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From nice Jewish girl to master of sex

Actor Lizzy Caplan hits the big time playing famed sexologist Virginia Johnson in Showtime’s steamy hit drama

Jewish actor Lizzy Caplan has catapulted her career portraying legendary human sexuality pioneer Virginia Johnson. (YouTube screenshot)
Jewish actor Lizzy Caplan has catapulted her career portraying legendary human sexuality pioneer Virginia Johnson. (YouTube screenshot)

In Showtime’s TV hit drama about sex researchers Masters and Johnson, actor Lizzy Caplan has catapulted her career portraying a legendary human sexuality pioneer.

The petite brunette plays famed sexologist Virginia Johnson in the steamy third season of “Masters of Sex,” which premiered earlier this month. The series opens with the depiction of the pair’s release of their groundbreaking 1966 book, “Human Sexual Response.”

In reality, Johnson was briefly a professional singer before her foray into sex research. While portraying her for a current Showtime promotional video, Caplan says being told she isn’t tone deaf was like discovering something akin to a “secret dormant super power.”

Not surprisingly, frankly discussing her role on late-night talk shows has led to many uncomfortable moments for the Jewish Los Angeles native. During an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Elizabeth Anne “Lizzy” Caplan has openly discussed, for instance, how odd it is that she has seen her friends and fellow performers pretending to be intimate sans clothing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFf96xOGws8

On Conan O’Brien, she also matter-of-factly relived the surprising turn of events of her very first intimate interaction on camera with her “Masters of Sex” co-star, Michael Sheen. He completed the scene as Dr. William (Bill) Masters and then promptly lost his lunch.

Sheen and has shared his own challenges with the role opposite Caplan.

Previously, Caplan, the daughter of political aide mother and an attorney father, starred in a series of films, including “The Interview” (2014), “Bachelorette” (2012), “Hot Tub Machine (2010), “Cloverfield” (2008) and “Mean Girls” (2004). Her television roles include appearances on “New Girl,” “True Blood,” and many others.

Although she has fond memories of her Reform upbringing, bat mitzvah and Jewish summer camp, back in 2005, Caplan told American Jewish Life magazine that she had “kind of strayed away” from Jewish involvement.

‘I love being a Jew, but I’m not Super Jew’

“I think once I have a family I’ll be back into it,” she said. “I love being a Jew, but I’m not Super Jew.”

But last year, the Emmy-nominee blamed her lack of confidence in winning an award for outstanding lead actress on her cultural outlook.

“I don’t think it’s fair to assume that at all. I’m Jewish, so I’m predisposed to assume there’s no chance in hell that’s going to happen,” she told The New York Times. (This year, she is not an nominee.)

The current season has garnered critique from fans who question why the series skipped four years in the lives of the researchers. The show now involves the leads’ sexually active children in the drama, which departs somewhat from history.

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