JUF's Jewish Celebrities

Marissa Jaret Winokur

Marissa Jaret Winokur

Mariss'a next two projects are voices in the popular toon shows American Dad and King of the Hill.

But you might know Marissa from three other places. Recently, she danced up a storm on the smash hit show Dancing with the Stars!

On stage, she is the Tony-winning star of the smash hit 1950s-style musical Hairspray, with Jewish actor Harvey Fierstein (the movie version of Hairspray is one of our Movies of the Month!)…

...and Marissa was on Stacked, a sitcom set in a bookstore, with Pamela Anderson and Elon Gold. By the way, you say her last name like this: win-O-kur.

She stared in, and produced, a new romantic comedy, Always a Bridesmaid. Her other films include Fever Pitch with Ione Skye, Scary Movie, and Never Been Kissed with Michael Vartan and David Arquette.

Marissa's dad is a retired architect and her mother was a teacher. She grew up in New York and studied acting there. She joined the touring company of Grease, another musical set in the 1950s… which is how she met her husband, who was also in the show! How cute!


One of Marissa's two famous uncles was S.J. Perelman, one of the best American humorists ever. He wrote two movies for the Marx Brothers, and won an Oscar for the movie version of Around the World in Eighty Days. He also wrote several volumes about his own travels-- including one around the world!-- and funny articles for The New Yorker.

Her other uncle was Nathaniel West, a bestselling novelist.

S.J., the Marx Brothers, and Nathaniel were all Jewish!

Bonus Bonus:

Harvey Fierstein has a scratchy voice, and a scratchy sense of humor. He broke into the big time with his play-and-then-movie Torch Song Trilogy, about growing up Jewish and gay. Matthew Broderick was in the movie version.

Harvey's been in a couple of movies you might know and like. He was in Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams (Harvey played Uncle Frank), Independence Day with Jeff Goldblum, Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway... and he was the voice of the little dragon, Yao, in Mulan

Also, he did a voice in the animated version of a kid's book he wrote, The Sissy Duckling. This duckling isn't ugly, he just doesn't like to play rough sports and would rather spend his time dreaming up stories. This upsets his father, until his father gets sick and the duckling entertains him with his stories. Aww!

Lately, Harvey's been back on Broadway, where he started and earned his four (so far!) Tony Awards. The play version of Torch Song Trilogy won him in first two Tonys, for acting and writing. He then won for writing the story to La Cage Aux Folles. His fourth one was for his return to Boadway in Hairspray

Then, Harvey's starred in that most Jewish of musicals, Fiddler on the Roof! Yep, he's Tevye!

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