Jews in the News: Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix and Julianna Margulies

“Gangster Squad” stars SEAN PENN, 52, as (real-life) gangster MICKEY COHEN (1913-76). BENJAMIN ‘Bugsy” SIEGEL came to Los Angeles in the late ‘30s to make money (mostly gambling) for the East Coast mob. Cohen was his chief enforcer. When Siegel was murdered in 1947, Cohen took over his rackets. In the late ‘40s, the LAPD assembled a small group of officers into the “Gangster Squad” to try and stop Cohen and others.


The movie is “loosely” based on a 2008 series of articles in the LA Times about the squad that can be read, on-line, for free. The film centers on two Squad members, played by Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling, who try and get Cohen “by any means necessary.” In real-life, they never got Cohen. The feds got him: in 1961, he was sent to Alcatraz prison for tax evasion. “Squad” is directed by RUBEN FLEISCHER, 38 (“Zombieland”). Emma Stone, who co-starred in “Zombieland,” plays Cohen’s “moll.”


Golden Globes, 2013


The Globes ceremony will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, January 13, at 8PM. Here are the Jewish nominees and a few others of “Jewish interest”.


Film nominees: Best actor (drama film): JOAQUIN PHOENIX, 38, "The Master"; and, with an asterisk, Daniel Day-Lewis, 55, "Lincoln." (While secular now, he was baptized and sung in a church choir. His late mother was Jewish). Best actress (drama): RACHEL WEISZ, 42, "The Deep Blue Sea". Best actor (comedy/musical film): JACK BLACK, 43, "Bernie”: Best supporting actor (any film): ALAN ARKIN, 78, "Argo." Best supporting actress (any film): Helen Hunt, whose paternal grandmother was Jewish, for playing therapist CHERYL COHEN-GREENE in "The Sessions"; Best director (film); STEVEN SPIELBERG, 66, "Lincoln"; Best film screenplay: TONY KUSHNER, 56, "Lincoln"; DAVID O. RUSSELL, 54, "Silver Linings Playbook," and MARK BOAL, "Zero Dark Thirty "; Best original song--"Suddenly," a new song for Les Misérables (CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHONBERG, ALAIN BOUBIL and HERBERT KRETZMER); Best animated film: “Hotel Transylvania”--co-written by ROBERT SMIGEL,52, and directed by GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY, 42).


TV nominees: Best lead actress (TV drama): JULIANNA MARGULIES, 46, “The Good Wife”; Best lead actress (TV comedy): LENA DUNHAM, 26, “Girls”; Supporting actor--TV series or TV movie: MAX GREENFIELD, 32, “New Girl” and MANDY PATINKIN, 60, “Homeland.”


Separate awards are made for best drama film and best comedy or musical film. The award goes to producers. I’m sure these films have a Jewish producer---Drama: “Lincoln” (Spielberg); “Argo” (GRANT HESLOV); “Zero Dark Thirty” (Boal); Comedy/Musical: “Les Misérables” (ERIC FELLNER); “Moonrise Kingdom” (SCOTT RUDIN).


Best TV drama: “Homeland” (HOWARD GORDON); “The Newsroom” (AARON SORKIN and S. Rudin); Best musical or comedy: “Big Bang Theory” (CHUCK LORRE); “Episodes” (DAVID CRANE); “Girls” (L. Dunham, JUDD APATOW, JENNIFER KONNER; “Modern Family” (STEVE LEVITAN).


Sorkin, Lorre, Crane, Dunham, and Levitan are also credited with being the creator or co-creators of the above series and have written for these shows.


Globe Footnotes


Ewan McGregor, best actor/film comedy (“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) has a Jewish wife and his children are being raised Jewish. Likewise, best supporting film actor Christoph Walz (“Django Unchained”) has a Jewish ex-wife and their son, at last report, was studying to be a rabbi.


The newcomer star of “Moonrise Kingdom,” JARED GILMAN, recently had his bar mitzvah and Alka Seltzer, in an effort to raise flagging sales, has just brought back “Speedy Alka-Seltzer” singing the famous “plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” jingle. The jingle, a huge ad hit from 1975-1980, was written by PAUL MARGULIES, a retired ad man who is Julianne Margulies’ father.


Nate Bloom writes a weekly column on Jewish celebrities, broadly defined, that appears in the Atlanta Jewish Times, the Cleveland Jewish News, the American Israelite of Cincinnati, the Detroit Jewish News, and the New Jersey Jewish Standard. It also appears bi-weekly in j., the Jewish news weekly of northern California. Most of the items in Bloom’s weekly newspaper column differ from the items in his bi-weekly column on interfaith celebrities for If you wish to contact Nate Bloom, e-mail him at  .  The author welcomes questions and celebrity “tips,” especially about people you personally know.





Add Comment