Born in 1893 in Kiev,
Ukraine, to semi-well-to-do parents, who moved over to
Warsaw. He learned in a cheder and yeshiva, and as a
child developed a great love for Yiddish theatre and
used to take off from home in order to be able to see
Yiddish theatre. At age fourteen, he left home,
migrating across various cities, was an errand boy,
learned for a short time with a clockmaker, but the lust
for theatre did not leave him until he was included at
first in a children's troupe, then in an itinerant
troupe as a buff comic. However, this did not make him
content because of his aim to act in serious roles.
Finally he became engaged to
act in serious, principal roles. He became known to a
young actress in the troupe, Rukhele Klein, married her
and had two children with her, but a cholera epidemic
killed his wife and his youngest child. He immigrated to
Constantinople and acted with a local Yiddish troupe,
then schlepped with his child to Paris and acted there
in Yiddish theatre for a single year.
In 1925 he arrived in
America, where he was engaged in Littman's "Peoples"
Theatre in Detroit, where he acted for two seasons. In
1927 he acted with a European-Yiddish troupe in Winnipeg
and then married the actress Malvina Samuilov. In 1928
he became manager of a vaudeville troupe in the "Amphion"
Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.