Adler, Celia (1890–1979)

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Adler, Celia (1890–1979)

American actress and first lady of the Yiddish theater. Born in 1890; died in New York City after suffering a stroke on January 31, 1979; daughter of Jacob Adler (an actor) and his first wife Dinah Feinman (an actress); half-sister of actors Luther and Stella Adler (1902–1993); married three times; children: one son.

Celia Adler, who began her acting career in the arms of her mother at the age of six months, would eventually become known as the "first lady of the Yiddish Theater." She was a product of the first marriage of the great Yiddish actor Jacob Adler, who had an eye for many women, and actress Dinah Feinman . When Celia asked her mother if she was bitter about her father's skirtchasing ways, Dinah replied: "Anger toward him? Never, my daughter. He was not to blame: women just would not leave him alone."

In 1918, Celia—along with Jacob Ben Ami, Ludwig Satz, and Bertha Gersten —helped launch the Yiddish company of Maurice Schwartz at the Irving Place Theater. Historians regard their work as the beginning of serious or "art" in the Yiddish theater. An accomplished actress, Celia starred in many productions, including Sholom Aleichem's Stempenya, with Lazar Freed and Maurice Schwartz, produced by the Yiddish Art Theater in 1929. She also appeared with Paul Muni and Marlon Brando in A Flag is Born in 1946.

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Adler, Celia (1890–1979)

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