Jews in the News: Paul Newman, Rick Moranis and Josh Gad

Nazi Hunters and More

The first, 10-episode season of the Amazon original series “Hunters” began streaming last Friday, Feb. 21. Al Pacino, in his first TV role, plays Meyer Offerman, the Jewish leader of a group of Nazi hunters headquartered in New York City in 1977. They discover that hundreds of important Nazi officials are living in America and are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich. The “hunters”, who include many non-Jews of all races, set out a bloody quest to bring these Nazis to justice. The Jewish cast members do play Jewish characters: LOGAN LERMAN, 28; JEANNIE BERLIN, 70; JOSH RADNOR, 45; CAROL KANE, 67; and SAUL RUBINEK, 71 (Rubinek’s parents survived the Holocaust because Polish farmers hid them).

DAVID WEIL, 35ish, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, created the series and wrote it. There’s a great, wide-ranging interview with Weil on the Forbes magazine site that will really enhance your enjoyment of the series. Just ‘google’ the title (Feb. 14; “‘Hunters’ Creator David Weil Schmoozes About Tough Jews”).

The reviews are almost all mixed. Many critics noted that the series is more cartoonish than they expected and it often had a super-hero sensibility, which didn’t seem appropriate.

By the way, Israeli actress MEITAL DOHAN, 43, broke up with Pacino, 79, about two months ago. The couple was together for about two years. They met at Hollywood party. Dohan explained why they split in a recent interview with an Israeli magazine. Dohan said that: “It’s hard to be with a man so old, even Al Pacino. The age gap is difficult, yes. I tried to deny it, but now he is already an elderly man, to be honest. So even with all my love, it didn’t last.” She added that wasn’t in the relationship for gifts or favors.

Dohan is best known in America for a recurring role on the Showtime series “Weeds,” in which she played the head of a rabbinical school who was romantically involved with lead character Andy Botwin (played by JUSTIN KIRK, now 50).

A Short Note on a Very Long Life

Prolific author A.E. HOTCHNER died on Feb. 15, 2020, age 102. He is most famous for his biographies, especially two about Ernest Hemingway, who became his friend just after WWII. He was also a TV script writer, editor, and novelist. His friends all said that he was a terrific conversationalist.

 The census record I checked says his father was from Hungary and Yiddish was his native tongue. His mother was a New York-born child of Yiddish-speaking Hungarian immigrants. Hotchner had a rough childhood. His mother, a former synagogue administrator, was hospitalized with tuberculosis during most of his youth. His salesman father was usually traveling, trying to eke out a living. He wrote a novelized version of his youth, entitled “King of the Hill” (1973). It became a good Steven Soderbergh movie of the same name in 1993.

Hotchner was the co-founder of “Newman’s Own”, the now-famous food company that gives all its profits ($500M to date) to charity and sponsors summer camps for seriously ill children (including one in Israel). PAUL NEWMAN was a great friend of Hotchner’s. Newman made a terrific homemade salad dressing that he put in bottles and gave as gifts to his friends. Hotchner told Newman that he should sell it to the public. They quickly decided to give it a try and if the dressing was popular, all the profits would go to charity. Hotchner was at Newman’s side as they launched and ran Newman’s Own. Memories of Newman’s films and Hotchner’s books will fade. But their legacy of good works will endure as long as Newman’s Own exists.

Moranis Returns

RICK MORANIS, 67, will return to the big screen to star in “Shrunk,” a sequel in the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” series of movies. JOSH GAD, 38, will co-star in this Disney film. Moranis starred or co-starred in a number of hit movies (“Ghostbusters”, “Parenthood”, and the “Honey I Shrunk” films) before taking a very long hiatus to raise his two children.  Rick's Jewish wife ANN BELSKY, a costume designer, and the mother of his children, died of breast cancer in 1991. Moranis stopped doing live action films in 1997, but continued to do voice-over parts in animated films.  In 2013, he told the NY Times that he returned to his hometown Toronto to raise his kids following Ann’s death. That move, he said, brought him into the orbit of friends and family who “had a practicing Jewish culture.” A cul


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