Jews in the News: Judd Hirsch, Martin Landau, Marc Maron
Favreau, who also directed the first two “Iron Man” films, did not direct this one, which is in 3-D. “Iron Man” was, of course, originally a Marvel Comic, co-created by STAN LEE, 90. The Mandarin character was created by Lee for a 1964 comic book.
The first “Iron Man” movie, a blockbuster hit in 2008, was the crown jewel in Downey’s career resurrection. In 2001, he had hit rock bottom: he was caught using drugs again despite just finishing a year in jail for drug use. But he turned things around by 2004 and he has stayed sober for about a decade now. He gives much of the credit to his wife, producer SUSAN LEVIN, now 39, who he met in 2003 and wed in Jewish ceremony in 2005. As I have noted before, Downey’s paternal grandfather was Jewish and he’s referred to himself as “Jew-Buddhist” since meeting Levin.
I have to believe that MICHAEL DOUGLAS, 68, who co-starred with Downey in “Wonder Boys” (2000), has asked Downey for advice about his son, Cameron Douglas, now 34. Cameron has had a very long-term and severe drug problem.
I guess Downey had no “magic helpful words”---because Cameron was sent to federal prison in 2010 for dealing heroin and “meth”. He was caught using drugs in prison in 2011 and, last January, he again tested positive for in-prison use. On April 15, an appeals court affirmed that his original five-year sentence was properly lengthened to ten years because of his in-prison drug use. He isn’t eligible for release, now, until 2018. Cameron, whose only Jewish grandparent is actor KIRK DOUGLAS, 96, co-starred opposite Michael and Kirk in the 2003 movie, “It Runs in the Family.”
On a more upbeat note: on April 24, “People” magazine announced that Gwyneth Paltrow was their selection as “the world’s most beautiful woman” for 2013.
Maron on IFC
Starting on Friday, May 3, at 10PM, is the new IFC comedy series, “Maron”. It stars MARC MARON, 49, and is based on his life as a comedian and as the host of very popular podcast. Each of the ten half-hour episodes show Maron’s day-to-day struggle to maintain relationships (other than the ones he has with his cats and podcast audience). JUDD HIRSCH, 78, plays his father, with ANDY KINDLER, 56, as his loyal friend. Kindler, who had a recurring role on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” is a real-life friend of Maron and the two have often done Jewish-themed comic bits together.
Landau and Arbus
The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles recently covered the Los Angeles Israeli film festival. Oscar-winning actor MARTIN LANDAU, 85, was awarded the Festival’s career achievement award. Here’s part of his acceptance speech: “Israel and I grew up together…I was 28 and working in the art department at the New York Daily News when Israel became a state. When I was struggling to make a living, Israel too was struggling to survive… to convert a strip of arid land into a fertile farmland….Israel and I have aged together, witnessed and experienced massive change, but we’re still very much alive.”
Actor ALLAN ARBUS died on April 19, age 95. He is best known for playing Dr. Sidney Freedman, a psychiatrist, on TV’s “MASH.” The show’s star, Alan Alda, once said that he thought that Arbus must have had some medical training (he didn’t) because he was so believable in the role. In 1941, when he was 23, he wed DIANE NEMEROV, 18. He served as an Army photographer during WWII. After the war, he and Diane began a joint career as advertising photographers and they had two daughters. In 1956, they closed their photography studio because Diane Arbus wanted to move into art photography. They separated in 1959 and divorced in 1969. Diane, who died in 1971, went on to become a famous art photographer. Allan, meanwhile, became a full-time actor in 1969 and that same year he got a co-starring role in “Putney Swope,” a cult indie film directed by Robert Downey, Sr. He steadily worked, mostly in TV, until 2000.