Jews in the News: Gwyneth Paltrow, Albert Brooks and Genevieve Angelson

At the Movies

The mystery/thriller “Mortdecai” is based on the first of a trilogy of acclaimed 1970s novels by the late Kyril Bonfiglioli. Charles Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is a debonair English art dealer of Dutch Jewish ancestry. He is also a bit of a rogue. Johanna, his “randy” wife, is played by GWYNETH PALTROW, 42. The basic plot: Mortdecai must travel the globe in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Armed only with good looks and charm, he has to fend off angry Russians, a terrorist, and the British Mi5.  Co-stars include Ewan McGregor and JEFF GOLBLUM, 62.  Goldblum, by the way, recently announced he was expecting his first child, a son, with his wife, Emilie Livingston, 32. (Opens Jan. 23)

“A Most Violent Year” is set in New York City in 1981, when crime still raged in the Big Apple. Oscar Isaac plays Abel Morales, who is be-set by corruption and violence as he tries to expand his heating-oil business. His wife (Jessica Chastain) wonders if the family can endure his troubles. Also worrying is Morales’ lawyer, played by ALBERT BROOKS, 67. (Opens in some cities on Jan. 23; other cities later in the year).

Jews on Ice

The following Jewish players are currently playing in the NHL. All these players have at least one Jewish parent and were raised Jewish or secular: MIKE BROWN, 29, right wing, San Jose Sharks. ANDRE BURAKOVSKY, 19, left wing, Washington Capitals. He’s a Swede of Russian Jewish descent; MICHAEL CAMMALLERI, 32, center, New Jersey Devils; and JASON ZUCKER, 22, forward, Minnesota Wild. (DAVID WARSOFSKY, 24, briefly played for Boston last fall and may return).  Of local interest: A Jewish guy from Naples, Florida (!)---JAKE SCHECHTER, a sophomore, is a defenseman playing for Northeastern Univ., a Division I college hockey school. Note: Jewish Sports Review aided with this item. 

On the Tube: Backstrom

I would have written more in advance about “Backstrom,” a Fox police series that premiered last night (Jan. 22) at 9PM, but the most prominent Jewish member of the cast, GENEVIEVE ANGELSON, 28, is such a relative newcomer that she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. A tip alerted me that she’s Jewish and I was able to dig-out her interesting family background just this week. Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) plays the title character, Detective Lt. Everett Backstom, a guy who is described as having “no filter” on his mouth. Bad behavior got him long exiled to the traffic unit, but he’s been brought-back to head up Portland’s new Special Crimes Unit, which works the city’s most serious cases. Of course, he has a police chief who doesn’t like his style. Angelson plays Detective Nicole Gravely, who is described as “the optimistic yin to Backstrom’s yang” and works hard to counterbalance his irritating behavior.

Angelson, who has stage experience and had a recurring role on “House of Lies,” only recently replaced Meryl Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer, as Gravely. Her father, MARK ANGELSON, 64, is a lawyer and businessman who worked in high finance and then headed-up the country’s largest printing company. He served as Chicago’s deputy mayor from 2011-2012---streamlining government and bringing in many private sector jobs. In a true-crime sidelight, Mark discovered (2003) the bloody, murdered body of his business partner, Ted Ammon, at Ammon’s palatial Long Island estate. The murder was a media sensation and Ammon’s wife’s lover was convicted of the crime.  Now re-located to New York City, Mark and his wife, Lynn, are major “power couples” in the arts and sciences. (Lynn was not born Jewish and I don’t believe she’s converted-in).

Tweets by Genevieve, and by her sister, JESSICA, 30, a Brooklyn mid-wife, make it clear that they identify as Jewish. A third sibling, sister MEREDITH, 32, is a lawyer working for the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans (the SPLC fights racism and anti-Semitism). She’s married to successful novelist NATHANIEL RICH, 34, the son of famous writer FRANK RICH, 65. The couple are members of a New Orleans synagogue.

BEATRICE ROSEN, 30, has a supporting, but regular role in “Backstrom” as Nadia Paquet, a foreign born civilian who works with the S.C. U. unit. A very pretty lithe blonde, Rosen was born in the States, but raised in France. She’s been working steadily in smallish French and American roles since 1998. As for background—all I know is that she said in a French interview that her original name, “Rosenblatt,” is “Ashkenazi Jewish.”


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