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Terri Sue "Tovah" Feldshuh (born December 27, 1952) is an American actress, singer and playwright. She has been a Broadway star for more than four decades, earning four Tony Award nominations. She has also received two Emmy Award nominations for Holocaust and Law & Order, and appeared in such films as A Walk on the Moon, She's Funny That Way, and Kissing Jessica Stein. In 2015–2016, she played the role of Deanna Monroe on AMC's television adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Tovah Feldshuh
Tovah Feldshuh 2004.jpg
Feldshuh in 2004
Born
Terri Sue Feldshuh

(1952-12-27) December 27, 1952 (age 66)[1]
New York, New York, United States
Alma materSarah Lawrence College
OccupationActress, singer, playwright
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)
Andrew Harris Levy (m. 1977)
Children2

Early lifeEdit

Feldshuh was born to a Jewish family in New York City, the daughter of Lillian (née Kaplan) and Sidney Feldshuh, who was a lawyer.[2] Her brother David Feldshuh is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright of Miss Evers' Boys.

She was raised in Scarsdale, New York, in Westchester County, and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. In her high school years she was a student at the National Music Camp (later named the Interlochen Arts Camp) as a star in their drama division. She studied acting at HB Studio[3] in New York City. She started her career under British director Michael Langham at the Guthrie Theater where she was awarded the McKnight Fellowship in Acting.[4]

CareerEdit

TheaterEdit

Feldshuh appeared on the stage under the name "Terri Fairchild" before deciding to incorporate her Hebrew name and her original surname as her professional name, Tovah Feldshuh. She said of her name changes: "I fell in love with a Christian boy, Michael Fairchild, who didn't want to kiss a Terri Sue. He said: 'Terri Sue doesn't fit you at all. What's that other name of yours? Tovah? Now that's a name!"[5] In 1994, she joked that she could have changed her name to "Goody Two-Shoes," since "Tovah" is Hebrew for "good," while "Feldshuh" translates from German as "field shoe."[6]

She made her Broadway debut in the short-lived 1973 musical Cyrano starring Christopher Plummer. She appeared in the title role in Yentl both off-Broadway at the Chelsea Theater Center and later on Broadway. Both productions are detailed in the book, Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater, which describes tensions between Feldshuh and director Robert Kalfin over the play's interpretation.[7]

Other Broadway credits include Saravà, Lend Me a Tenor, and Golda's Balcony, William Gibson's work about the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Golda's Balcony set a record as the longest-running one-woman play in Broadway history on January 2, 2005.[8]

Feldshuh made her cabaret debut at the Algonquin Hotel Oak Room with her act, Tovah: Crossovah! From Broadway to Cabaret, which was followed by Tovah: Out of Her Mind! She took the latter show on the road to Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Sydney. The West End production sold out an eight-week run at the Duke of York's Theatre. The Boston Globe selected her as "Best Cabaret Artist of 2000."[9] In 2000, she co-wrote and performed in a one-woman play about actress Tallulah Bankhead titled Tallulah Hallelujah![10]

She returned to Broadway in the Dan Gordon play Irena's Vow in March 2009. She had appeared off-Broadway in this play in September 2008.[11] In 2012, Feldshuh performed as Mama Rose in a revival of Gypsy.

It was announced at the September 21, 2013, Broadway performance of Pippin that Andrea Martin's last performance as Berthe (Pippin's grandmother) would be the following day and that Feldshuh would be subsequently taking over the role. In 2014, she starred in Gypsy at the Bristol Riverside Theatre as Mama Rose.[12][13]

In February 2015, she performed a one-woman show which she called Aging Is Optional at 54 Below.[14]

Film and televisionEdit

In 1973, Feldshuh appeared on television in a supporting role in Scream, Pretty Peggy. In 1976, she also had a supporting role in Ryan's Hope, and in the following year, 1977, she played Katharine Hepburn in The Amazing Howard Hughes. In 1977 she also appeared on The Bob Newhart Show as Veronica Kidd, in an episode called "The Heartbreak Kidd" (Season 5, Episode 18), which aired Feb 5. However, Feldshuh came to international prominence as Helena Slomova in the 1978 mini-series Holocaust, based on Gerald Green's novel. Between 1991 and 2007, Feldshuh had a recurring role as defense attorney Danielle Melnick on Law & Order. (In 2018, it was announced that Feldshuh would be reprising her role as Melnick, who would by then be a Cook County judge, in Dick Wolf's Chicago Justice, a companion program to his Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med that would be situated primarily in the Cook County, Illinois, court system.)[citation needed]

Feldshuh's feature film appearances have included Lady in the Water, The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, A Walk on the Moon, Happy Accidents, Brewster's Millions, The Idolmaker, The Blue Iguana, A Day in October, The Believer, Love Comes Lately, Just My Luck, and Kissing Jessica Stein. She also appeared as Ruthie in the 2004 film The Tollbooth.

Feldshuh appeared in Goyband, co-starring Adam Pascal, Amy Davidson, Cris Judd, Dean Edwards, Tibor Feldman and Natasha Lyonne. She was also slated to star in the psychological thriller Acts of Mercy. In 2009, Feldshuh recorded the song "Bein Nahar Prat" for the organization Pioneers For A Cure, with the proceeds benefiting Ellen's Run.

In 2012, she appeared as Mossad agent Rivka in the Covert Affairs episode "Wishful Beginnings." In 2014 she appeared in the film She's Funny That Way.

The month of March 2015 saw Feldshuh make her debut in a starring role on AMC's highly rated The Walking Dead. Feldshuh had never seen the show before being cast as former politician Deanna Monroe, whose character Feldshuh says she based on Hillary Clinton.[15] She also appeared in the six-part miniseries Flesh and Bone, which debuted in 2015 on Starz.

From 2015–2019, Feldshuh had a recurring role on the musical-comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Naomi Bunch, the image-conscious and hyper-critical mother of the show's main character, Rebecca Bunch, played by Rachel Bloom.

Personal lifeEdit

Feldshuh married New York attorney Andrew Harris Levy in 1977. Actress Ruth Gordon was her maid of honor. They have a son, Garson, an economist and graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities; and a daughter, Amanda, who graduated from MIT. When Amanda married in 2014, Feldshuh gave her the advice, “You know how to have a successful marriage? Shut one eye, and don't leave. Some of it's fun and some of it isn't. It can be challenging, but you do not leave the field of play.”[5][16] Her nephew, Noah Feldshuh, is a member of alternative rock band X Ambassadors.[17]

She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.[18]

For her charity work, she is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award, Hadassah's Myrtle Wreath, and the Israel Peace Medal. The National Foundation for Jewish Culture honored her with the 2002 Jewish Image Award and the Performing Arts award in 2006.[19][20]

When doing research for her role as Irene Gut Opdyke in the play Irena's Vow, Feldshuh traveled to Borshchiv, Ukraine, and discovered that her own ancestor, Moishe Feldshuh, had lived there in the early 20th century.[5]

In March 2015, Feldshuh hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro with her son. She told Variety she was inspired after the 2014 death of her mother at age 103, and her own athletic role in Pippin, in which she had to swing on a trapeze. "I really do feel we're only in this body once," she said. "I just want enough money to buy experience. I can forgo a dress, but the idea of taking a trip and trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro, or going on the Trans-Siberian railroad, or tracking lemurs in Madagascar — these things are very exciting to me. To see the world until I leave my own body. It’s now or not at all."[15]

FilmographyEdit

FilmsEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Nunzio Michelle
1980 The Idolmaker Brenda Roberts
1981 Cheaper to Keep Her K. D. Locke
1983 Daniel Linda Mindish
1984 An All Consuming Passion Vivian Palmer Video
1985 Brewster's Millions Marilyn
Silver Bullet Older Jane (voice)
1988 The Blue Iguana Detective Vera Quinn
1991 Saying Kaddish
En dag i oktober Emma Kublitz
1995 Trouble Goldie Short
Comfortably Numb Victoria Stevens
1997 Hudson River Blues Charlotte
The Real Shlemiel Zlateh the Goat, Aunt Sarah, The Matchmaker (voice)
1998 Montana Greta
Charlie Hoboken Angie Cedars
1999 A Walk on the Moon Lillian Kantrowitz
The Corruptor Margaret Wheeler
2000 Happy Accidents Lillian Weaver
2001 The Believer Woman in Shul
Kissing Jessica Stein Judy Stein
Friends & Family Alma Jennings
Old Love Ethel Brockeles Short
The 3 Little Wolfs Sarah Wolf
2002 Noon Blue Apples Sponge-Brush Woman
The End of the Bar Mrs. Garner
2004 The Tollbooth Ruthie Cohen
2005 Alchemy Senior Editor
Life on the Ledge Mother
The Reality Trap Irina Bolton
2006 Just My Luck Madame Z
Lady in the Water Mrs. Bubchik
O Jerusalem Golda Meir
2007 The Shallow End of the Ocean Jason's Mother Short
Love Comes Lately Ethel
Love Life Hannah
2008 Eavesdrop Susie
A House Divided Rebecca Meir
Goyband Leah
2009 Acts of Mercy Nurse Ruth Baker
2010 A Buddy Story Buddy's Mom
Ten Stories Tall Grace Parker
Heterosexuals Remy
2012 All the Broken Pieces Grandmother Short
2014 A Little Game Blackstone Head of School
Glinda Glinda Short
The Hyperglot Elaine Short
2015 Angelica Nora
She's Funny That Way Miriam
2016 Baked in Brooklyn David's Mom

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1973 Scream, Pretty Peggy Agnes Thornton TV Movie
1976 Ryan's Hope Martha McKee 12 Episodes
Gibbsville Carole Episode: "Trapped"
Serpico Erica Molinas Episode: "Rapid Fire"
1977 Family Susan Bowers Episode: "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..."
The Bob Newhart Show Veronica Kidd Episode: "The Heartbreak Kidd"
Barnaby Jones Laura Woods Episode: "Circle of Treachery"
The Amazing Howard Hughes Katharine Hepburn TV Movie
The World of Darkness Clara Sanford TV Movie
The Love Boat Susan Ridley Episode: "A Tasteful Affair/Oh, Dale!/The Main Event"
1978 Holocaust Helena Slomova 4 Episodes
Once Upon a Classic Sandy Episode: "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"
Terror Out of the Sky Jeannie Devereux TV Movie
1979 The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal Florence TV Movie
Beggarman, Thief Monika Wolner TV Movie
1980 The Women's Room Iso TV Movie
Murder Ink Laura Ireland Unknown Episodes
1984 Airwolf Sarah Lebow Episode: "Fight Like a Dove"
The Love Boat Margo Bush Episode: "Ace Meets the Champ/Why Justin Can't Read/Call Me a Doctor"
1985 The Equalizer Samantha Page Episode: "Desperately"
1987 Mariah Deena Hertz 7 Episodes
L.A. Law Lynn Palmer 2 Episodes
1990 ABC Afterschool Specials Mrs. Carr Episode: "All That Glitters"
1991 Against the Law Connor Episode: "Evil Conduct"
1991–2007 Law & Order Danielle Melnick 13 Episodes
1992 Lifestories: Families in Crisis Episode: "The Secret Life of Mary Margaret: Portrait of a Bulimic"
Citizen Cohn Iva Schlesinger TV Movie
CBS Schoolbreak Special Denise Warshak Episode: "Sexual Considerations"
1993 TriBeCa Sheila Goldberg Episode: "The Loft"
1994 As the World Turns Dr. Bethany Rose 13 Episodes
The Cosby Mysteries Rose Episode: "Home, Street Home"
1995 Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story Eleanor Alter TV Movie
1997 All My Children Lila Stevenson 2 Episodes
1998 A Will of their Own Mrs. Rubenstein Episode #1.1
1999 Cosby Episode: "There's Something About Hilton"
2002 The Education of Max Bickford Sharon Bickford 2 Episodes
2003 Queens Supreme Marie Episode: "Flawed Heroes"
The Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced Narrator TV Movie Documentary
2006–2007 Crossing Jordan Mrs. Elaine Brandau 3 Episodes
2010 Ugly Betty Mrs. Varner Episode: "Blackout!"
The Good Wife Lena Episode: "Doubt"
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Danielle Melnick Episode: "To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap"
2012 Beautiful People Lynch TV Movie
Covert Affairs Rivka Singer 2 Episodes
2015 Blue Bloods Sylvia Hayden Episode: "Bad Company"
Flesh and Bone Ivana 7 Episodes
2015–2016 The Walking Dead Deanna Monroe 11 Episodes
Recurring (Season 5)
Also Starring (Season 6)
2015–2019 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Naomi Bunch Recurring
2017 Salvation President Pauline Mackenzie 3 Episodes
Chicago Justice Danielle Melnick Episode: "Fake"
2018–present Star Wars Resistance Aunt Z (voice) 9 Episodes

TheatreEdit

Year Title Role Venue Notes
1973 Cyrano Foodsellar, Nuns Palace Theatre 49 performances
1974 Dreyfus in Rehearsal Myriam Ethel Barrymore Theatre 12 performances
1975 Rodgers & Hart Performer Helen Hayes Theatre 108 performances
1975–1976 Yentl Yentl Eugene O'Neill Theatre 223 performances
1979 Sarava Flor Mark Hellinger Theatre 177 performances
1989–1990 Lend Me a Tenor Maria Royale Theatre 476 performances
2003–2005 Golda's Balcony Golda Meir Helen Hayes Theatre 493 performances
2009 Irena's Vow Irena Gut Opdyke Walter Kerr Theatre 105 performances
2013–2015 Pippin Berthe Music Box Theatre 672 performances

Awards and nominationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ John A. Willis (2000). Screen World Volume 50: 1999. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 307. ISBN 978-1-55783-410-2.
  2. ^ "Tovah Feldshuh Bio". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  3. ^ HB Studio Alumni
  4. ^ "Tovah Feldshuh's official website". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  5. ^ a b c Jerry Tallmer (March 4, 2009). "Finding herself". The Villager. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Vernon Scott (April 1, 1994). "Capitalizing on the triumph of "Schindler's List" at last". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  7. ^ Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater by Davi Napoleon, Iowa State University Press, 1991. pp. 156-160.
  8. ^ "''Golda's Balcony''". Goldasbalcony.com. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-08-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "Tovah Feldshuh official website". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  10. ^ "Tallulah Hallelujah". Theatermania.com. 2000.
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew "Feldshuh to Return to Broadway in March in Irena's Vow" Archived 2008-12-25 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, December 22, 2008
  12. ^ "Tovah Feldshuh in Gypsy | Bristol Riverside Theatre". Brtstage.org. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2014-08-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ "Welcome to Tovah Feldshuh's Official Site!". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  14. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 21, 2015). "Review: Tovah Feldshuh Embraces Life at 54 Below". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Geoff Berkshire (March 1, 2015). "'Walking Dead' Q&A: Tovah Feldshuh On Playing Alexandria Leader Deanna Monroe and Rick's Big Shave". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  16. ^ Rosalie R. Radomsky (December 7, 2014). "A Broadway Baby Takes on a Co-Star". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Feldshuh, Tovah (June 23, 2015). "Tovah Feldshuh tweet (Verified Account)". Twitter.com. Retrieved July 6, 2015. My nephew Noah Feldshuh goes on Jimmy Fallon tonight he's the gorgeous one on the far right
  18. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (October 9, 2015). "Tovah Feldshuh at Home on the Upper West Side". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  19. ^ Jewish Culture website - report on Feldshuh Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ NFJC citations Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ League, The Broadway. "Tovah Feldshuh – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved 2018-10-09.

External linksEdit