Celebrity Jews

Recent premieres

The WB’s “Modern Men” might rise above the usual chozzerai (junk) on that network. The cast of this comedy/drama, which premiered March 17, is high-rate and includes veteran Jane Seymour, the pretty Marla Sokoloff and Jewish newcomer Max Greenfield.

Greenfield’s few credits include co-starring in the Passover-themed movie “When Do We Eat?”. In “Modern Men,” he plays one of three guys in their late 20s who turn to a beautiful life-coach (Seymour) for advice on women.

Sokoloff, 25, plays the caring law-student sister of one of Greenfield’s buddies. Previously Sokoloff, who mostly grew up in the Bay Area, played Lucy on TV’s “The Practice.”

Seymour, 55, has been everything from a Bond Girl to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She was born Joyce Frankenberg to a British Jewish doctor and a Dutch non-Jewish mother. (Seymour was raised without religion and doesn’t practice anything.)

Seymour has always been upfront about her connection to Jews. She has told interviewers that her father scoured the Nazi death camps after WWII, looking for relatives who might have survived.

Meanwhile, Oscar winner Martin Landau, 74, returned to series TV in “The Evidence” as a scientist who helps two San Francisco cops solve crimes. (The show started Wednesday, March 22 on ABC). The series is reported to be OK, if gimmicky.

Live long and prosper

William Shatner, almost 75, and Doris Roberts, 77, don’t appear to be slowing down.

Roberts, of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame, stars in the Hallmark Channel original movie “Our House.” She plays a wealthy widow who attempts suicide in a moment of despair and is rescued by a homeless woman. The two bond and help each other out. It airs Saturday, March 25 with three back-to-back showings starting at 9 p.m.

Shatner has almost never been so hot, what with his 2005 Emmy for “Boston Legal.” So it’s no surprise that the TV Land channel chose a Shatner profile to launch their new series about older TV stars, “Living in TV Land.” Backed by rocker Ben Folds, the former Captain Kirk performs in front of a live audience doing biographical songs from his recent CD “Has Been.” Also shown is candid footage of Shatner at a Star Trek convention, riding at a horse show and at the maternity ward where he becomes a grandfather. (It airs 10 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 and will be shown again exactly a week later.)

Barkin blues

It’s been a tough time for actress Ellen Barkin, 51. In January her husband, Revlon billionaire Ron Perelman, 63, shocked her by seeking a divorce after five years of marriage. Perleman’s action didn’t shock observers who noted that he isn’t exactly easygoing and wasn’t happy in three previous marriages to Jewish women.

Getting out of these marriages cost Perelman about $180 million, but he could get away with giving Barkin a mere $20 million if he filed for divorce by this January. That’s what their prenuptial deal said.

Well, I felt sorry for Barkin. It seemed to me that she tried to make the marriage work and by all accounts she happily followed Perelman’s modern Orthodox lifestyle. Anyway, she showed class, didn’t draw the divorce out and settled in February for the $20 million. Then, a few weeks ago, Barkin nearly choked to death while eating at a posh Los Angeles restaurant. Brad Pitt’s agent saved her with the Heimlich maneuver.

My advice: Ellen, take a million and buy some fun and frivolous things — start with the complete Estée Lauder collection.

The columnist can be reached at [email protected].

Nate Bloom

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