Celebrity Jews


The American Jewish contingent at the just-concluded powerhouse Cannes Film Festival included Ethan and Joel Coen, Jonathan Nossiter, Irwin Winkler and Terry Zwigoff.

The Coens were in competition with their remake of “The Ladykillers.” Meanwhile, Nossiter’s “Mondovino” was a Cannes rarity: a documentary that was selected to compete with feature films. It follows the world of wine growing from Italy to Burgundy to the Napa Valley. Jonathan’s father was the late Bernard Nossiter, a reporter for The New York Times. Jonathan’s brother, Adam, is an author whose books include “Algeria Hotel,” a study of French anti-Semitism during WWII (see j. Aug. 24, 2001).

Zwigoff’s black comedy “Bad Santa” was shown out of competition. Likewise, Winkler’s “DeLovely,” a bio of composer Cole Porter, was simply screened and not judged. The flick will open in America on June 25. By the way, the festival’s musical highlight was provided by Lalo Schifrin, who conducted a concert of film music as a festival extra.

In competition was “Look at Me,” about a young girl obsessed by singing.  It’s directed and co-written by Agnès Jaoui, who also acts in the film. Jaoui, a French Jew of Algerian origin, has long been one of the leading lights of the French cinema. She co-won the award for best screenplay this year.

Not part of the festival, but opening at an off-site Cannes cinema was Priya Ruth Paul’s first film, “Perfect Husband.” This tongue-in-cheek Indian film (in English) about arranged marriages has got good buzz. Paul’s father is a Sikh lawyer, while her mother, a French Jewish doctor, is credited with introducing the polio vaccine to India.

Revloning door

Revlon billionaire owner Ron Perelman, 61, always seems to land on the financial or gossip pages. The perception of Perelman as a hard-charging businessman and romantic suitor is encapsulated in the title of New York Post columnist Christopher Byron’s upcoming bio, “Testosterone Inc.” Byron chronicles Perelman’s four marriages, his corporate raiding, his acquisition of Revlon, his Orthodox Judaism and his philanthropy.

Perelman married Faye Golding, a member of a wealthy New York family, in 1964. They stayed together for 20 years and had three kids. Their divorce cost Perelman a mere $8 million. In 1985, he married gossip columnist Claudia Cohen and they had a child. Their marriage was pretty much over when he fell in love with socialite Patricia Duff in 1992. (Claudia got an $80 million divorce settlement.)  Duff converted to Judaism before she married Perelman in 1994. (This time Perelman insisted on a prenuptial agreement.) The two hit the gossip pages in the late ’90s as they battled over child support payments.

Perelman married Ellen Barkin (“The Big Easy”) in 2000 in a big Jewish wedding. Well, late in April, New York papers were buzzing with the news that Barkin had left Perelman and moved into a hotel. However, in mid-May, the couple’s spokesman announced that Barkin had moved back home and that “they love each other very much and are 100 percent committed to their life together.”

However, methinks you would get good Las Vegas odds that this marriage won’t last ’til death do them part.


In last week’s column, I misidentified the husband of author Anne Roiphe, who is Dr. Herman Roiphe. She is not related to Sigmund Freud. Also, the correct Web address of the California music awards is www.californiamusicawards.com.

Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at middleoftheroad1@aol.com.

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.