Leo Fuchs (May 15, 1911 – December 31, 1994) was a Polish-born Jewish American actor. According to YIVO, born Avrum Leib Fuchs in Warsaw; according to Schechter, born in Lwów, Galicia, then Poland, now Lviv, Ukraine).
Fuchs performed in many Yiddish and English plays and movies throughout the mid-twentieth century, and was famed as a comic, a dancer, and a coupletist. He wrote much of his own material and toured widely.
Fuchs was born into a Yiddish theatrical family: his father, Yakov Fuchs, was a character actor; his mother, Róża Fuchs (Ruzha Fuchs), was "a leading lady of the musical theatre who perished in the Holocaust." He began acting (in Polish) when he was five years old, and was praised when he performed at the Warsaw cabaret Qui Pro Quo when he was 17.
His American debut was at the Second Avenue Theater in the Yiddish Theater District in Lucky Boy with Moishe Oysher in 1929. He moved to New York City in 1935, In his prime, he was known as "The Yiddish Fred Astaire", appearing both on Broadway and in film. In 1936, he married fellow actor Mirele Gruber and toured with her through Poland for a year next year. In 1937 he made two movies, the short I Want to Be a Boarder (in which he sang his famous song Trouble) and I Want to Be a Mother with Yetta Zwerling. In 1940 he starred in Americaner Shadchen (American Matchmaker). He divorced in 1941 and later married Rebecca Richman.
Starting in the 1960s, Fuchs performed in English-language films, plays, and television. Two of his best-known roles later in life included Hymie Krichinsky in the film Avalon and the doomed Herr Shultz in the original Broadway production of Cabaret, opposite Lotte Lenya. He died in Los Angeles in 1994.
- Leo Fuchs papers at YIVO archives
- Schechter, p. 80.
- Zalmen Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn teater, Book five, 4053
- "Save the Music bio: Leo Fuchs". Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
- Joel Schechter: Messiahs of 1933: how American Yiddish theatre He ate his own leg and became a goat through satire
- Leo Fuchs: Born Laybl Springer in Lemberg. Caraid O'Brien, 2nd Avenue site. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
- Lugowski, p. 63.
- Friedman, p. 36.
- Leo Fuchs bio at IMDb. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
- Friedman, Jonathan C. Rainbow Jews: Jewish and Gay Identity in the Performing Arts. Plymouth, UK: Lexington, 2007.
- Lugowski, David. "'Pintele' Queer: The Performance of Jewish Male Heterosexuality in Yiddish American Cinema of the Great Depression." In Griffin, Sean. Hetero: Queering Representations of Straightness. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009. 53-70.
- Schechter, Joel. Messiahs of 1933: How American Yiddish Theatre Survived Adversity through Satire. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2008.