Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Betty Simonoff


Betty was born on 31 January 1902 in New York, America. Her father was the actor Moshe Simonoff. She learned in public school. She worked for two years as a stenographer and afterwards graduated college at CUNY as a school teacher.

As a child she often would sing in concerts and during the Kishinev pogrom, she used to, during the collections for money she would go about, sing songs in the Yiddish theatre, asking "Give bread for the living?"

As a child she participated only in two plays, including a role in which she played the violin.

In 1916 she studied education, but after a time she changed her course of studies for two years, first on the recommendation of Joseph Rumshinsky, for three years taking lessons with the music pedagogue Laura Elliot, with Rhea? Silbert and Estelle Libling.

In the summer of 1925 she debuted as Betty Morris together with her father in a sketch called "The Cantor's Daughter" at the Second Avenue Theatre.

In 1926-27 she was engaged  in Detroit (Mgrs.: A. Littman and Louis Birnbaum), where she debuted, already under her own name, in the operetta "Kinder-libe."

 In 1927-28 she acted with Boris Thomashefsky in Philadelphia's Metropolitan Opera, and after that when the troupe disbanded, she went over to the local Arch Street Theatre.

In 1928-29 she was prima donna in New York's Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre (with Molly Picon).

In 1929-30 she was at the Rolland Theatre (with the Germans).

In 1930-31 she again was at the Rolland Theatre.

In 1931-32 she was at the Second Avenue Theatre (with Ola Lilith).

In 1932-33 she was at the Rolland Theatre (with Michal Michalesko).

In November 1929 S. participated in the Russian-English film "The Wedding on the Volga."

On 27 January 1931 she was accepted as a member of the Yiddish [Hebrew] Actor's Union.

S. also several times performed as "Shulamis" (first and third acts) in the [operetta form] of Sholom Secunda, and also the radio in New York in Goldfaden's operetta "The Sacrifice of Isaac," "Shulamis," "Bar kochba," and "Di bobe yakhne."

Sh. E.

  • Jacob Kirschenbaum -- Naye pn's'er oyf unzer bine, "Morning Journal," N. Y., 19 October 1928.

  • William Edlin -- A naye muzikalishe oyffirung fun der operete "shulamis," "Der tog," N. Y., 10 January 1930.

  • Chaim Ehrenreich -- Stsenes un bilder bay der frobe fun neye aktyoren, "Forward," N. Y., 30 January 1931.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1488.

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