Jews in the News: Natalie Portman, Ed Asner and Woody Allen

TV News: Ancestry and Asner

Not quite a celeb item, but still interesting (I hope): The four-episode PBS series, "Genealogy Roadshow," began last month and concludes on Monday, October 14. Each episode features six people whose ancestry is traced. The show's producer says that one of his favorite segments appears in the Oct.14 episode: “There’s a woman from Texas, Denise Garza Steusloff, who’s Latina and wanted to know if she was descended from Jews that fled the Spanish inquisition. She celebrated Jewish holidays her whole life but didn’t know whether she was really Jewish or not. It was very emotional when we told her she had Jewish ancestry.” (Check local listings for exact time. Episodes can also be viewed on-line).

ED ASNER, 83, has just been cast to guest star in an upcoming episode of the CBS comedy, "The Crazy Ones." He'll plays Glen "Mr. Finger" Hastings, a TV commercial actor whom Sydney (SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR) finds charming. The air date for his episode is not yet set.

Movies, Short and Long; Woody and Mia Fight On

A new version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" opens in theaters on Friday, Oct. 11. It was written for the screen by Julian Fellowes ("Dowton Abbey"). Co-starring as Juliet is HAILEE STEINFELD, 16, who got a 2010 Oscar nomination for "True Grit." Steinfeld's father is Jewish and her uncle is famous trainer JAKE STEINFELD, 55.

The Vanity Fair website last week posted a summary of the 'hot' news in their November issue: Mia Farrow and many of her children spoke to the magazine about their family life and Farrow's ex-romantic partner, WOODY ALLEN, now 77. Farrow was twice married before she began seeing Allen in 1980. Her first husband was Frank Sinatra (1966-1969).  In 1970, she wed composer/conductor ANDRE PREVIN, now 84. She had three biological sons with Previn, and with him she adopted three daughters, including Soon-Yi Allen, now 40.  Previn and Farrow divorced in 1979.

Allen and Farrow adopted two children together: Dylan (a girl) and Moses. They also had a biological son---RONAN FARROW, now 25. In 1992, Mia discovered that Woody and Soon-Yi were having an affair. The ensuing scandal included accusations that Allen had molested Dylan, then 7. Dylan, who now calls herself Malone, told Vanity Fair that she believes she was molested and she's ignored the couple of letters which Allen has sent her. Meanwhile, Andre Previn told the magazine that "Soon Yi is now dead to us". His son (with Mia), FLETCHER PREVIN, now 39, told "Vanity Fair" that  he has edited/photoshopped Allen out of every family movie and photograph.

Mia Farrow's biggest revelation was that Ronan "possibly" may be Sinatra's biological child. She said that Sinatra was the big love of her life and, “We never really split up.” Ronan, who just left a prestigious State Dept. human rights position to study at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, responded to last week's media uproar with a tongue-in-cheek tweet: " Listen, we all 'possibly' Frank Sinatra's son."

On a more upbeat note: Also on the Vanity Fair site are series of short Internet films ("The Decade Series") that the magazine has commissioned in honor of its 100th birthday. Each film is about one decade and not all the films have been completed yet. All the finished films are worth watching, including one about the "Oughts" (2000-2009) by Oscar-nominated documentary makers RACHEL GRADY and Heidi Ewing; one about the '70s by BRETT RATNER, 44 ("Rush Hour"); and one about the '30s by Oscar-winning documentary maker BARBARA KOPPLE, 67.


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