JUF's Jewish Celebrities

Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes

Yep, Amanda from The Amanda Show, is Jewish! Her new movie, Easy A, is about a high schooler who makes sure she looks great... by making sure everyone else looks awful! She's what they call a "rumor-monger," which means she spreads stories about her classmates.

Amanda has been in the movie version of the musical Hairspray, and in the animated movie, Robots. Both are selections for our Movies of the Month! She is also the star of Sydney White, which was originally subtitled and the Seven Dorks... which might be a retelling of some fairy tale or other, we think, maybe. Sara Paxton is in that... and so are Jewish actors Samm Levine from the Scream movies and Freaks and Geeks and Danny Strong from Buffy (which was about screaming, freaks, and geeks!)

Recently, she was in the TV movie Living Proof, starring Jewish piano man Harry Connick, Jr. In 2002, she co-starred with Jennie Garth in What I Like About You as Holly, a 16-year-old girl who moves in with her sister after their father decides to move to Japan (Leslie Grossman was in that, too).

Amanda Laura Bynes was born on April 3, 1986 in Thousand Oaks, California. The youngest of three children, she became interested in acting and performing from the very young age of three, when she would say her older sister Jillian's lines with her while she performed in plays.

In 1999, thirteen-year-old Amanda was given her own variety show, The Amanda Show, in which she starred in all of the skits except "Totally Kyle" (which was totally about Kyle, see?). One of Amanda's earliest TV moments was when she gave introduced the "Jewish/Catholic" episode of A Walk In Your Shoes on Nickolodeon's Noggin channel. The intro featured Amanda talking about her half-Jewish, half-Catholic upbringing and how intersting it is to practice different religions.

Although The Amanda Show went off the air in 2001 when Amanda was at the ripe old age of fifteen, Ms. Bynes has been keeping busy. Amanda also celebrated her Sweet Sixteenth birthday and got her driver's license on April 3, 2002.

Amanda recently graduated from high school and filmed Lovewreck soon after. On April 3, 2004, she celebrated her eighteenth birthday by winning a KCA Award for best actress in her role as Daphne, a girl searching for her father in What a Girl Wants. 


Harry Connick Jr. made his name by doing the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally, which had Billy CrystalCarrie Fisher, and Rob Reiner, who also directed it. (Nora Ephron wrote it.)

The soundrack was full of Jewish composers, since Harry (the piano player not the character in the movie!) played classic songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Gus Kahn, Rogers and Hart (Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart), Rogers and Hammerstein (the same Richard Rogers, this time with Oscar Hammerstein II), Max Steiner, Benny Goodman, and Irving Berlin... all of whom were Jewish, and wrote some of the most timeless songs. Trust us, your grandkids will not know anything by Britney Spears or the Jonas Brothers, but they will still know these songs! 

The rest of the soundtrack that plays in the background was written by Marc Shaiman, who is also Jewish. We wrote about him in our Hairspray article.

Harry also took a break from piano playing Leo, who dates Grace, Debra Messing's character, on Will and Grace. He was also in the romances PS I Love You, and Hope Floats and in the sci-fi faves Independence Day and The Iron Giant. Plus, he narrated My Dog Skip.

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