Jews in the News: James Lipton, George Segal and Tori Spelling

By the way, Walter co-starred in a movie most haven’t seen, but you should check out: “Bye, Bye, Braverman” (1966). This truly funny black comedy about four Jewish intellectuals going to a funeral has a great, mostly Jewish cast, including GEORGE SEGAL, now 79, and SORRELL BROOKE (1930-1994). Brooke later became famous playing almost the antithesis of a Jewish intellectual: he was Boss Hogg, a corrupt Southern politician, on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”


The guests on the Nov. 10 episode (10PM) of the OWN network show, “Where Are They Now,” hosted by Oprah Winfrey, include TORI SPELLING, 40. Spelling has morphed from being a regularly working actress to a professional celebrity whose life has been displayed via a series of reality shows and the three print (book) memoirs she’s written since 2008. Spelling recently spoke with “People” about her newest memoir’s ‘big reveal’: she is almost broke and her husband, Dean, cannot even afford to get a vasectomy. Tori claims her late father, mega-rich TV producer AARON SPELLING, “only” left her $800K. Her mother, CANDY MARER SPELLING, 68, told USA Today “it was much, much, more.”


Tori cannot rationally explain how they can’t afford a vasectomy (Planned Parenthood says it should cost no more than $1000). Consider this:  Tori and Dean will appear on the HGTV cable station in 2014 in yet another reality show (“Cabin Fever”; about fixing up a cabin as their dream vacation home). No doubt, HGTV paid for the rehab and also paid Tori and Dean a big fee for being on the show. Inquiring minds have to ask: couldn’t Tori and Dean have snipped off a bit of that fee and used that “snip” for Dean’s snip?


JFK and Thor



The National Geographic Channel marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President Kennedy with an original film, “Killing Kennedy” (airs Sunday, Nov. 10 at 10PM).  Rob Lowe, whose children were raised in his wife’s Jewish faith, plays JFK. GINNIFER GOODWIN, 35, plays Jacqueline Kennedy, and MICHELLE TRACTENBERG, 28, plays Lee Harvey Oswald’s Russian-born wife, Marina. While playing Marina, Tractenberg speaks quite a bit of Russian.


The actress’s mother, LANA, is a Jewish immigrant from Russia and she is also her daughter’s manager. Michelle once said that she had to learn Russian to speak to her mother’s parents. In a 2005 interview, she said that her grandparents lived in Israel and she had visited them there. However, she didn’t make it crystal clear which set of grandparents she was referring to.


The 2011 film, “Thor,” made mega-bucks, so there’s a sequel, “Thor: the Dark World,” (opens Friday, Nov. 8.)  The original cast returns, including NATALIE PORTMAN, 32, as Jane, a brainy scientist who is the love interest of Thor, and KAT DENNINGS, 27 (“2 Broke Girls”), as Jane’s intern and sidekick.


Portman sometimes complains that she’s first choice for every Hollywood movie Jewish role. But there’s a reason, besides her talent and beauty. No other major Jewish actor issues so many spot-on comments about the Jewish condition. Here’s one from an Oct. 29 interview with the Telegraph, a UK paper:

“The older I get, the more I realize how different it is to be a Jew in a Jewish place as opposed to a Jew in a non-Jewish place. It’s definitely a different feeling in terms of how freely you can be yourself and celebrate your culture and religion. It’s very different being in Israel than in cities that don’t have big Jewish populations, where it can sometimes feel dangerous to be Jewish, and you understand why there is a need for a place where you don’t feel that way. I feel it in lots of places-- Pretty much everywhere--New York and LA [where she currently lives] are the exceptions. On holidays in New York the city shuts down. My non-Jewish friends know how to wish you Shanah Tova, Happy New Year in Hebrew. In other places in the world it ranges from people who aren’t familiar with Judaism to people who are hostile towards it.”



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