Celebrity jews

Blasts from the past

David Steinberg

The nominations for the Directors Guild of America Awards, to be held on Jan. 28 but not televised, include many Jews, and here are three (all TV directors) who stand out as “blasts from the past.”

Fred Savage, 35, is nominated for outstanding directorial achievement in a comedy series for his work on “Modern Family.” The former star of “The Wonder Years” is a Stanford grad, and he and his Jewish wife now have two young kids.

David Steinberg, 69, is nominated in the same category for “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He’s been funny in front of and behind the camera since the ‘60s. He’s the host of a new interview series, “Inside Comedy,” that starts Jan. 29 on Showtime (guests will include Larry David, Garry Shandling, Carl Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman).

Michael Lembeck, 63, is nominated for directorial achievement in children’s programs, for “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure” on the Disney Channel. The son of the late actor Harvey Lembeck (Corporal Rocco Barbella on “The Phil Silver Show” in the 1950s), Lembeck played Julie’s husband on TV’s “One Day at a Time.” Both his mother and wife are Jews by choice.


‘Big Bang’ explosion

Melissa Rauch

Another awards show, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, will air live on TNT and TBS on Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. The individual Jewish nominees: Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), best supporting actor, film; Julianne Margulies (“The Good Wife”) and Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”), both for best actress, TV series.

The SAG Awards include awards for the best TV and film ensemble casts. I think “The Big Bang Theory” leads the pack as having the highest percentage of Jewish cast members of any nominated TV show: Mayim Bialik (Amy Farrah Fowler); Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette, the Catholic fiancée of the Jewish character Wolowitz). Not included in the nomination is Brian George, a part-time “Big Bang” character. Born in Israel, the son of Jews from India, George plays the father of the Indian American character Rajesh; he is seen only when he lectures his son via a Webcam hookup.


The Sun isn’t shining

Last week, the British tabloid The Sun had an item saying that singer Katy Perry’s father, Keith Hudson, a Carlsbad-based evangelical minister, had said nasty things about Hollywood Jews and their wealth during a sermon delivered at a church in suburban Cleveland.

The Cleveland Jewish News spoke to the church’s pastor, who said that while Hudson’s statements were “inappropriate” and “awkwardly put,” what Hudson meant was that church members “could be as blessed with riches as many Jews are.” The pastor said The Sun put the comments completely in the wrong context. Moreover, Hudson issued an apology after The Sun item appeared.

The Cleveland-area church in question has the reputation of being fervently pro-Israel, and as a Cleveland-area rabbi said, “The truth of the matter is that the pastor and apparently the members of [his] church are very supportive and very caring about Jews and about Israel. That’s the story that we ought to be telling. Not the stupidity of misspoken and nasty and hurtful statements … That should make the headlines, not this stupidity.”

By the way, last week I delved into another “news” item from The Sun and sussed out that Jason Trawick, Britney Spears’ manager and fiancée, is not Jewish. In 2009, The Sun invented a story that he was, and that “fact” is now all over the Internet.

Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at [email protected]

Nate Bloom

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