Molly Picon

About Molly Picon

Who is it?: Actress, Soundtrack
Birth Day: February 28, 1898
Birth Place:  New York City, New York, United States
Died On: April 5, 1992(1992-04-05) (aged 94)\nLancaster, Pennsylvania
Birth Sign: Pisces
Cause of death: Alzheimer's disease
Resting place: Mount Hebron Cemetery in New York City
Occupation: Actress
Years active: 1904–1984
Spouse(s): Jacob Kalich (1919–1975; his death)

Molly Picon Net Worth

Molly Picon was bornon February 28, 1898 in  New York City, New York, United States, is Actress, Soundtrack. The little "yente" with the big, expressive talent, New York-born Yiddish icon Molly Picon entertained theater, radio, TV and film audiences for over seven decades (from age 6) with her song-and-dance routines while helping to popularize the Yiddish culture into the American mainstream as well as overseas. Raised in Philadelphia, she was performing from age 5 but broke into the big time with a vaudeville act called "The Four Seasons" in 1919, eventually making a comedy name for herself in the Second Avenue Theatres on the Lower East Side back in New York. The indefatigable Picon was a real live wire and played very broad, confident, dominant characters on stage, which ended up making it hard for her to be taken seriously in dramatic pieces. In film she is best remembered for her Yiddish-language showcases of the 30s, notably in Yidl mitn fidl (1936) (1936), the story of a traveling musician who dresses as a boy to avoid unwarranted male advances. She was cast as a Yiddish Cinderella, a dutiful but unappreciated daughter who cares for her father and his large family, in Mamele (1938), the last Jewish film made in Poland. During one musical vignette, Picon portrays her character's grandmother in several stages of life. In the 1940s, Picon started to include English-speaking plays as well and as she grew into matronly roles, became synonymous as the typical well-meaning but overbearing and coddling "Jewish mama." Such amusing, unflappable film roles would be found in Come Blow Your Horn (1963) (1963) (as an interfering Italian mother) and Fiddler on the Roof (1971) (1971) as Yente the matchmaker. Her long association with husband and corroborator, Yiddish stage star Jacob Kalich, was a fruitful one. He became her mentor, the author of many of her popular plays and the manager of her career. Married in 1919, he died in 1975 but she continued performing albeit sporadically. Picon suffered from Alzheimer's disease in her later years and died at age 93. Vicariously known as the "Jewish Charlie Chaplin" and "Jewish Helen Hayes", she was a patriot and humanitarian at heart, with an energy, creativity and ability to entertain that couldn't help but make her one of entertainment's most beloved citizens.
Molly Picon is a member of Actress

💰 Net worth: Under Review

Some Molly Picon images

Biography/Timeline

1912

Picon was born as Małka Opiekun in New York City, the daughter of Polish Jewish emigrants: Clara (née Ostrow), a wardrobe mistress, and Louis Opiekun, a shirtmaker. Opiekun is a Polish language name meaning "guardian" or "caretaker". Her surname was later changed to Picon. Her career began at the age of six years in the Yiddish Theatre. In 1912, she debuted at the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia and became a star of the Yiddish Theater District, performing in plays in the District for seven years.

1920

Picon was so popular in the 1920s that many shows had her adopted name, Molly, in their title. In 1931, she opened the Molly Picon Theatre.

1923

She appeared in many films, starting with silent movies. Her earliest films were made in Europe; among the first was the Yiddish film East and West, made in Vienna in 1923, which is the earliest of her films that survives. The film depicts a clash of New and Old World Jewish cultures. She plays a U.S.-born daughter who travels with her father back to Galicia in East Central Europe. Her husband Jacob Kalich played one of her close relatives.

1934

In 1934, Picon had a musical comedy radio show, the Molly Picon Program, on WMCA in New York City. In 1938, Picon starred in I Give You My Life on the same station. That program "combined music and dramatic episodes that purported to be the story of her life." Two years later, she starred in Molly Picon's Parade, a variety show (also on W.M.C.A.).

1936

Picon's most famous film, Yidl Mitn Fidl (1936), was made on location in Poland and shows her wearing male clothing through most of the film. In the film, a girl and her father are forced by poverty to set out on the road as traveling Musicians. For her safety, she disguises herself as a boy, which becomes inconvenient when she falls in love with one of the other Musicians in the troupe. Later Mamele was made in Poland.

1940

Picon made her English language debut on stage in 1940. On Broadway, she starred in the Jerry Herman musical Milk and Honey in 1961. In 1966 she quit the disastrous Chu Chem during previews in Philadelphia; the show closed before reaching Broadway.

1948

She had a bit part in the 1948 film The Naked City as the woman running a news-stand and soda fountain towards the climax of the film. Her first major Anglophonic role in the movies was in the film version of Come Blow Your Horn (1963), with Frank Sinatra. She portrayed Yente the Matchmaker in the 1971 film adaptation of the Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof.

1959

On an ironic note, in 1959 she was featured on an episode of the NBC-TV series Startime. It was an adaptation of Samson Raphaelson's play The Jazz Singer starring Jerry Lewis, in which she played Lewis's mother, Sarah Rabinowitz. In one scene, Lewis says the line, referring to Picon as his mother, "She's still in our presence, ladies and gentlemen, the Matchmaker".

1962

Picon wrote a biography about her family called So Laugh a Little in 1962. Later, in 1980, she published an autobiography, Molly.

1974

In the comedy For Pete's Sake (1974), she played a madam ("Mrs. Cherry") who arranges a disastrous stint for Barbra Streisand on a job as a call girl. She later played a role on television on the soap opera Somerset and appeared in a couple of episodes of The Facts of Life as Natalie's grandmother. Her final roles were cameo appearances in the comedies Cannonball Run & Cannonball Run II as Roger Moore's mother.

1992

Picon died on April 6, 1992, aged 94, from Alzheimer's disease in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Yankel Kalich, her husband from 1919 until his death in 1975, died from cancer. They had no children. She and her husband are interred in the Yiddish Theater section of the Mount Hebron Cemetery in New York City. Also buried there is Ida Kaminska, who like Picon, operated her own Yiddish theatre.