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Celia Adler

Celia Adler
The young Celia Adler
Personal information
Birth nameCelia Feinman Adler
Birth dateDecember 06, 1889
Place of birthNew York, New York, U.S.
Date of deathJanuary 31, 1979(age 89)
Death placeBronx, New York, U.S.
SpouseLazar Freed
Jack Cone
Nathan Forman

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Celia Feinman Adler (December 6, 1889 - January 31, 1979) was an American Jewish actress, known as the "First Lady of the Yiddish Theatre".

She was the daughter of Jacob Adler and Dinah Shtettin, and the older half-sister of Stella, Luther Adler and Jacob Adler's five other children. Unlike Stella and Luther, who became well known for their work with the Group Theater, their film work and as theorists of the craft of acting, she was almost exclusively a stage actress.

Mainly known for her work in Yiddish theater, where she was associated with the Yiddish Art Theater movement of the 1920s and 1930s, she also gave one of the first theatrical portrayals of a Holocaust survivor, in Luther Adler's 1946 Broadway production of A Flag Is Born (written by Ben Hecht and featuring a 22-year-old Marlon Brando, Stella Adler's prize pupil in method acting). Adler, along with co-stars Paul Muni and Marlon Brando, refused to accept compensation above the Actor's Equity minimum wage because of her commitment to the cause of creating a Jewish State in Israel.

In 1937, Celia Adler starred in the Henry Lynn Yiddish film, Where Is My Child. From 1937-1952, she appeared in several films and television programs. Her last film was a 1985 British documentary with archive footage, Almonds and Raisins, narrated by, among others, Orson Welles, Herschel Bernardi and Seymour Rechzeit.

She was married three times, to actor Lazar Freed, theatrical manager Jack Cone, and businessman Nathan Forman. All three marriages ended in divorce. One of her sons by Lazar Freed, Dr. Selwyn Freed, was a renowned urologist in New York City.

She is buried in the Yiddish Theatre Section of Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, New York.

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