Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Wolfe Barzell


Born in September 1900 in Ozorkow, by Lodz, Poland. Grandson of the local rabbi R' Alexander Ziskind Lipshits. After his father's death, his mother married a Stashev rabbi R' Grobard (later Rabbi hkhll in Toronto), and his family moved over to Stashev, where he learned in cheders, with his stepfather, and other courses privately with a teacher. Very early he began to act with "amateurs" and performed as "Uriel mazik" in "God, Man and Devil" and "Trachtenberg" in "Chasia the Orphan".

During the First World War B. went to Vienna, where he entered into a dramatic school and became thereafter engaged to act in silent films with the famous actor Eisenbach.

In 1926 he returned to Poland, and with the family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, and soon from there he traveled to New York, where he studied in Mendl Elkin's dramatic school and participated in "Unzer theatre" ("Day and Night", "Der letster skh-hkhl" and "Shtekhik drot"), then in the same theatre with Rudolf Schildkraut ("Bronx Express" and "God of Vengeance"), and with Mark Schweid ("Toyt shtrof"). From there B. went over to the "Vilna Troupe" (149th Street) with Buloff, and traveled to Hollywod, where he became engaged to act in films, then in legitimate English theatre ("Relations", with Eddy Clark), with whom he toured with for a year across America and acted later in the same play for four months in New York, a year on Broadway in the play "Having a Wonderful Time", in the "Group" Theatre (in the role of

"Papa Briquet" in Andreyev's "Der vos krigt di petsh (He Who Gets Slapped)"), and, with Ethel Barrymore in "Embezzled Heavens" by Werfel.

In 1935 B. entered into the group in Yiddish that acted under the pseudonym "Tsu-lakh-es", and during the economic crisis, in 1936, in the "W. P. A." (as supervisor in the Yiddish department), where he participated with Bleich and Scooler in the Yiddish production of "Do kon es nit geshen" by Sinclair Lewis, and in a revue.

1938-39 -- B. became manager, with Yehuda Bleich, Michael Rosenberg and Dina Halpern of the "Second Avenue Theatre", and in 1939-41 of the "Hopkinson" Theatre. In the summer B. used to participate in Yiddish, in the Farband's "Unzer kemp", and in Camp "Boyberik". B. also participated in the production of "A Stone for Danny Fisher" in the National Theatre with Zero Mostel.

For the last number of years, B. has lived most of the time in Los Angeles and is a frequent guest on television, in English, where he acts in prominent roles in the programs "Playhouse 90", "Schlitz Playhouse", "Desilu Playhouse", "Unjited States Steel Hour", "Montgomery" and "Armstront".

B.'s brother, Meir Eizenberg, was a professional prompter in Yiddish theatres in Poland.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2324.

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