Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal

Herman Wouk on CBS; the Jews go to Romania; Bay Area athletes drafted

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Wouk at 102

“CBS Sunday Morning” aired on July 2 an interview with author Herman Wouk, 102. Wouk’s last book, the memoir “Sailor and the Fiddler,” was published in 2015. Now he says he will write no more new books, but he does write in his diary every day.

Frankly, the CBS interview seemed like the last word from Wouk. Just two years ago, in photos that accompanied a “Sailor and Fiddler” review in the New York Times, he was wearing nice, casual clothes (including a Panama-type hat) and was sporting a long, well-groomed white beard. However, in the CBS interview, he is in a bathrobe, in a wheelchair and has an oxygen tube up his nose. His beard is a bit ragged and he wears a simple yarmulke on his bald head.

Still, his mind is still sharp. He quickly discusses his most famous work, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Caine Mutiny” (based on his World War II naval service). And he talks about the aim of his central life work: to “fix down in literature what happened in World War II and the Holocaust.” Besides “The Caine Mutiny” (1951), Wouk also wrote “Winds of War” (1971) and “War and Remembrance” (1978). The latter graphically depicted the Holocaust and was the foundation for a 1988-89 TV miniseries of the same name.


Jewish actors in Romania

The website Romania Insider posted two stories on July 10 about Jewish actors filming or about to film in that country.

The first was about Harvey Keitel, 78, who was there to do a film called “See You Soon.” On July 6, he took a day off and went to Leordina, a small town in northern Romania where his mother lived until the age of 12. He visited the home where his mother grew up and the Jewish cemetery where his ancestors were buried. “I’m thinking of my mother walking on the streets of Leordina,” Keitel is quoted as saying, “and after that in New York. I have all these images in mind — the little girl who came from Leordina to New York.” The town welcomed Keitel with traditional food and drinks, gave him a traditional costume, and local officials named him an honorary citizen.

Meanwhile, in September, the filming of big-budget Western “The Sister Brothers” will move from Spain to Romania. It’s based on an acclaimed 2011 novel of the same name. Jake Gyllenhaal, 36, plays Herman, an amiable prospector who is accused of stealing from a nasty rich guy. The rich guy hires two brothers (their surname is Sister) to travel to San Francisco and kill Herman. Joaquin Phoenix, 42, plays one of the brothers.


On the field of play

Jewish Sports Review magazine is out with its lists of the best amateur Jewish athletes in many sports. Here are some with Northern California connections:

Sam Delaplane, pitcher, Eastern Michigan University. A senior and San Jose native, he was recently drafted by the Seattle Mariners.

Daniel Supple, pitcher, Division III Dominican University in Illinois. The Albany native posted great stats in his senior year.

Brittany File, a softball pitcher from Carmel who recently became the all-time leader in victories at Emory University in Atlanta.

Claire Klausner, softball pitcher from the South Peninsula who led her Princeton team in wins in her senior year.

Mira Shulman from Elk Grove High School near Sacramento. After finishing as the highest scoring basketball player in school history, she’s set to play for Division I UC Santa Barbara in the fall.


Buzz on Serena Williams

Buzz Bissinger, 62, did a blockbuster interview with tennis star Serena Williams that appears in the August issue of Vanity Fair (photos by Annie Leibovitz, 67). Williams has never opened up so much about her pregnancy — or her life. Bissinger, a journalist and author, is still best known for his 1990 book “Friday Night Lights,” which documents the 1988 season of a high school team in Texas. It sold 2 million copies and spawned a hit movie (2004) and a TV series (2006-2011).

Nate Bloom

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