ENTERTAINMENT HONOREE ― MOLLY PICON

Plaque designed by Eugene Daub, produced by Jim Licaretz, unique bonded bronze.
Portrait, Molly Picon, name in English and Yiddish, DAUB, approx. 10 inches.
No medals made.

Molly Picon was born on New York’s Lower East Side on February 28, 1898.  Her first performance was in a talent show at the age of five, where she won first prize ― a Five Dollar Gold Coin.

In the early 1920’s, Picon’s career took off on the American Yiddish stage, playing parts written for her by her husband, Jacob Kalich — such as Yonkele (Little Yonkel), Tzipke, Shmendrik (Loser), Gypsy Girl, Molly Dolly, Little Devil, and Mamale (Mommy). Picon made her film debut in European productions, beginning with Das Judenmadel (The Jewish Girl), in Austria in 1921. In the midst of the Great Depression Kalich bought the Folks Theater at 12th Street and 2nd Avenue and grandly renamed it the Molly Picon Theater. In 1934, she began broadcasting her first radio show ― in Yiddish and English. Later, she starred in other radio programs ― I Give You My Life and Molly Picon’s Parade, a variety show. In 1937, Picon and Kalich filmed Yidl Mitn Fidl (Yiddle with his Fiddle) in Poland.

During WWII, Picon performed at army bases all over the U.S. and Canada in an effort to boost morale. Later, traveling at considerable peril to their own lives, Picon and Kalich were the first entertainers to tour D.P. (Displaced Persons) camps after the war.

Star Award

Here is the star celebrating Molly Picon and her husband Jacob Kalich on the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on 2nd Avenue and 1oth Street.

In 1954, Picon made her first trip to Israel, where she gave benefit performances for organizations such as the Jewish National Fund and Magen David Adom, the Israeli ambulance service. Upon her return to the United States, she was cast as an Italian mother opposite Frank Sinatra in Neil Simon’s screen adaption of Come Blow Your Horn, for which she received an Academy Award nomination. Molly went on to star on Broadway, Milk and Honey. In 1971, Picon starred in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof.

Molly Picon appeared on television as in a recurring role as Mrs. Bronson in the NBC police comedy Car 54, Where Are You?, and in a few episodes of The Facts of Life as Natalie’s grandmother. Her final role was as Roger Moore’s mother in the comedies Cannonball Run and its sequel Cannonball Run II in 1981 and 1984, respectively.

Bibliography:  https://jwa.org/womenofvalor/picon.

Click here to listen to Molly Picon singing in Yiddish

Click Here to Take  Molly Picon Quiz