Boris Thomashefsky (1868-1939), pictured here with actress Bertha Gersten, was a Ukrainian-born actor who became one of the biggest stars in Yiddish theatre; born in Tarashcha, a shtetl near Kiev, Ukraine, he emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 in 1991. A year later, barely a teenager, he was largely responsible for the first performance of Yiddish theatre in New York City and has been credited as the pioneer of Borsch Belt entertainment.

It is said that his first performance was as a female impersonator in the Manhattan Lyceum...Eventually he became an accomplished actor in musical comedies, farce and romantic pieces, but his great love was for the classics.

See a group photo of Thomashefsky with Chicago's Gartner's Theatrical Company in 1925 by clicking here.




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Boris Thomashefsky


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Text adapted from Wikipedia and the New York Times. Photo from the New York Public Library.

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