Jews in the News: Tracee Ellis Ross, Andy Cohen and Steven Guttenberg

New Offerings and More

“High Note” is a big-budget film about the music industry that was supposed to open in theaters, but was diverted to rental streaming due to Covid-19 (started streaming on May 29. $20.00 to rent for 3 days. It appears that $20 is the going price for other brand new, “biggie” streaming films). “High Note” centers on an aging superstar diva (TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, 47) and her ambitious assistant (Dakota Johnson). The NY Times review said that the plot was implausible and Johnson was bland. The Times did praise Ross, the music, and many supporting actors.  Trailers have revealed how well Ross (“Black-Ish”), the daughter of Diana Ross, can sing. Tracee’s Jewish father is retired music manager ROBERT ELLIS SILBERSTEIN, 73. In a 2015 interview, Tracee said that she grew-up celebrating some Jewish and Christian holidays, but wasn’t raised in any faith. However, a highlight of her childhood, she said, was a trip to Israel with her parents. By the way, Tracee has never married and has no children.

The 11th season finale of ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (June 4, 8PM) features Anderson Cooper and talk show host ANDY COHEN, 51. They met many years ago when they were set up for a blind date. They actually didn’t go out on the date because in the first five minutes of talking, Cohen mentioned that Cooper’s mother was Gloria Vanderbilt. Cooper had a “rule” that he wouldn’t date any guy who did that.  However, they went on, in their words, to be “best of friends.” In other gay romance news, BEN PLATT, 26, is reportedly dating NOAH GALVIN, also 26 (his mother is Jewish). This surely isn’t the first time that two gay, Jewish, Broadway musical stars have dated. The novelty here is that they both played the title role in the mega-hit Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” I told a quite elderly Jewish friend about this. She thought and then said: “Well, it’s good they are dating a Jewish boy.”

Comic actress ESTHER POVITSKY, 32, has a Comedy Central special that premieres on June 5, at 10PM. It is a combination of stand-up bits and scenes filmed at her parents’ home in Skokie (the ‘very’ Jewish suburb of Chicago).  Povitsky, whose dad is Jewish, starred in the Freeform cable series “Alone Together.”  Very different is “Lenox Hill”, a Netflix documentary series about the famous Manhattan hospital. Filmed before the pandemic, the series follows four physicians as they balance their personal lives with their professional careers. Only two of the physicians have been identified in advance publicity. One is Dr. DAVID LANGER, 50ish, the hospital’s head of neurosurgery. Dr. Langer has often appeared as a medical expert on shows like “Good Morning, America.”  Sadly, just a couple of months ago, Lenox Hill was a “ground zero” hospital in New York City’s battle to stem our modern plague.

In fictional horror, there is the Hulu original anthology series “Into the Dark.” Each episode stands alone. The episode premiering on June 12 stars Judy Greer as a woman who gets an emotional support dog. Unknown to her, it kills anyone who causes her stress. Co-stars include STEVEN GUTTENBERG, 61. He had a great run of hits in the ‘80s, including “Police Academy” and “Cocoon”. Then he took five years off, and never got his “hit mojo” back again. But you can catch him in guest TV roles, including five episodes of “The Goldbergs” this past season.

I recently stumbled on a now-timely episode (“The Man Who Was Never Born”) of the ‘60s sci-fi series “The Outer Limits” (can be viewed on Amazon Prime and Hulu). Plot: An astronaut leaves earth in 1963, hits a time-warp, and lands 200 years in the future. The Earth is a wasteland. He meets one of the few living humans, a horribly mutated man whose name is Andro (played beautifully by the late MARTIN LANDAU). Andro explains a virus, not war, destroyed the world. The astronaut and Andro decide to time travel back to the 1960s and stop a reckless and arrogant scientist before he releases the virus into the world. This episode was very smartly written and beautifully acted. One nice footnote: the screenplay author, ANTHONY LAWRENCE, born Lawrence Levitt, is still alive at 92. He wrote scripts for many types of TV shows (including “Bonanza” and the original “Hawaii 5-0.”) He resides at the famous Hollywood Motion Picture Home. In 2016, he wed another resident. It was the first two-resident wedding since the Home opened in 1942.



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