Monday, April 27, 2009


In scanning through the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, I have encountered lists of almost every imaginable thing. One that I found intriguing was a list of famous people who are Jewish. While most on the list are people everybody knows are Jewish like Sammy Davis Jr. (but not Sammy Davis Sr.) or Golda Meir or Sen. Joe Lieberman. My focus is on people who are not so obvious. Many of the following are converts and others have one Jewish parent, and many may be non-observant, and some are deceased, but all are documented with footnotes on their Wikipedia sites.

This list is not intended to further the pernicious aims of anti-Semites who assert that Jews are attempting to control the world, but rather to illustrate that the Jews, a small minority, have pretty much assimilated in American society.

Campbell Brown, CNN anchor, Converted when she married Republican consultant, Daniel Senor.

Kate Capshaw, actress. Converted when she married moviemaker Steven Spielberg.

Nell Carter, singer, actress. Converted.

Connie Chung, news anchor. Converted when she married Maury Povich.

Jim Croce, singer, songwriter. Converted.

Soleil Moon Frye, actress (Punky Brewster).

Mary Hart, TV personality (Entertainment Tonight). Converted, married to producer Bert Sugarman.

Carolyn Jones, actress. (Addams Family). Converted.

Marilyn Monroe, actress. Converted when she married playwright Arthur Miller.

Elizabeth Taylor, actress. Converted when she married producer Michael Todd.

Ivanka Trump, TV personality and daughter of non-Jewish Donald Trump. Converting.

Ike Turner, singer and alleged former husband of Tina Turner. (He always asserted that they were not legally married.) Converted.

Jackie Wilson, R & B Singer. Converted.

Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer. Converted although father Edward Torres was Jewish.

Bob Dylan, singer, songwriter.

Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer.

Camille Pissarro, French Impressionist painter.

Saatchi & Saatchi, British advertising agency.

Vidal Sassoon, hair stylist.

Diego Velasquez, Spanish painter. Family was Jewish conversos during Inquisition.

Jamie Lee Curtis, actress. Daughter of Tony Curtis, f/k/a Bernard Schwartz.

Kate Hudson, actress. Daughter of actress Goldie Hawn.

Leonard Nimoy, actor. (Star Trek).

River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix, actors. Mother is Jewish.

Ayn Rand, f/k/a Alisa Rosenbaum, author.

Scarlett Johansson, actress. Mother is Jewish.

Jennifer Connelly, actress. Mother is Jewish and attended the Yeshiva.

Gwyneth Paltrow, actress. Father, Bruce Paltrow is Jewish.

Paula Abdul, actress and singer. Father, Harry Abdul is a Syrian Jew, raised in Brazil. Mother is also Jewish.

Patricia Arquette, actress. Mother is Jewish, Father is a convert to Islam.

Robert Downey Jr., actor. Father, Robert Sr., is half Jewish.

Daryl Hannah, actress.

Sean Penn, actor. An agnostic, although his father Leo Penn is Jewish.

Katie Couric, TV anchor. Mother is Jewish, but she was raised Presbyterian.

Harrison Ford, actor. Mother is Jewish.

Whoopi Goldberg, f/k/a Caryn Johnson, actress, comedian. Mother is Jewish.

Arlo Guthrie, folk singer and son of legendary Woody Guthrie. His Bar Mitzvah tutor was activist Rabbi Meir Kahane who founded the Jewish Defense League, moved to Israel, served in the Knesset there, and was later assassinated.

You may be dismayed to learn that Mel Gibson is not on the list, and I'm fairly certain that he is not Jewish. Nor is Sen. John Kerry, whose paternal grandparents from Austria, the Kohns, converted to Catholicism in 1901. Sen. Kerry's brother, Cameron, however, is Jewish.

Madonna is not Jewish although she is a serious student of Jewish Kabbalah and has donated large sums of money to build a Kabbalah school for children.

On the sports front, 3 players in last year's Baseball All-Star Game are Jewish. The American League featured Red Sox first baseman, Kevin Youkilis and Rangers second baseman, Ian Kinsler. The National League had Brewers' outfielder Ryan Braun. In football, the Chicago Bears have at least two, new quarterback Jay Cutler and kicker Robbie Gould.

That's enough information overload for today!

KENNETH SUSKIN P.S. I apologize--I confused Jay Cutler with another quarterback, Jay Fiedler who is Jewish. Also, despite her periodic remarks that she is half Jewish and half Catholic, Whoopi Goldberg is NOT Jewish. She took the name Goldberg, claiming that her mother was Jewish--her grandmother's name was Rachel Freedman, which sounds like a Jewish name, but in fact is not.



Blogger Barbara said...

i had no idea some of these people were Jewish. learn something new each day

March 13, 2010 at 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


January 10, 2011 at 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thers nothin wrong of being jewish ,but the human being inside YOu determines WHO U REALLY ARE.

January 10, 2011 at 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas Jefferson is Jewish via DNA.
Kenneth Vivian Thimann is part Jewish due to his Jewish father Israel Felix Thimann (Israel became a Christian before Kenneth was born.)
Frederick Madison Roberts is Jewish by Jefferson's DNA.

April 12, 2011 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always just assume everybody who is famous is jewish, and feign surprise when i find out they're not...

July 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack Webb of Dragnet is part Jewish. His father was Jewish, his mother was Irish-Native American.

January 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger evan said...

Cutler is not Jewish, he seems totally goyish, and his middle name is Christopher.(not that it matters)
Why are so many of us Jews hung up on who's Jewish or not?
I understand it is a great source of pride for our small minority being leaders in every field,- we've done it and we continue to do it, so you can relax and have a nosh.

March 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas Jefferson isnt Jewish, his mothers maiden name was Randal, but fast forward in the family tree to the 1960's when his great great grand daughter or neice married a Jewish man, and yes, his off spring is Jewish.

March 31, 2012 at 6:50 AM  
Anonymous Addrienne Gusoff said...

Whoopi Goldberg is not Jewish. Not at all. No Jewish blood anywhere. (She sometimes says her mother is Jewish, but that's just wishful thinking on her part)

And these converts to Judaism...they may be PRACTICING Jews, but they are not culturally or genetically Jewish. It's not as if Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor grew up speaking Yiddish at home!

-Adrienne Gusoff
author of Dirty Yiddish Slang, which you should buy immediately because it's really funny!

January 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger kenneth suskin said...

I couldn't verify that Jay Cutler is Jewish, and I apparently confused him with another quarterback Jay Fiedler who is Jewish.

Regarding Whoopi Goldberg, when she took the name "Goldberg" she claimed to be half Jewish and half Catholic. Her grandmother's name was Rachel Freedman; she was Black, but not Jewish. Apparently Wikipedia corrected its entry also.

January 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addrienne Gussoff,

Jewish is not an ethnicity. Judaism is a religion. There are black, white, and brown Jews. They are not an ethnicity. Judaism is a RELIGION that CLAIMS to be a race. It doesn't make it true.

Moreover, most Jews (Ashkenazis) are not even related to the Ancient Israelite Hebrews. They CONVERTED to Judaism in the 8th Century in Khazaria, Eastern Europe.

So 90% of all Jews are "converts".

February 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addrienne! Judaism is a religion - nothing to do with race
(but to anonymous, there is not much evidence that most Ashkenazim came from the Khazars - the Khazars were a very small group, they joined the Ashkenazim but are not the whole of them)

September 12, 2013 at 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no famost holywood actors who are not jewish!!! Few Exceptions are clint eastwood, arnold schwarzeneger and some others, who helped to earn the fortune for their empire. And that is the fact.

December 30, 2013 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Half of these people are not Jewish in reality.

It is ridiculous to call all quarter or half Jewish person as Jewish.

Most of them are just White, they can be taken Jewish only if they follow Judaism.
Simply acknowledging their quarter/half Jewish ancestry won't make them Jewish.

January 14, 2014 at 2:25 PM  

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