Gene Wilder told me he loved making people laugh. No matter where he was in the world, kids would say, “There’s Willy Wonka!” With that sweet face, that hair, those eyes – wow! He is truly unforgettable. RIP.
Fyvush Finkel had more fun being famous than any one you’ve ever seen which always made talking to him such a delight. His “Boston Public” and “Picket Fences” fans adored him. He won an Emmy for playing the eccentric lawyer, Douglas Wambaugh, and proudly announced, “I waited 51 years to get on this stage.” He started in the Yiddush theater as a kid and told his jokes ‘til his last days. “There’s a saying,” he would laugh, “with one face, you can’t be at ten weddings! I cleaned that up to tell it!” But I can tell you with one tuchus he did a lot of acting.
Elie Wiesel earned his legacy with eye-opening words of tragic truth and elegant protest.
He told me, “When I look back on 1945 I think we were so hopeful. We thought the world had learned a great lesson- justice would prevail. If anyone told me then that we would see widespread hate in the world again, I would not have believed it. Now I know those things can happen again. Wherever you turn there is war, racism, colonialism, hunger, and humiliation, on a collective level. People forget. There is Antisemitism – even though mankind has the tools more than ever to communicate principals and educate each other. I’m not so concerned about the fate of the Jewish People. I’m concerned over the fate of the world. If this kind of hatred is possible, the world is in poor shape.”
“We need respect for one another. RESPECT for the pluralistic view of society. Respect for another person’s sorrow, another person’s joy, another person’s silence. We need respect for God and for ourselves, perhaps.”