Tovah Feldshuh

Active - 1973 - Present  |   Born - Dec 27, 1952 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

After attending Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Michigan, Tovah Feldshuh studied acting with Uta Hagen and Jacques LeCoq. Feldshuh made her professional debut at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Cyrano de Bergerac; it was in this selfsame play that she made her Broadway bow in 1973. The following year, she was honored with the Theatre World Award for her starring appearance in Yentl. She later worked with the American Shakespeare Festival, starred in such Broadway productions as Sarava (1978) and Lend Me a Tenor (1989), and toured in her own one-woman show.

Feldshuh inaugurated her film career in 1973 on a less-than-prestigious note with Scream, Pretty Peggy. Though the quality of her films improved over the next 20 years, she is held in higher esteem for her TV appearances. Feldshuh has been seen as Katharine Hepburn in the made-for-TV biopic The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) and as Helena Slomova in the blockbuster miniseries Holocaust (1978); she also appeared as a regular on the ABC daytimer Ryan's Hope and as prison psychiatrist Dr. Deena Hertz in the prime-time weekly Mariah (1987). In addition to her acting accomplishments, Tovah Feldshuh has been active in numerous Jewish civic and charitable causes; for these and other selfless efforts, she has been honored with the Israeli Government Friendship Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.

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  • Started using her Hebrew name (Tovah) after a boyfriend said the name Terri Sue didn't fit her.  
  • Her older brother David wrote the play Miss Evers' Boys, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.
  • In high school, wrote and directed the senior class play.
  • Won the McKnight Fellowship in Acting to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
  • Made her Broadway debut in the musical Cyrano in 1973, opposite Christopher Plummer.
  • Played the title role in the original Broadway production of Yentl in 1975.
  • Actress Ruth Gordon was her maid of honor at her 1977 wedding to attorney Andrew Harris Levy.
  • Replaced Andrea Martin as Berthe in the 2013 revival production of Pippin; the role required her to sing a song while performing on a trapeze. 
  • Supports Seeds of Peace, an organization that helps teens from regions of conflict.
  • Was awarded the Israel Peace Medal.