Sunday, September 21, 2008

Everyone Loved Molly

Molly Picon, with her geneyvishe oygen (mischievous eyes)

I love this photo of the late, great doyenne of the Yiddish theater, Molly Picon.

Often referred to as the Jewish Helen Hayes, this diminutive actress left her mark on the world.

She was born Margaret Pyekoon on Broome Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on February 28, 1898.

In 1903, Clara [Molly's mother] took five-year-old Margaret, dressed in red and sporting an elegant fake-fur muff, to the Bijou Theater for a contest. A drunk on the trolley demanded that she do her act then and there. She consented, concluding with an imitation of the drunk himself. Impressed, he collected pennies for her from the other passengers. At the contest, she would add to them the first-prize five-dollar gold piece and the loose change that her first legitimate audience had spontaneously tossed onstage. Margaret/Molly Picon had begun her theatrical career...


Danny said...

I LOVE Molly Picon! Not only in her later work in English including "Come Blow Your Horn" and "Fiddler on the Roof," but also her early Yiddish films such as "Yidl mit n'Fiddle." What a great movie that is! Did you ever get to see Picon on the stage?

torontopearl said...

I've seen one or two of her Yiddish films, but never saw her on stage.
Her life story is quite fascinating and it's nice that she was held in such high esteem by Helen Hayes and vice versa.