Vox Tablet

A Serious Mensch

Fyvush Finkel’s career, rooted in Yiddish theater, has lasted nearly eight decades. And he’s not planning on retirement anytime soon.

November 1, 2010
Fyvush Finkel, May 2010.(Rivka Katvan)

Fyvush Finkel, May 2010.(Rivka Katvan)

Fyvush Finkel made his stage debut nearly 80 years ago, when he was 9 years old, singing “O, Promise Me” at a theater in Brooklyn. Soon after, he crossed the East River to take roles in the legendary Yiddish theaters of Second Avenue. From there, he made his way onto Broadway and then into films by the likes of Sidney Lumet, Oliver Stone, and the Coen brothers. Finkel also had recurring roles on Picket Fences, for which he won an Emmy, and Boston Public.

Now he’s starring in Fyvush Finkel Live!, a musical revue that runs through November 7 in Manhattan. On his day off, Finkel regaled Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry with stories about the early days of Yiddish theater, his expedited entry into serial television, and the mesmerizing maggid of his neighborhood shul. And he sang for her, too. Running time: 14:22.

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Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

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