Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Liza Shapiro

Was a popular actress in the Yiddish vaudeville houses in America. She was the wife of the actor Morris Shapiro. Due to a complex love affair, she was shot on 15 December 1901 in New York by Herman Klatzko, and remained lying ill for more than three months, passing away in Philadelphia on 4 March 1910.

"Di varhayt (The Truth)" writes about her death:

"Max Goldberg, a dresser (theatre tailor) in the People's Theatre, and Liza Shapiro, a music hall actress, was shot earlier today by Hyman Klatzko. The cause of the shooting was jealousy. The tragedy had occurred within the hall of the large tenement house at 107 Forsythe Street, corner of Broome Street, where Mrs. Shapiro had lived. Klatzko had hidden himself under the steps. He shot six times, four bullets hitting Goldberg, one bullet Mrs. Shapiro. The sixth bullet smashed the glass door. Mrs. Shapiro fell to the ground. Goldberg with his last bit of strength managed to run and fell onto the sidewalk The murderer cold-bloodedly smoked a cigarette and left, slowing going off to Grand Street. On the way he tossed away the revolver into the cellar of 99 Forsythe Street. The police soon found him and took him away to the Eldridge Street police station. The two who where shot were taken away to Governor Hospital. Mrs. Shapiro had a husband, Morris Shapiro, also a music-hall actor. They both had a six-year-old girl. A few years earlier he had become ill from insomnia and had to go away to Colorado. The first time his wife sent him money to live on and cure himself. Later, however, she forgot about him. He had received a letter from a friend in New York,


stating that his wife was living with Klatzko. He thereof wrote a letter to her with a plea and wailed that she shouldn't do it, not for him but for the sake of their child. It didn't help. Sometime later she farfirt a love with Goldberg. Klatzko was a jealous person and she gestrashet.

Goldberg, who had lived on 225 South 4th Street in Brooklyn, was around forty years old. He had a wife, but small children. Mrs. Shapiro's husband is now in Chicago. They telephoned him about the tragedy. A couple of days later the hospital issued a report that Mrs. Shapiro is almost entirely paralyzed.

According to N.B. Linder, in an article sixteen hears after her death, about her death, that:

"Klatzko had found Goldberg, together with Mrs. Shapiro, in  the dark corridor of his, Klatzko's apartment, took them on and killed both of them" (This is not the case. Goldberg later passed away, and Mrs. Shapiro -- a short year later). Klatzko spent more than fifteen years settled in Sing Sing, and Linder, who had seen him after his liberation, wrote about him: "He is a man who has had many interesting experiences in his life, with an interesting look at life."

S. passed away in difficult economic conditions, so that the dresser (theatre tailor) Groper, and the actor Kanner, took up a money collection for her, which took in one hundred and twenty four dollars, which covered the expenses of a funeral and gravestone.

Sh.E. from Jacob Tikman.

  • [--] -- A bine tragedye oyf der gas, "Di varhayt," N.Y., 15 Dec. 1909.

  • [--] -- Di tragedye fun maks goldberg, thomashevsky's dreser un mrs. shapiro, a vareyeti aktrise, "Di yidishe bine," N.Y., 17 Dec. 1909.

  • N.B. Linder -- Shmues mit'n bafreyten yidishen "kniaz," vos hot amol dermordet tsvey mentshn fun yidisher teater velt, "Tog," N.Y., 22 June 1925.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5681.

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