[He] was among the actors' group that, in circa 1882, Boris Thomashefsky
was brought to America from London (with the boarding
card of Frank Wolf), where he may
have acted in Yiddish theatre (in the role of "Alikum" in
Goldfaden's "Di kishufmakherin"( with the Golubok
brothers he had participated in the first
Yiddish productions in New York. After the failure
of the production, S. became a cigar worker.)
In 1889 Pinchas Thomashefsky
brought him in as an attraction to Philadelphia, where
S. performed as "Hotzmach" in Goldfaden's "Di
Later he acted in comical
character roles in Cleveland.
S.'s wife and children, Leah
and Sofia, also acted on the Yiddish stage.
B. Thomashefsky recalls:
"Simon was a lad from
Warsaw. From the Warsaw blessed young, [he was] a tall person,
[with] a strong, slender figure, with a little,
nozzle, which he had very beautifully adopted. Simon is
by nature a quiet, peaceful person, a read person. His
entire posture was aristocratic. Whoever has not seen
Simon on the stage might think that he is a younger man,
a merchant or a hometown doctor or a lawyer. He had the
face of an actor in him, not staged. Simon had, however, made attempts to
character act, and he became an entirely other
person. His face first became ridiculous, playful, and
assumed the form of the character, who he needed to
portray. Simon was then the quiet, peaceful character
actor, and he sung with a lovely tenor voice and sang as
a musician and had a big, but in fact, a very great
success in New York.
Simon first performed in New
York as "Hotzmach" in Goldfaden's "Koldunya". I can say
that Simon created the best "Hotzmach" of all the
Hotzmachs who I had known in my theatrical career.
...Simon, a Jewish actor from many years back, had
understood that for Hotzmach he was able to create a
living human being, a character, not a crazy person. A
Jew, a noble peddler, who was the provider for his wife
with eighteen children, as Hotzmach expressed himself.
He used to, as "Hotzmach", in the trade scene, making a
sigh each time after shrinking a customer by his wisdom
and will. One was able to se that Hotzmach does it with
heart, that he, due to earning income he was forced to
deceive a customer.
Simon acted together with us
a second year and became lost. Later we had erfarn
with him, that Simon had married and taken a very
beautiful wife, a great singer, and went somewhere far
away to a western town. They were away for many years
and Simon wasn't seen. I had heard that he acted
somewhere in the province when at the People's Theatre
there was brought out the first Jewish theatre strike
and myself and Adler and Edelstein had begun to search
for Jewish artists -- there were among the arriving
member artists, as well was Simon, with his wife, Madame
Simon, a prima donna. However no longer the younger
Simon of the time, with a whitened snow-covered head,
white as a dove, Bakn incurred and he looked like
a poor reverend or a priest from a small town,
distinguished...acting then with us in Lateiner's "400
Years". ...I had given to Simon the role to play of an
old cardinal. Simon performed in the People's Theatre,
and I did not recognize him. It already wasn't the
Simon, who I had known and about whom I used to speak
with excitement. Simon had dressed himself badly, held
himself badly, badly made himself up, and even acted
badly. ... The strike had ended in the meantime with a
victory by the union actors, and Mr. and Mrs. Simon went
away from New York and completely gave up the stage.
...They had settled in Cleveland, where they led a
beautiful and comfortable life. Their daughters were
happily married, the father-in-laws were rich and
maintained the Simons with great dignity. The Simon's
son is a violin player, who gave concerts and made a lot
of money. Once, once he saw pictures on large posters
[advertisements] hanging in the Cleveland window: "Mr.
and Mrs. Simon are performing a production for charity.
Both long still today over the lost years. Simon still
for the old "Hotzmach", and his wife for Goldfaden's "Shulamis"..."
B. Gorin -- "History
of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 17, 24.
shriftn", N. Y., 1909.
-- "Mayn lebens-geshikhte", N. Y., 1916, p. 96.
Boris Thomashefsky --
An amoliger idisher aktor, vos hot haynt groyse
gesheften oyf brodvay, "Forward", N. Y., 1 September