G. was born on 18 October
1889 in Iva (Ivye), Vilna Gubernia, Polish Lithuania. His
grandfather was the shokhet (ritual slaughterer) for the shtetl; his
father was a businessman.
He learned in a cheder and
also a little Hebrew in Russia.
On 5 January 1902
G. came to his family in America, and entered into a
school. At the age of fifteen he went into a shop, where
he worked for three years.
Listening at times during a
concert to declamations, he lacked it in him as such,
that he taught it to himself by heart and recited it at
each opportunity. A member of the "Progressive Dramatic
Club" he leygn him to join them. However he
entered into the "Literary Dramatic Club", which also performed plays such
as "Shma Yisrael", "Nebulah" and Heyerman's "Di geto
(The Ghetto)", which were not for professional theatres.
In 1910 he went into the "Progressive Dramatic Club",
which also performed in Yiddish
Hauptmann's and Zudermann's plays. The entire time
that he acted with the "amateurs" of both clubs, he
worked in a shop.
In 1915 G. became a member
of the Yiddish Actors Union, acting then for two years
with Gabel, and one year with Schwartz, being one of the
first to be associated with the "Nayer idisher teater
(New Yiddish Theatre)" (Schnitzer, Ben-Ami), he acted
went back to the Yiddish Art Theatre where he acted
for two years, later traveling around across
Rumania and the province.
In 1924 he was
co-director of the Yiddish theatre in Montreal,
In 1925 he was
the director of the Hopkinson Theatre in
Brownsville, together with Misha German, .
In 1926 he acted in
Ben-Ami's Art Theatre.
From 1927-9 he was
with the Yiddish Art Theatre, with a small break
in order to act on the English stage (a comedy
G. was one of the
talent-filled Yiddish actors with a serious
relation with better theatre.
His best roles
include: "Der zeyde (the grandfather)" in "Dem
shmids tekhter (The Blacksmith's Daughters)" and
"Nota kbrn" in "A farvorfen vinkl (A Far-Away
Corner)" by Peretz Hirshbein; "Der kbrn" in
Pinski's "Der oytser (The Treasure)", "Der
horbater" in Jonah Rosenfeld's "Konkurentn
(Competitors)", "Der mluh" in Sholem Aleichem's
"Di goldgreber (The Gold Diggers)", "Kapitan" in
Evreinov's "Di shif mit tsikdim (The Ship of
Saints)", "Mr. Green" in Chone Gottesfeld's "Amerikaner
khasidim (American Chasidim)" and "Mendl" in
Sholem Asch's "Kiddush Hashem".
On 28 July 1929, G.
who had been for ill for a short time, passed away in
New York and came to his eternal rest in the
Yiddish Theatrical Alliance burial plot.
Uriel Mazik --
Bilder-galeree fun unzere idishe shoyshpiler,
"Der tog", N. Y., 20 April 1918.
B. Botwinik -- Yunge talanten oyf der idisher
bine, "Forward", 16 November 1918.
Yekhiel Goldsmith -- Oykh un dos publikum, "Der
tog", N. Y., 20 April 1928.
M. Osherowitz -- Yekhiel Goldsmith -- Der
shoyshpiler in der mensh, "Forward", 3 July
A. Glantz -- Yekhiel Goldsmith, "Der tog", N.
Y., 31 July 1929.
[--] -- Idishe aktyoren heren nit oyf tsu reden
vegen dem yung-farshtorbenem yekhiel goldsmith,
"Forward", 2 August 1929.
Chaim Ehrenriech -- Aktyoren un aktrises, velkhe
velen dem yor felen in di nyu yorker teaters,
"Forward", 11 October 1929.