Mikey Madison, Pamela Adlon and Mark Eydelstein

Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News.

A Star is Born?  A Comedy Special, a Movie, a Documentary, and Olympics Stuff

I knew a couple of her roles, but I didn’t even know her name. Her name is MIKEY MADISON, 25, and she, and her new film, are the total toasts of the recently-completed, super-prestigious Cannes Film Festival. She stars in “Anora”, the first American film to win the Cannes top award (the Palme D’Or) since 2011. Madison plays Anora.

First, here’s what I know about the actress. Mikey Madison is a stage name. She was born Mikaela Madison Rosberg. She was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her parents are both psychologists.

I don’t know, now, if her family was “at all religious”. Public records reveal that three of her four grandparents were Jewish. Her maternal grandmother was not Jewish (it’s possible that she “converted-in”).

In 2019, she had a smallish, but very memorable role in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, a huge hit.  She played “Sadie”, a Manson family teenager who was killed by good guys before she killed celebrities. The way Sadie was killed (with a flame thrower) was very dramatic and impossible to forget.

Until now, Madison’s most seen role was in the FX/Hulu series “Better Things”. It ran for five seasons (2016-2020; and 2022). The series was co-created by PAMELA ADLON, now 57. She starred as Sam Fox, a Jewish actress who is the single mother of three young daughters.

Madison played “Max”, Sam’ s oldest daughter. Madison didn’t impress me one way or the other in “Better Things” and I think I know why. The series was set out to make us love Sam and we love Sam more as her teen daughters kvetch at her about “anything.” It’s hard to judge the acting talent of a “teen kvetcher.”

So, here’s the capsule plot of “Anora”. Anora lives in a part of Brooklyn where many immigrants from former Soviet republics have settled. Anora’s parents came from Uzbekistan, and she picks up some Russian from other immigrant neighbors. As the film opens, Anora is working as a stripper in a nightclub and her boss pimps her out to Russian speaking customers.

She meets Vanya for a “date”. He’s the spoiled rich son of a Russian oligarch. They fall in love and they elope. His father is not happy and does “things”.

Almost every review gushes how good "Anora", the film, is--- literate, “class-conscious”, and sometimes comedic. I could go on. Likewise, the reviews for Madison are just terrific. It’s likely a career-making performance.

Madison is an average-looking young woman—not a bombshell. But you don’t have to be gorgeous to snare Oscar nominations and have a great career.

And a Jewish bonus!!: Vanya is played by Russian actor MARK EYDELSTEIN, 22. He is often called the TIMOTHEE CHALAMET of the Russian screen—he’s a tall, thin, “pretty guy” actor. Reliable sources say that he is “at least” ‘part’ Jewish and he may be “all Jewish.”

HANNAH EINBINDER, 29, was a stand-up comedian before she became the co-star (2021) of "Hacks", an HBO/Max series. “Hacks” was not a total reach for Einbinder—she plays a former stand-up comedian who writes jokes for a much-older, famous female comedian.

Einbinder has snared two Emmy acting nominations for “Hacks” and the show’s a hit. So, HBO/Max is rewarding her with her first (anywhere!) solo comedy special. Entitled “Everything Must Go”, it began streaming on June 13.

The first time I saw Einbinder was on Stephen Colbert’s show, just before the pandemic hit. She talked about being Jewish in her (short) stand-up bit on "Colbert". Here’s hoping she does that again.

“Thelma” opens in theaters on June 21. Here’s the plot: Thelma Post (JUNE SQUIBB, 94!) gets duped by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson. She sets out on a dangerous quest to reclaim what was taken from her.

Advance reviews (Sundance) are quite good. “Thelma” is the first feature film directed and written by JOSH MARGOLIS, 35. His film is based on a real scam played on Josh’s elderly Jewish grandma.

FRED HECHINGER, 25, co-stars as Thelma’s grandson, Danny. Hechinger gained attention in 2020-2021 when he had a big supporting role in “News of the World,” a hit Tom Hanks movie, and had a big “main cast” role in the first season of “White Lotus”, a hit HBO series. He co-stars in the latest Spiderman movie, “Kraven the Hunter”, which opens in August. British Jewish actor AARON TAYLOR JOHNSON, 33, plays the title role.

On June 25, Hulu and Disney+ will premiere the documentary “Diane Von Furstenberg, a Woman in Charge.” Her life of this very famous fashion designer is so full of events and celebs that it is almost exhausting to read about it.

Here’s a very short bio that might whet your appetite for more (like the documentary): She was born (1946) and raised in Belgium. Her mother, Lillane, was a Greek Jew who settled in Belgium before the war. She joined the anti-Nazi resistance, was captured—and she barely survived Auschwitz. Diane’s father, Leon Halfin, was born in Romania, and settled in Belgium in the ‘20s, He found refuge in Switzerland during WWII.

Her father had the means to send her to a boarding school and to quality universities. After graduation, she worked as assistant to a fashion photographer and, after that, learned a lot about textiles in Italy.

In 1969, she married Egon Von Furstenberg. His family was an “ancient” German noble family. Such families lost their ‘legal’ nobility after WWI, but most continued to use their titles. Egon was a “Prince”—and Diane was the (Jewish) princess of Furstenberg.

Shortly after they married, Diane began designing dresses—and she “quickly” had two children with Egon in 1970 and 1971 (I have no idea if either of her children had/have any connection to Judaism).

Diane became “big” when the now-famous “DVF” “wrap dress” was introduced in 1974. By 1976, a million wrap dresses had been sold.

Diane and Egon had an open marriage. They remained friends after their separation in 1973 and divorce in 1983. Meanwhile, Diane had “hook-ups” and longer affairs with many celebrities. In a very long June 6 profile, Diane told NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd that she wanted to live her life like a man—she was referring to her business and her sex life.

In 2001, she married her long-time friend, billionaire BARRY DILLER, now 82. He was a leading entertainment executive and, over time, became a media owner. Diana and Diller have been major philanthropists (huge donations to the Statue of Liberty foundation).


In case the other Jewish media doesn’t note this: there is a good chance that an American Jewish woman will make the Olympic team and its certainly possible that she will win a medal. I am referring to CLAIRE WEINSTEIN, who is just 17! The members of the team are picked in trial swim races that began on June 15, and end on June 22.  Weinstein has qualified to swim in 7 races, and she will appear in almost a race every day of this week (Most races on Peacock and USA. Some on NBC. Check listings). 

Weinstein grew-up in a NYC suburb and she had a bat mitzvah ceremony.


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