month, she confirmed what long had been suspected, that Manson was physically and mentally abusive to her. Since then, four other women have come forward with abuse allegations and a police investigation has been launched. Wood detailed (see People Magazine, Feb. 5, on-line) how Manson used anti-Semitism to torment her: "I was called a 'jew' in a derogatory manner… He would draw swastikas over my bedside table when he was mad at me."  Also, “My mother is Jewish and I was raised with the religion. Because she converted and wasn’t of Jewish descent, he would say ‘that’s better’ because I wasn’t of ‘Jewish blood’.”


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