Vox Tablet

Fyvush Finkel: A Charming Conversation With a Longtime Serious Mensch

As the 91-year-old Yiddish theater star embarks on a Purim cabaret show, we revisit his appearance on Vox Tablet

March 3, 2014
Fyvush Finkel, 2010.(Rivka Katvan)
Fyvush Finkel, 2010.(Rivka Katvan)

Editor’s note: Fyvush Finkel died on August 14, 2016, at the age of 93. This interview was recorded in 2010.

Fyvush Finkel, 91 years old and still cracking wise, will take to the stage this month in a pair of Purim cabaret performances. Vox Tablet caught up with the legendary actor a few years ago, on the occasion of a different show. To celebrate his impressive vigor, good humor, and all-around affability, we revisit that conversation.

Finkel made his stage debut more than eight decades 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 famous Yiddish theaters of Second Ave. 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.

In this podcast from 2010, Finkel regales 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 sings for her, too.

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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