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Hollywood Now: Barbra Streisand Sings for Netflix, November Movies & Jon Stewart Hosts a Special Night

Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand. Credit: Netflix

All the Memories for Barbra

Barbra Streisand’s concert special Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic! comes to Netflix November 22. It celebrates her six-decade career  with performances, behind-the-scenes glimpses and guest appearances by Jamie Foxx, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCartney. The Jewish singer has been married to actor James Brolin, who is not Jewish, since 1988.

Daveed Diggs
Daveed Diggs. Credit: Dale Robinette/Lionsgate

Daveed is a Wonder on the Big Screen

Daveed Diggs is known for his work on stage (Hamilton) and TV (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Get Down and producing The Mayor), but he’d never done a film before he was cast in Wonder as teacher Mr. Browne, whose class includes a bullied boy with facial abnormalities (Room’s Jacob Tremblay). “I learned from the kids on set who are a lot more experienced than me,” says Diggs. He’s no stranger to teaching, however: He taught poetry and acting in his native Oakland, California before finding fame as a rapper and actor, and thinks the professions have things in common. “Teaching is a lot like acting, but even more like doing rap shows,” he says.

The son of a white Jewish mother and African-American father, who is not Jewish, Diggs is often asked about his unusual name. “When I was born, my parents had seven dogs, all with Hebrew names: Mezuzah, Delilah, Hamantaschen, Shlomo…I was just the next in line,” he says, explaining that they chose the name, meaning “beloved” in Hebrew, “but spelled it with two E’s in the hope that people wouldn’t call me David, but it doesn’t work.”

Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as the boy’s loving parents, is in theaters November 17.

Gary Oldman and Ben Mendelssohn
Gary Oldman and Ben Mendelssohn at the Darkest Hour premiere. Credit: Focus Features

Gary and Ben make the Darkest Hour Bright

As the newly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, brilliantly leads England through its Darkest Hour on the eve of World War II, but Ben Mendelssohn is equally impressive as King George VI, in the drama, out November 22. Mendelssohn (Bloodline) is the Melbourne, Australia-born son of a Christian mother and a father of Prussian-Jewish ancestry. He’ll next appear as the villain in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi movie Ready Player One, out March 30.

Patton Oswalt, Martha Plimpton & Meredith Salenger
Patton Oswalt, Martha Plimpton & Meredith Salenger. Credit: @meredithsalenger/Instagram

Mazel Tov, Patton Oswalt!

In his terrific Netflix standup comedy special Annihilation, actor-comedian Patton Oswalt talks about many things including the president, social media and coping with the loss of late wife Michelle McNamara, who died last year. Since then, Oswalt found love again with Jewish actress Meredith Salenger, whom he married November 4 in Hollywood. The newlyweds met through mutual friend Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope), who invited them to a dinner party last February. Oswalt couldn’t attend, and Salenger sent him a Facebook message about the wonderful dinner he missed, which led to several months of messages before they finally met in person in May. Plimpton officiated at the wedding ceremony, which ended with Oswalt breaking the glass amid cheers of “Mazel Tov!”

Oswalt co-stars with Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman in the drama Nostalgia, in theaters in February. He also stars in the comedy series A.P. Bio, set to premiere in midseason on NBC.

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington. Credit: Sony Pictures

Denzel’s New Movie

Denzel Washington stars in Roman J. Israel, Esq., a thriller in which the titular attorney he plays makes a decision that compromises everything he stands for. Also starring Colin Farrell and opening November 17, director Dan Gilroy’s film is set to music by composer James Newton Howard, who has scored such films as Pretty Woman, The Sixth Sense, The Fugitive, The Dark Knight and previously worked with Gilroy on Nightcrawler. Working on the Holocaust film Defiance held special significance for him. Howard was raised Christian, but later learned that his father, who died when Howard was young, was Jewish. He was in his mid-30s when he found out and has identified as Jewish ever since.

Rachel Brosnahan
Rachel Brosnahan. Credit: Amazon

Rachel Brosnahan’s Latest Streaming on Amazon

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, about a1950s Jewish housewife and mother (Rachel Brosnahan) who becomes a standup comedian after her husband leaves her for another woman, is from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and bears her trademark witty, rapid fire dialogue. The daughter of a Jewish father and Southern Baptist mother, she says she was “raised Jewish, sort of.” Michael Zegen, Tony Shalhoub, Alex Borstein and Marin Hinkle co-star in the Amazon series, which begins streaming November 29.

Jon Stewart
via Wikimedia Commons

Jon Stewart Plays Host to a Special Night

Jon Stewart hosts the Night of Too Many Stars gala, HBO’s benefit for NEXT for Autism, on November 18. One of the stars set to appear is Adam Sandler, who, like Stewart, is Jewish and married to a wife who is not. Ben Stiller, the son of an interfaith marriage (Jewish actor Jerry Stiller and Catholic actress Anne Meara) is also on the guest list.

Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller wrote and reported from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, The Nosher, Hadassah and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner in Israel and attended High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.


Author: Gerri Miller