6 degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup


Barbara Walters retiring

NEW YORK (JTA)—After 37 years at ABC, Barbara Walters is calling it quits, the network announced.

“It’s time,” said Walters, 83. “I keep thinking of the line from ‘Cabaret’: ‘When I go, I’m going like Chelsea.’ When I go there is not going to be any, ‘Please can I have another appearance?’ I don’t want to do any more interviews. I don’t want to do any other programs. I’m not joining CNN. This is it.”

Over the course of her 50-year career, Walters did more than interview an endless list of VIPs. As the nation’s first female anchorwoman, she also was a broadcasting pioneer.

Don’t mourn just yet—she’s not leaving for another year, and it’s going to be a busy one. According to The New York Times, upcoming projects include a final edition of the 10 Most Fascinating People, an interview with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, a series of retrospective clips from “The View,” and a possible return to the Academy Awards special she stopped doing several years ago.

Amy Winehouse exhibit

Most of the images we’ve seen of Amy Winehouse tend to depict only the wild and tragic parts of her life. That’s about to change.

This summer, The Jewish Museum in Camden, Winehouse’s former London neighborhood, will feature “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait.” The exhibition, which will commemorate what would have been the late singer’s 30th birthday, is focused on her style, family life and Jewish heritage.

“Amy was someone who was incredibly proud of her Jewish-London roots,” her brother, Alex, told Vogue U.K. “We weren’t religious, but we were traditional. I hope, in this most fitting of places, that the world gets to see this other side, not just to Amy, but to our typical Jewish family.”

The exhibition is just the latest tribute to Winehouse. A documentary is slated for this year, and there may soon be a street in London bearing her name.

Dr. Joyce Brothers dies

Dr. Joyce Brothers, the Jewish psychologist who broke ground with her TV advice show, died of natural causes on Monday, May 13 in New York. She was 85.

Brothers’ 1950s program helped normalize the public discussion of psychological issues, setting the stage for the likes of Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura. She went on to become a syndicated columnist, the author of 15 books and a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. She also made cameos in movies and on TV shows including “Happy Days” and “The Simpsons.”

Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy

The mother of actress Angelina Jolie died at 56 after years of fighting breast cancer, having never met five of Jolie’s six children. In an attempt to avoid a similar fate, the Oscar-winning actress underwent a preventive double mastectomy in February, she revealed in a piece that appeared May 14 in The New York Times.

“I have always told [my children] not to worry, but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer,” Jolie, 37, wrote.

The BRCA1 mutation, especially common in Ashkenazi Jewish women, puts Jolie at an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. As Jolie pointed out, breast cancer kills 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that one in 300 to one in 500 women carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

In the piece Jolie described the surgery, emphasizing her relatively quick recovery. She also expressed gratitude to her partner, Brad Pitt.

“There are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadown of cancer,” she wrote. “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested.”

Alison Brie’s Jewish mother

Alison Brie opened up about her life while chatting on a podcast with Jewish comedian Marc Maron, including splitting her time between her divorced interfaith parents as a kid.

On weekends with her dad she’d go to Sunday school at his Christian-Hindu hybrid church, where the future “Mad Men” and “Community” actress did plenty of meditating and chanting about a “cloud-colored Christ.” Then she’d go back to her mom, who while secular has a strong Jewish identity.

“My mother, God love her, is a very proud Jew and would always make sure we knew we were Jewish. I remember being 6 years old and her saying, ‘you know you guys are Jewish. If Hitler came today, he would take you,’ ” Brie recalled in a way that sounded funny rather than terrifying.

No longer up for the double visits, Brie now makes her parents come to her place for holidays, where the she eliminates tension by serving alcohol and pot brownies. When you think about it, that’s a pretty amazing idea for any kind of Jewish family gathering.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Lesbian’

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest project is one step closer to being made. Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam, the Danish writers behind the comedy “Klown,” are in negotiations to write “The Lesbian.”

Sources say Cohen, who will produce and star in the film, traveled all the way to Denmark to convince the pair to work with him.

“The Lesbian” won’t be a mockumentary in the vein of “Borat,” but it is inspired by the  stranger-than-fiction yet real-life story of Cecil Chao, the Hong Kong billionaire who offered $65 million to any man who could marry his lesbian daughter.

Top celebs at Met Museum gala

A-listers aplenty convened two weeks ago in New York for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual gala. Maybe it was the non-traditional punk theme, but this year the Internet seemed more flooded than ever with photos of decked-out celebrities.

Here’s the lowdown on our favorite Jewish attendees:

Sarah Jessica Parker wins our award for staying most true to theme with a Giles Deacon dress, a massive mohawk headdress and thigh-high plaid Christian Louboutin boots. It was especially sweet to see Parker bond with Lena Dunham, fellow creator of a show about single women in New York.

Pregnant Ivanka Trump is still too tiny to need maternity wear. Instead she glowed alongside husband Jared Kushner in a dress by Juan Carlos Obando.

Maggie Gyllenahaal wore a Calvin Klein gown that revealed some side boob (we really wish there was a better way to say that).

Gwyneth Paltrow, on the other hand, made up for her recent overexposure of skin at the “Iron Man 3″ premiere with a very modest Valentino Haute Couture Corolle gown. But this time the buzz wasn’t about her dress. Instead, onlookers noted that Paltrow didn’t take any pictures with her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. They were photographed separately with Korean rapper Psy, though. Hmm …

For more Jewish entertainment news, visit 6nobacon.com, the illegitimate child of JTA.


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