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Born Mary Jane West, she was an American vaudeville actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex… [More] symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of all time. By some accounts, West’s mother was of partial Jewish descent. [Less]
1959: Jonathan Franzen
Franzen is an American novelist and essayist. His 2001 novel, “The Corrections,” a satirical… [More] family drama, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned Franzen numerous top book awards. He is also a Pulitzer Prize Fiction finalist. His most recent novel, “Freedom” (2010), coincided with a much debated appearance on the cover of Time magazine alongside the headline “Great American Novelist”. He is not Jewish — but his famous novel “Freedom” is noted for its Jewish-themed prose and Jewish characters. [Less]
1960: Sean Penn
Penn is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his humanitarian work and… [More] left-wing political and social activism. He is a two-time Academy Award winner for his roles in “Mystic River” (2003) and “Milk” (2008) — and the recipient of a Golden Globe Award for the former and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the latter. His paternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Lithuania and Russia. [Less]