Lillian Sylvia Lukashefsky
June 20, 1918
|Died||June 11, 2005 (aged 86)|
(1938–1986) (his death) 2 children
Lillian Lux (June 20, 1918 – June 11, 2005) was an American singer, author, songwriter and actress in Yiddish theater and Yiddish vaudeville in the United States, Israel and other Yiddish speaking communities in the diaspora.
Life and career
Lillian Sylvia Lukashefsky was born in Brooklyn. Her father, a jeweler, had originally wanted to become an actor. He sent his daughter to the Yiddish Art Theater, where Lux began performing when she was just seven years old. By the age of 14, Lux was a chorus girl and involved in various Yiddish radio programs. Working in the Catskills, she was teamed with a young Danny Kaye; the friendship that began from the working relationship was lifelong.
She met her future husband, Polish-born Israeli Yiddish-language actor-director Pesach Burstein, in 1938 when he hired her for his theater company's South American tour. While on the tour, the couple was married in Montevideo, Uruguay. Lux's most notable roles in her milieu were The Komediant and A Khasene in Shtetl (A Wedding in the Village), both of which were directed by her husband. Her most critically acclaimed performance was in Itzik Manger's Songs of the Megillah (Yiddish: Megille Lider - the longest running Yiddish production to date in Israel, released on Broadway as Megilla of Itzik Manger). It was also Lux's only role on Broadway.
She played roles alongside her husband, and often alongside her twin children Mike and Susan, who were born in 1945; the performing family was advertised as the Four Bursteins. In 1962, the family moved to Israel. On the 100th anniversary of her husband's birth in 1996, director Arnon Goldfinger directed a documentary film about the lives and careers of the Burstein family -The Komediant.
The move for the Burstein troupe to tackle serious theater (when they produced Megilla of Itzak Menger) was part orchestrated by Lux. She also ran a cosmetics company - Lily of Israel. Although critically panned, she wrote a number of the songs and musicals her family appeared in, and has also appeared in Israeli and American films, and American television, including roles in The Body and Law and Order.
She also co-authored her husband's autobiography - What a Life! in Yiddish (Geshpilt a Lebn, 1980), which was later translated into English. Lux and her husband are buried in the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance section—Block 67—of Mount Hebron Cemetery. This section is reserved for those who worked in New York Yiddish theater; the section is maintained by the Alliance.
- "Maurice Schwartz and the Yiddish Art Theater". Museum of Family History. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
- Miller, Stephen (14 Jun 2005). "Lillian Lux, 86, International Star of Yiddish Stage". New York Sun. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
- The Komediant, New Yorker Video, New York, 1999
- What a Life! The Autobiography of Pesach'ke Burstein, Yiddish Matinee Idol; by Pesach'ke Burstein and Lillian Lux; Syracuse University Press, 2003 (ISBN 0815607849)
- Kilgannon, Corey (2011-03-15). "Yiddish Theater Bids Farewell to Shifra Lerer". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-20.
- "Yiddish Theatrical Alliance-names of those buried in YTA cemetery sections". Museum of Family History. Retrieved 2 April 2011.