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Famous Jews

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The following is an list of famous Jews, in alphabetical order, notable followers of Judaism (either from birth or following conversion) or people who professed a Jewish cultural identity. The list includes people who distinguished themselves in the fields of religious scholarship, science, politics, literature, business, art, entertainment and sport amongst others.

Most of the names link to Wikipedia articles with more information. For people whose fame has to do with their Judaism, there may be an article on this Judaism Wikia as well, in which case, the link will go to the local article.


  • Paula Abdul (born 1962) American singer.
  • Harold Abrahams (1899-1978) British athlete, Olympic gold medal winner whose story is featured in the 1981 movie Chariots of Fire.
  • Jason Alexander (born 1959) American actor, comedian and singer.
  • Woody Allen (born 1935) American actor, comedian and movie director.
  • Herb Alpert (born 1935) American trumpetist, vocalist and recording industry executive.
  • Simon Amstell (born 1979) British comedian, TV presenter, actor and screenwriter.
  • Adam Arkin (born 1956) American TV, film and stage actor and director, son of Alan Arkin.
  • Alan Arkin (born 1934) American actor.
  • Tom Arnold (born 1959) American actor and comedian, converted to Judaism in 1990.
  • Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) American professor of biochemistry, author of science-fiction, fantasy, mysteries and non-fiction books on science, history, Shakespeare and the Bible. Born in Petrovichi, Russia.
  • Hank Azaria (born 1964) American actor, voice of many characters on The Simpsons.


  • David Baddiel (born 1964) British comedian, novelist and television presenter.
  • Sacha Baron-Cohen (born 1971) British actor and comedian whose characters include Ali G, Bruno and Borat.
  • Max Baer (1909-1959) American heavyweight boxing champion who wore a Star of David on his boxing shorts when in the ring.
  • Ralph Bakshi (born 1938) American animator and film director. Born in Haifa, Israel.
  • Roseanne Barr (born 1952) American actress, comedienne, writer, TV producer and diirector.
  • Lionel Bart (1930-1999) British composer of pop music and musicals, wrote the musical Oliver!
  • Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (born 1947) American musician.

Irving Berlin.

  • Saul Bellow (1915-2005) Canadian-born author.
  • Henri Bergson (1859-1941) Famous French philosopher.
  • Milton Berle (1908-2002) American comedian and actor.
  • Irving Berlin (1888-1989) American composer and lyricist, one of the most famous and prodigious songwriters in history. Ironically, his compositions included "White Christmas" and "Easter Parade".

Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet in the 1880s.

Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter.


Fanny Brice.

  • Fanny Brice (1891-1951) American comedienne, singer, radio, film and theater actress..
  • Matthew Broderick (born 1962) American stage and film actor.
  • Adrien Brody (born 1973) American actor.
  • Elkie Brooks (born 1945) British singer.
  • Mel Brooks (born 1926) American comedy actor, director and film producer.
  • George Burns (1896-1996) American comedian, actor and writer whose career spanned seven decades
  • Red Buttons (1919-2006) American comedian and actor.


Chagall France 1921

Marc Chagall.

  • James Caan (born 1940) American actor.
  • Sid Caesar (1922-2014) American comic actor and writer.
  • Eddie Cantor (1892-1964) American comedian, actor, singer and songwriter.
  • Al Capp (1909-1979) American cartoonist, creator of the Li'l Abner comic strip.
  • Nell Carter (1948-2003) American actress and singer, converted to Judaism in 1982.
  • Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Russian-French artist.
  • Sir Ernst Chain (1906-1979) British scientist, Nobel Prize winner in 1945, co-developer of penicillin. Born in Berlin, Germany.

Noam Chomsky.

Edwina currie nightingale house cropped

Edwina Currie.

  • Noam Chomsky (born 1928) American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and political activist.
  • Alma Cogan (1932-1966) British pop singer.
  • Leonard Cohen (born 1934) Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist.
  • Dame Joan Collins (born 1933) British actress.
  • David Copperfield (born 1956) American illusionist/magician.
  • Billy Crystal (born 1948) American comedian, actor, writer, producer and director.
  • Edwina Currie (born 1946) British novelist and broadcaster, former Member of Parliament and Junior Health Minister.
  • Jamie Lee Curtis (born 1958) Golden Globe-winning American film actress, successful writer of books for children.
  • Tony Curtis (1925-2010) American actor.



Sammy Davis, Jr.



Albert Einstein.

  • Albert Einstein (1879 -1955) American physicist, Nobel Prize winner, Zionist. Born in Ulm, Germany.
  • Ray Ellington (1916-1985) British jazz musician.
  • Harlan Ellison (born 1934) American writer, chiefly of science fiction.
  • Ben Elton (born 1959) British comedian, author, playwright and television director.
  • Rahm Emanuel (born 1959) US House Representative, White House Chief of Staff, incumbent Mayor of Chicago.



Peter Falk.

  • Peter Falk (1927-2011) American actor, best known for playing Lieutenant Columbo on television.
  • Oded Fehr (born 1970): Israeli/American actor, best known for his movie work in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, and the popular TV show Covert Affairs.
  • Marty Feldman (1934-1982) British comedian, comedy writer and actor.
  • Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist and text book writer.
  • Larry Fine (1902-1975) American comedian, one of seven performers who at various times formed part of The Three Stooges.
  • Eddie Fisher (1928 2010) American entertainer.

Anne Frank is depicted on this German postage stamp from 2007.

  • Bud Flanagan (1896-1968) British comedian and singer, at the height of his popularity during World War II.
  • Max Fleischer (1883-1972) American animator, creator of Koko the Klown and Betty Boop, maker of the first animated Popeye cartoons. Born in Krakow, Poland.
  • Harrison Ford (born 1942) American actor.
  • Anne Frank (1929-1945) Dutch teenage Holocaust victim and diarist.
  • Sir Clement Freud (1924-2009) British politician, writer, broadcaster and chef.
  • Lucian Freud (1922-2011) British artist.
  • Sigmund Freud (1885-1939) Austrian physician, the father of psychoanalysis.
  • Debbie Friedman (1951-2011) American musician.
  • Stephen Fry (born 1957) British comedian, TV presenter, actor, author and film director.



Serge Gainsbourg.

George Gershwin 1937

George Gershwin.

30in39 road trip

A statue of Hank Greenberg.

  • Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) French singer-songwriter, actor and director.
  • Art Garfunkel (born 1941) American musician.
  • Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942) Polish songwriter and Holocaust victim.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (born 1977) American actress and producer, best known for playing the title role in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
  • Uri Geller (born 1946) Israeli who claims to have supernatural psychic abilities.
  • George Gershwin (1898-1937) American composer and pianist.
  • Melissa Gilbert (born 1964) American actress, writer and producer. Starred in Little House on the Prairie as a child actress.
  • Jeff Goldblum (born 1952) American actor.
  • Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974) American film producer and movie industry executive. Born in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Elliot Gould (born 1938) American actor.
  • Seth Green (born 1974) American actor, comedian and television producer.
  • Lew Grade, Baron Grade (1906-1998) British media proprietor and impresario, founder of ITC Entertainment, commissioned The Muppet Show in 1976. Born in Tokmak, Ukraine.
  • Michael Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth (born 1943) British TV executive and businessman, Controller of BBC1 from 1984 to 1986 (during which time he cancelled Doctor Who), Chairman of the BBC from 2004 to 2006.
  • Norman Greenbaum (born 1942) American singer-songwriter, best known for his song "Spirit in the Sky".
  • Hank Greenberg (1911-1986) American professional baseball player.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal (born 1980) American actor.


Goldie Hawn cropped

Goldie Hawn.

  • Goldie Hawn (born 1945) American actress, film director and producer.
  • Joseph Heller (1923-1999) American novelist, author of Catch 22.
  • Dustin Hoffman (born 1937) American actor, two time Academy Award winner.
  • Anthony Horowitz (born 1956) British novelist and screenwriter, creator of Alex Rider.

Harry Houdini.

  • Harry Houdini (1874-1926) American magician, escapologist and debunker of the supposedly supernatural. Born in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Curly Howard (1903-1952) American comedian, one of seven performers who at various times formed part of The Three Stooges.
  • Leslie Howard (1893-1943) British actor, played Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind. Died a heroic death in a plane crash as an agent of the British government.
  • Moe Howard (1897-1975) American comedian, one of seven performers who at various times formed part of The Three Stooges.
  • Shemp Howard (1895-1955) American comedian, one of seven performers who at various times formed part of The Three Stooges.
  • Sarah Hughes (born 1985) American figure-skater, Olympic gold-medalist.
  • Edmund Husserl (1859-1938) German philosopher.



Jason Isaacs.

  • Jason Isaacs (born 1963) British actor, best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies.



Al Jolson.

  • Sid James (1913-1976) British comedy actor. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Billy Joel (born 1949) American pianist, singer-songwriter and classical composer.
  • Scarlett Johansson (born 1984) American actress and singer.
  • Al Jolson (1886-1950) American singer, comedian and actor, star of the 1927 film, The Jazz Singer. Born in Seredzius, Lithuania.
  • Alberto Jori (born 1965) Italian philosopher.
  • Lesley Joseph (born 1945) British actress, best known in Britain for playing the Jewish character Dorien Green in the BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather.



Franz Kafka.

Danny Kaye portrait

Danny Kaye.

  • Franz Kafka (1883 -1924) Czech author who wrote in German.
  • Bob Kane (1915-1998) American comic book artist and writer, creator of Batman.
  • Danny Kaye (1913-1987) American comedian, actor and singer.
  • Miriam Karlin (1925-2011) British actress, starred as the Jewish ghost Mrs. Yetta Feldman in the BBC sitcom [[wikipedia:So Haunt Me|So Haunt Me].
  • Harvey Keitel (born 1939) American actor.
  • Judith Kerr (born 1923) British children's author, best known for the 1968 picture book The Tiger who Came to Tea and seventeen books about the cat Mog. Born in Berlin, Germany.
  • Larry King (born 1933) American TV and radio host.
  • Henry Kissinger (born 1923) German-born former U.S. Secretary of State.
  • Calvin Klein (born 1942) American fashion designer.
  • Aaron Klug (born 1926) British scientist, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Born in Zelva, Lithuania.
Walter Koenig Star Trek

Waler Koenig as Ensign Chekov.

  • Ezra Koenig (born 1984) American musician, singer, and songwriter, lead singer and guitarist of the indie rock band Vampire Weekend .
  • Walter Koenig (born 1936) American actor, director and teacher, best known for playing Ensign Chekov in Star Trek.
  • Arthur Koestler (1905-1983) Hungarian-born novelist and essayist who wrote in Hungarian, German and English.
  • Robert Kraft (born 1941) American businessman, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, owner of the New England Patriots NFL team and the New England Revolutuion MLS team.
  • Lisa Kudrow (born 1963) American actress, best known for playing Phoebe in the sitcom Friends.
  • Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993) American cartoonist, founding editor of Mad magazine.



Nigella Lawson.


Stan Lee.

Jerry Lewis 1973

Jerry Lewis.

  • Shia LaBeouf (born 1986) American movie actor.
  • Michael Landon (1936-1991) American actor, writer, director and producer.
  • Ralph Lauren (born 1939) American fashion designer and business executive.
  • Nigel Lawson (born 1932) British politician, former Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • Nigella Lawson (born 1960) British food writer and TV chef.
  • Stan Lee (born 1922) American comic book writer, editor and publisher, co-creator of Spider-Man.
  • Mike Leigh (born 1943) British writer, film and theater director.
  • Logan Lerman (born 1992) American actor
  • Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-2009) French anthropologist and ethnologist.
  • Uriah P. Levy (1792-1862) (War of 1812) First Jewish U.S. Admiral, ended the practice of flogging, bought, restored and gave Montecello (Jefferson's home) as a gift to the American people. The first Jewish Chapel at the United States Naval Academy was named for him.
  • Jerry Lewis (born 1926) American comedian, actor, singer, film producer and director.
  • Maureen Lipman (born 1946) British actress, best known in Britain for playing "Jewish Mother" Beatie in a series of commercials for British Telecom.
  • Roger Lloyd-Pack (1944-2014) British actor, best known for his roles in the sitcoms Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar of Dibley and the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
  • Jon Lovitz (born 1957) American actor, comedian and singer. The first person to play Hanukkah Harry.
  • Matt Lucas (born 1974) British actor, comedian and screenwriter.





The four Marx Brothers in 1931.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx.


Golda Meir.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband.

  • Golda Meir (1898-1978) One of the founders and a prime minister of Israel.
  • Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) American-born violinist and conductor.
  • Don Messick (1926-1997) American voice actor, the voice of Scooby-Doo, Papa Smurf and many other cartoon characters.
  • Debra Messing (born 1968) American actress, best known for playing Grace Adler in Will and Grace.
  • Bette Midler (born 1945) American singer, actress and comedienne.
  • George Mikes (1912 -1987) Hungarian-born British author, famous for his humorous commentaries on various countries.
  • Ed Miliband (born 1969) British politician, leader of the Labour Party.
  • Arthur Miller (1915-2003) Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright and essayist.
  • Jonathan Miller (born 1934) British humorist, theater and opera director, famous intellectual.
  • Ephraim Mirvis (born 1956) South African-born rabbi and Talmudic scholar, Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1985 to 1992. Chief Rabbi of the Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 2013.
  • Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) American actress, model and singer. Converted to Judaism in 1956.
  • Warren Mitchell (born 1926) British actor, played the lead role in the BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, which was adapted in the U.S. as All in the Family.
  • Isaac Mizrahi (born 1961) American fashion designer.
  • Patrick Modiano (born 1945) French novelist, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • Zero Mostel (1915-1977) American actor, originated the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.
  • Paul Muni (1895-1967) Austrian-born American actor. Started in Yiddish theater and became famous as a movie actor.
  • Bess Myerson (1924-2014) American model, television personality and political activist whose career became overshadowed by scandal in the 1980s. She became the first Jewish Miss America in 1945.



Joshua Norton.

  • Julia Neuberger, Baroness Neuberger (born 1950) British rabbi and social reformer.
  • Anthony Newley (1931-1999) British singer, songwriter and actor.
  • Paul Newman (1925-2008) American actor, director, racing driver and co-founder of Newman's Own foods. His father and family on his father's side were Jewish (from Poland and Hungary)
  • Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015) American actor, best known for playing Mr. Spock in Star Trek.
  • Joshua Norton (1819-1880) The self proclaimed, "His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico".



Harold Pinter.

Natalie Portman Thor 2 cropped

Natalie Portman.

  • Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965) American actress and producer.
  • Grigori Perelman (born 1966) Russian mathematician.
  • Max Perutz (1914-2002) British molecular biologist, winner of 1962 Nobel Prize. Born in Vienna, Austria.
  • Pink (Alicia Beth Moore, born 1979) American singer-songwriter.
  • Harold Pinter (1930-2008) British playwright.
  • Natalie Portman (born 1981) Israeli actress.
  • Emeric Pressburger (1902-1988) Hungarian-born, Academy Award winning screenwriter, film director and producer.


Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe.

Joan Rivers 2009 show

Joan Rivers.

Studying for an upcoming episode

Cover of Hooray for Yiddish! by Leo Rosten.

  • Daniel Radcliffe (born 1989) British actor, best known for playing Harry Potter.
  • Joey Ramone (1951-2001) American punk rock vocalist.
  • Dame Esther Rantzen (born 1940) British TV presenter, founder of the charities ChildLine and The Silver Line.
  • David Rappaport (1951-1990) British actor, one of the best known dwarf actors in film and television.
  • Lou Reed (1942-2013) American rock musician, songwriter and photographer.
  • Judith Resnik (1949-1986) Second American woman astronaut, second Jewish astronaut, first American Jew and first Jewish woman astronaut, killed in the Challenger disaster.
  • Joan Rivers (1933-2014) American actress, comedienne, writer, producer and TV host.
  • Mark Ronson (born 1975) British musician and music producer.
  • Michael Rosen (born 1946) British children's novelist and poet, Britain's Children's Laureate from 2007 to 2009.
  • Leo Rosten (1908-1997) American writer, author of The Joys of Yiddish. Born in Lodz, Poland.
  • David Lee Roth (born 1954) American rock singer and radio personality.
  • Winona Ryder (born 1971) American actress.



Oliver Sacks.


Carl Sagan.

  • Andrew Sachs (born 1930) German-born British actor, best known for playing the Spanish waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
  • Jonathan Sacks (born 1948) Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013.
  • Oliver Sacks (born 1933) Professor of neurology and psychology at Columbia University, New York. Born in London, England.

Peter Sellers.

  • Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American astronomer, astrophysicist and author.
  • Adam Sandler (born 1966) American actor, comedian and film producer.
  • Alexei Sayle (born 1952) British actor and comedian.
  • Rob Schneider (born 1963) American actor, comedian, writer and director.
  • David Schwimmer (born 1966) American actor, film and TV director, best known for playing Ross in the sitcom Friends.
  • Steven Seagal (born 1952) American actor, producer, writer and martial arts expert, father was Jewish
  • Neil Sedaka (born 1939) American pop singer, pianist and songwriter.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (born 1954) American comedian, actor and writer.
  • Peter Sellers (1925-1980) British actor and comedian, best known for playing Inspector Clouseau in the original Pink Panther films.
  • Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) American children's book writer and illustartor whose best known book is Where the Wild Things Are.

William Shatner as Captain Kirk.

Dinah Shore - promo

Dinah Shore.

Steven Spielberg Cannes 2013 3

Steven Spielberg.

  • William Shatner (born 1931) Canadian actor, best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek.
  • Allan Sherman (1924-1973) American TV producer and comedy writer, best known for his parody songs.
  • Dinah Shore (1915-1994) American singer, actress and television personality.
  • Joe Shuster (1914-1992) Canadian-born comic book artist, co-creator of Superman.
  • Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) American comic book writer, co-creator of Superman.
  • Phil Silvers (1911-1985) American comedy actor, best known for playing Sergeant Bilko.
  • Gene Simmons (born 1949) Israeli-born musician, bassist and vocalist of the rock band Kiss.
  • Neil Simon (born 1947) American playwright.
  • Paul Simon (born 1941) American singer-songwriter.
  • Sam Simon (1955-2015) American writer, producer, director and philanthropist, co-creator of The Simpsons.
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991) American writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978.

Baruch Spinoza.

  • Hillel Slovak (1962-1988) Israeli-born musician, guitarist and founding member of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • George Soros (born 1930) Hungarina-born American financier, businesman and philanthropist.
  • Art Spiegelman (born 1948) American comics writer, illustrator and editor. Author of Maus.
  • Steven Spielberg (born 1946) American film director and producer.
  • Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher.
  • Mark Spitz (born 1950) American athlete, winner of nine Olympic gold medals for swimming.
  • Paul Stanley (born 1952) American musician, rhythm guitarist and frontman of the rock band Kiss.
  • William Steig (1907-2003) American cartoonist, sculptor and writer of children's books, creator of Shrek the ogre.
  • Ben Stein (born 1944) American actor, writer, lawyer and political and economic commentator.
Gertrude stein

Gertude Stein.

  • Gertrude Stein (1874-1976) American writer who spent most of her life in France.
  • Judith Steinberg Dean (born 1953) American physician, wife of Howard Dean, First Lady of Vermont (1991-2003).
  • Jon Stewart (born 1962) American comedian, writer, satirist and actor, host of The Daily Show.
  • Ben Stiller (born 1955) American comedian, actor, writer, film producer and director.
  • Sir Tom Stoppard (born 1937) British playwright. Born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia.
  • Leo Strauss (1899-1973) German-born political philosopher.
  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn (born 1949) French politician, lawyer and economist, former head of the International Monetary Fund.
  • Barbra Streisand (born 1942) American singer, songwriter, actress and film maker.
  • Lord Alan Sugar (born 1947) British businessman, founder of Amstrad Computers, replaces Donald Trump in the British version of the TV series The Apprentice.

T Edit

Taylor, Elizabeth posed

Eliabeth Taylor.


Sophie Tucker.


  • Boris Volynov (born 1934) First Jewish astronaut, born in Irkutsk, Siberia.



Simon Wiesenthal.


Amy Winehouse.

  • Eli Wallach (1915-2014) American actor, appeared in several spaghetti-westerns, played Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993) American-born actor and film director, founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust, to rebuild a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London.
  • Steven Weinberg (born 1933) Nobel Prize winning American physicist.
  • Joseph Weizenbaum (1923- 2008) German-American artificial intelligence critic, ELIZA programmer.
  • Elie Wiesel (born 1928) Romanian-born Holocaust survivor, Boston University professor, writer, political activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous for his pursuit of Nazi war criminals.
  • Gene Wilder (born 1933) American film and theater actor, director and writer.
  • Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) British singer-songwriter.
  • Henry Winkler (born 1945) American actor and producer, best known for playing The Fonz in Happy Days.
  • Bernie Winters (1932-1991) British comedian.



Street named after Zamenhof in Tel Aviv with a sign in Hebrew and Esperanto.

  • L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) Polish creator of the constructed language Esperanto.
  • Sam Zemurray (1871-1961) American businessman who made a fortune from bananas and took over the United Fruit Company. Born in what is now Moldova.


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