Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Muriel Gruber

Muriel (Mirele/Merele) was born on 24 October 1917 in Philadelphia, America. Her father was Yehoshua (Josh) Gruber, manager of a local Yiddish theatre. Her mother was a German Christian, born in America, who had later converted to Judaism.

Muriel received a stereotypical American education.

Having been raised in a "theatre atmosphere", she began her acting career on 11 February 1926 at the Arch Street Theatre [in Philadelphia] with Mae Simon and Hymie Jacobson in a children's role and, already a child-player, attended school while at the same time learning Yiddish through a teacher, and who received encouragement from her mother who 'had good English'. She wrote Yiddish and developed an interest in Yiddish culture.

At the age of sixteen she quit school and went off to Philadelphia where she acted in a troupe there for two seasons with Berta Gerstin and was engaged in 1934 to play in New York with Jennie Goldstein and Samuel Goldenburg. Because of it, she ascended to become a member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

In 1936 Muriel married to actor Leo Fuchs (with whom she divorced in 1941), and with him traveled around Poland in 1937, where she acted in many towns.


In 1942 she performed as "Jennie Sterling" in Israel Rosenberg's piece "Der khtn hot khrth(?)" at the Parkway Theatre. During the 1943 season she acted in Maurice Schwartz's [Yiddish] Art Theatre (role of "Teresa" in I.J. Singer's "The Family Carnovsky"). In 1944 she acted at the Folks Theatre, directed by Jacob Ben-Ami, in Leivick's "Der ns(?) fun getto" and Peretz Miransky's "Mir veln lebn" (role of "Frida"). In January 1945 she acted with Ben-Ami  as "Freydenil" in Gordin's "God, Man and Devil". During season 1945-6 again [she joined] the Yiddish Art Theatre (role of "The Martyred Bride" [Roselein]) in Peretz's "The Three Gifts", and as "Julia Hertzl" in the piece "Dr. Herzl".

Muriel married public accountant Ezra Shein, left the stage and dedicated herself to the Yiddish radio, where she had many times the chief role during the "Forward Hour", in dramatic romances, and also had the program "Tshfridene balebostes".

Muriel performed the role of "Lily" in the film "Shir hasharim" with Samuel Goldenburg, whom she regarded as her teacher in the dramatic arts.

Muriel had, in 1956, earned a B.A. in Psychology at N.Y.U., and in 1957 an M.A. in Literature, preparing her dissertation as a Doctor of Literature.

Sh. E.

Gershon Einbinder [Chaver-Paver] -- The Young Actress Mirele Gruber -- A Product of the Yiddish Stage in America, "M"F", N.Y., 24 September 1945.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2267.

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