The Leo Fuchs Yiddish Theater Archive

Documents the life and career of famed Yiddish comic, musician, dancer, and producer Leo Fuchs.
Leo Fuchs View Image

Leo Fuchs (1911-1994) was a master entertainer, known as the “Yiddish Fred Astaire.” He entertained from age five to eighty: acting, singing, dancing, landing punchlines, playing violin, writing sketches and humorous couplets, and touring the world.

Poster for El Rabino Americano starring Leo Fuchs
Poster for El Rabino Americano starring Leo Fuchs View Poster

Leo Fuchs was born to a theatrical family in Poland and began performing at the age of five. By age nineteen, he was garnering rave reviews for his cabaret performances in Warsaw. Unlike many of his fellow entertainers, Fuchs couldn’t be easily stereotyped: he was equally at comfortable playing the tall, dark leading man as he was the rubber-faced comedian. To fully showcase his talents, he often wrote his own material and gained a reputation as a witty coupletist.

Fuchs came to the United States in 1935. After a season of dramatic roles in Maurice Schwartz’s Yiddish Art Theater, he transitioned to starring in musical comedies that celebrated and skewered American and Jewish culture, such as The Galitzianer Cowboy.

Fuchs also starred in several Yiddish comic films, notably I Want to Be A Boarder and Amerikaner Shadkhen (American Matchmaker).

Fuchs toured around the world both with theater companies and as a solo act. In the second half of his career, he also performed in Hollywood films and television. He is perhaps best known to today's audiences as the Chief Rabbi in The Frisco Kid (1979) and for his role as Hymie Krichinsky in the film Avalon (1990).

 Leo Fuchs and Esther Saltzman
Leo Fuchs and Esther Saltzman View Image

The Leo Fuchs Yiddish Theater Archive includes

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