Friday, February 11, 2005 | return to: celebrities


Celebrity Jews

by nate bloom

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Oscar notes

It's a busy season for Adam Duritz, the Bay-area raised rocker. He is up for a Grammy and an Oscar (Feb. 27) for co-writing the song "Accidentally in Love," from "Shrek 2."

It's been a sweet year for David Samuelson, 80, a film exec in Britain who co-invented a camera- mounting device that has revolutionized filmmaking. Samuelson was told early this year that he's getting a technical Oscar. He got the news just after he celebrated his bar mitzvah. As a boy, Samuelson went to a synagogue with a very strict rabbi. So strict that he barred Samuelson from the synagogue when the rabbi found out that the boy had taken a train on Shabbat — even though Samuelson took the train to avoid being late for services. Until last year, the Oscar-winner didn't know he could celebrate his bar mitzvah ceremony at any age.

Musical Jews

A couple of Jewish musicians will perform at the Grammy Awards (Feb. 13, CBS). Israeli-born violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who served in the Israeli army and has played Jewish music and jazz with the best, will appear with rap artist Kanye West. Ben-Ari, a pioneer of hip-hop violin, is up for two Grammies, including song of the year, for a tune she wrote with West. Sharing the stage with Ben-Ari is Ben Harper, a talented musician who is the son of a Jewish mother and an African American father. He performs with the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Others Jewish nominees include rockers Mike Einziger of "Incubus" and Geddy Lee of "Rush," the rappin' Beastie Boys, Scott Hoffman of the campy band The Scissor Sisters, pop legend Herb Alpert and composer Andre Previn.

Evicted from 'Spaces'

The pretty and perky Paige Davis, who helps make the Learning Channel show "Trading Spaces" the highest-rated show in the station's history, has been canned. TLC says they are now going to a "hostless" format. TV Guide said the translation for "hostless" is "cheap." Davis, a talented musical actress, should land on her feet.

One more time

On Feb. 22, CBS is having a "One Day at a Time" reunion. The whole cast of the hit '70s sit-com will be on hand to discuss the first TV show to feature a divorced mom. Jewish actress Bonnie Franklin ("Anne Romano") played the mom. Also interviewed are Jewish cast members Richard Masur, who played Franklin's long-term love interest, and Michael Lembeck (Max Horvath), who played the husband of one of Franklin's TV daughters.

Jewish foodies

The Food Network cable station has to have a disproportionate Jewish audience. You've heard the funny description of most Jewish holidays: "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat!" So, I'm not surprised that a Food Network host is Jewish. My most recent discovery is Ina Garten, the host of the Network's "Barefoot Contessa" show and a best-selling cookbook author.

Garten's new book, "Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home," led to a bunch of interviews in which the chef disclosed that she was a hopeless cook when she married 35 years ago, but she did know how to bake challah. The former White House budget analyst gradually became a great dinner party host, then a fancy caterer, and now the star of a show that draws a million viewers a week.

Columnist Nate Bloom , an Oaklander, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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