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Jewish Celebrities We Lost in 2015


The saddest part of the end of the year is remembering all of the great people who we lost. We have compiled a list of some of the most important Jewish figures who passed away in 2014. If you think that we left anyone out please let us know.

Please do not infer anything from the order as we assure you that it is completely random. As always, please hold all applause until the end.

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Sid Caesar 1922-2014

Caesar's Hour

Isaac Sidney “Sid” Caesar was born into a Jewish family in New York. One of the greatest comics of all time, he was also one of the pioneers of early television. His comedy variety shows – he had several over the years – set the standard and a very high bar for everyone who has followed. It is no exaggeration to say that there would not have been shows like Saturday Night Live if it were not for Caesar.

Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Norman Lear, Woddy Allen, Gary Marshall, Buck Henry and so many more got their start either working for Caesar or for someone who worked for Caesar.

These people gave us classic television shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Get Smart, Happy Days, All in the Family and more. And let’s not forget all the movies too.

Caesar died at home of February 12th at the age of 91.


Joan Rivers 1933 – 2014

joan rivers
Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky, in Brooklyn, Rivers was one of the funniest woman ever. She was taken from us suddenly and too soon due to what was probably medical malpractice. We are still too overwhelmed to properly discuss Rivers’ life here so we will leave that up to Sarah Silverman who eulogized her friend at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual women in entertainment breakfast earlier this month.

“Joan Rivers was not done, ” said Silverman. “At 81, she lived a life that could jam-pack ten lifetimes. She wasn’t the average person. She wasn’t done. She left us unfinished.”

“She once said she didn’t find her comedic voice until she was 70, ” Silverman reflected. “And I love that. The only thing that was going to stop Joan Rivers was death. Touche death, and fuck you very much. It kills me that she was never seen as the actress she was. I know that it meant something to her. This is a woman who was banned from the Tonight Show for the crime of getting her own show.”

Rivers died on August 28th at the age of 81.


Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

Lauren Bacall
Born Betty Joan Perske in the Bronx to Jewish parents, Bacall famously married her co-star from her first movie To Have and Have not, Humphrey Bogart. He was 25 years older than her and she was not even yet 20 years old when they first met.

Bacall, who was a cousin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, went on to one of the most memorable film careers in history.

She died of a stroke on August 12th at her home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, The Dakota.


Mike Nichols 1931-2014

38th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mike Nichols - Arrivals
Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin to the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant family and a German Jewish mother he was one of the only people to hit a grand slam of entertainment winning an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony.

Nichols directed 22 movies over a span of 40 years including Catch 22, Working Girl, Silkwood and his first film Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from 1966. His final movie was 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, but his most memorable was probably The Graduate from 1968 with Dustin Hoffman.

He was famously married to television journalist Diane Sawyer.

Nichols died of a heart attack on November 19th at the age of 83.


Harold Ramis 1944-2014

Director Harold Ramis / Getty
One of the original cast members of the cult classic first SCTV television series which was in syndication in the 1970s, Ramis later went on to star in and/or direct such hit films as Stripes, Ghostbusters, Analyze This, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. He was born into a Jewish family in Chicago.

He died on February 24th due to complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis at the age of 69.


Eli Wallach 1915-2014

Eli Wallach,   legendary star of stage and screen,   passes away at the age of  98/ Getty
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven, The Godfather Part III… there were just too many to list here. In all Wallach made 169 movie and television appearances in a career that spanned 58 years.

Eli Herschel Wallach died on June 24th of natural causes at the ripe young age of 98.


Tommy Ramone 1949-2014

Tommy Ramone / Getty
Born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Queens, he took the stage name Ramone along with his band mates in the famous 1970s punk band the Ramones. He was a music producer and a drummer for the band.

Ramone died on July 11th in his New York home after a long battle with bile duct cancer. He was 65.


David Brenner 1936-2014

FILE: Comedian David Brenner Dies At 78

One of America’s most prolific standup comics, Brenner was raised in a Jewish family in Philadelphia. He made his mark in multiple guest appearances on The Tonight Show. Brenner Also directed countless documentaries for TV and published several books.

Brenner died of cancer at his Manhattan home on March 15th at the age of 78.




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