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Shifra Lerer (Shifra Lerer)

Shifra Lerer

Actress. Out of an almost 90 year career she will be remembered as a stalwart of the Yiddish Theater as well as a Jewish grandmother in Broadway and Hollywood productions. The daughter of Russian immigrants to the Pampas of Argentina she broke into show business at five when a touring Yiddish troup need a child for performances in Buenos Aires. Lerer studied violin and theater at a local conservatory and in 1943 traveled to New York for a production at Brooklyn’s Parkway Theater. Electing to remain in America she performed in vaudeville revues while waiting to get into the Hebrew Actors Union, a difficult task at the time, and made her silver screen bow as Frieda 1950’s “God, Man and Devil”, a film adaptation of a Yiddish play. Over the years she appeared in countless productions, earning high marks for singing, comedy, and drama and garnering two Goldies, a sort-of Yiddish Tony; she received a Best Actress award in 1986 and in 1989 was honored with the Zhitovsky Prize for lifetime achievement. Lerer was acclaimed in Broadway’s 1990 “Those Were the Days” as well as in some Hollywood features including the 1992 “A Stranger Among Us”, Barry Levinson’s 1996 “Avalon” and Woody Allen’s 1997 “Deconstructing Harry”; in 1996 she even made an exercise video as a “Jewish answer to Jane Fonda”. She outlived both of her husbands, remained active into her 90s, and died from a stroke. (bio by: Bob Hufford)


  • August, 15, 1915
  • Argentina


  • March, 03, 2011
  • USA


  • Mount Hebron Cemetery
  • USA

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