Terri Sue Feldshuh
December 27, 1948
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Sarah Lawrence College|
|Occupation(s)||Actress, singer, playwright|
Andrew Harris Levy
Terri Sue "Tovah" Feldshuh (born December 27, 1948) 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.
Feldshuh is of Jewish heritage, the daughter of Lillian (née Kaplan) and Sidney Feldshuh, who was a lawyer. 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 class. She studied acting at HB Studio in New York City. She started her career under theater director Michael Langham at the Guthrie Theater, where she was awarded the McKnight Fellowship in Acting.
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!" 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".
She made her Broadway debut in the short-lived 1973 musical Cyrano starring Christopher Plummer. She appeared in the titular 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.
Her other Broadway credits include Saravá, 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.
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, Dallas, Houston, 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. In 2000, she co-wrote and performed in a one-woman play about actress Tallulah Bankhead titled Tallulah Hallelujah!
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. In 2012, Feldshuh performed as Mama Rose in a revival of Gypsy.
At the September 21, 2013, Broadway performance of Pippin, Andrea Martin's last performance as Berthe (Pippin's grandmother) was announced to be the following day, and Feldshuh would be subsequently taking over the role. In 2014, she starred in Gypsy at the Bristol Riverside Theatre as Mama Rose.
Film and television
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, she played Katharine Hepburn in The Amazing Howard Hughes. Also in 1977, she appeared on The Bob Newhart Show as Veronica Kidd, in an episode called "The Heartbreak Kidd" (season five, episode 18), which aired February 5. However, Feldshuh came to international prominence as Helena Slomova in the 1978 miniseries Holocaust, based on Gerald Green's novel. Between 1991 and 2007, Feldshuh had a recurring role as defense attorney Danielle Melnick on NBC's Law & Order. (In 2018, Feldshuh was to reprise 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.)
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 Pioneers for a Cure, with the proceeds benefiting Ellen's Run.
In March 2015, Feldshuh made 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. She also appeared in the six-part miniseries Flesh and Bone, which debuted in 2015 on Starz.
From 2015 to 2019, Feldshuh had a recurring role on the musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Naomi Bunch, the image-conscious and hypercritical mother of the show's main character, Rebecca Bunch, played by Rachel Bloom.
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 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 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." Her nephew Noah Feldshuh is a member of alternative rock band X Ambassadors.
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.
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.
In March 2015, Feldshuh hiked Mount Kilimanjaro with her son. She explained to 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."
|1980||The Idolmaker||Brenda Roberts|
|1981||Cheaper to Keep Her||K.D. Locke|
|1984||An All Consuming Passion||Vivian Palmer||Video|
|Silver Bullet||Older Jane (voice)|
|1988||The Blue Iguana||Detective Vera Quinn|
|En dag i oktober||Emma Kublitz|
|Comfortably Numb||Victoria Stevens|
|1997||Hudson River Blues||Charlotte|
|The Real Shlemiel||Zlateh The Goat, Aunt Sarah, The Matchmaker (voice)|
|Charlie Hoboken||Angie Cedars|
|1999||A Walk on the Moon||Lillian Kantrowitz|
|The Corruptor||US Attorney 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|
|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|
|A House Divided||Rebecca Meir|
|2009||Acts of Mercy||Nurse Ruth Baker|
|2010||A Buddy Story||Buddy's Mom|
|Ten Stories Tall||Grace Parker|
|2012||All the Broken Pieces||Grandmother||Short|
|2014||A Little Game||Blackstone Head of School|
|She's Funny That Way||Miriam|
|2016||Baked in Brooklyn||David's Mom|
|2018||The Art of Saying Goodbye||Blanche|
|2019||Golda's Balcony||Golda Meir|
|Remember Amnesia||Dr. Paula Smith|
|Love Type D||Dr. Elsa Blomgren|
|Happily Ever After||Dr. Lynne Klein|
|2020||The Book of Ruth||Ruth||Short|
|2021||Clifford the Big Red Dog||Mrs. Crullerman|
|2022||Armageddon Time||Mickey Rabinowitz|
|1973||Scream, Pretty Peggy||Agnes Thornton||TV movie|
|1976||Ryan's Hope||Martha McKee||12 episodes|
|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||Annie||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)
|2015–2018||Crazy Ex-Girlfriend||Naomi Bunch||Recurring|
|2017–2018||Salvation||President Pauline Mackenzie||9 episodes|
|2017||Chicago Justice||Danielle Melnick||Episode: "Fake"|
|2018–2020||Star Wars Resistance||Aunt Z (voice)||14 episodes|
|2019||Bull||Judge Garner||Episode: "Prior Bad Acts"|
|Elena of Avalor||Grandma Miriam (voice)||Episode: "Festival of Lights"|
|2021||Scenes from a Marriage||Miriaym||Miniseries, 1 episode|
|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||Saravá||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|
|2022||Funny Girl||Mrs. Brice||August Wilson Theatre||starting September 6, 2022|
Awards and nominations
- John A. Willis (2000). Screen World Volume 50: 1999. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 307. ISBN 978-1-55783-410-2.
- "Tovah Feldshuh Bio". Filmreference.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- HB Studio Alumni
- "Tovah Feldshuh's official website". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Jerry Tallmer (March 4, 2009). "Finding herself". The Villager. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Vernon Scott (April 1, 1994). "Capitalizing on the triumph of "Schindler's List" at last". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
- Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater by Davi Napoleon, Iowa State University Press, 1991. pp. 156–160.
- "Golda's Balcony". Goldasbalcony.com. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- "Tovah Feldshuh official website". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "Tallulah Hallelujah". Theatermania.com. 2000.
- Gans, Andrew "Feldshuh to Return to Broadway in March in Irena's Vow" Archived December 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, December 22, 2008
- "Tovah Feldshuh in Gypsy | Bristol Riverside Theatre". Brtstage.org. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- "Welcome to Tovah Feldshuh's Official Site!". Tovahfeldshuh.com. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- Holden, Stephen (February 21, 2015). "Review: Tovah Feldshuh Embraces Life at 54 Below". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Culwell-Block, Logan (July 11, 2022). "It's Official: Lea Michele to Star as Fanny Brice in Broadway's Funny Girl; Tovah Feldshuh Will Co-Star as Mrs. Brice".
- 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.
- Rosalie R. Radomsky (December 7, 2014). "A Broadway Baby Takes on a Co-Star". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Feldshuh, Tovah (June 23, 2015). "Tovah Feldshuh tweet (Verified Account)". Twitter. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
My nephew Noah Feldshuh goes on Jimmy Fallon tonight he's the gorgeous one on the far right
- Warshof, Jason (May 18, 2016). "X Ithacans: Ambassadors rock the State". Ithaca Times.
- Kaufman, Joanne (October 9, 2015). "Tovah Feldshuh at Home on the Upper West Side". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- Jewish Culture website – report on Feldshuh Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- NFJC citations Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- League, The Broadway. "Tovah Feldshuh – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". www.ibdb.com. Retrieved October 9, 2018.