Arts interviews

Interview: Alexis Zegerman

By John Nathan, October 30, 2008

‘I thought I'd made the wrong decision", says Alexis Zegerman. The one-time waitress, estate agent and office worker is talking about a period in her life when it seemed that getting work as an actor was beyond reach.

Her mother, Adele, who left school when she was 15 and was determined that her children would get the best possible education even if she had to pay for it, had hoped that Alexis would choose something a little more secure.

"You could be a barrister. They act," her mother had said. But Zegerman was determined.

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Interview: Sarah Silverman

By Adam Sonin, October 23, 2008

What do we know about Sarah Silverman? She is 37, lives in Los Angeles, and has a dog called Duck. Oh, and she is regarded as the world's hottest and most controversial comedian, having carved a reputation in her native United States for taboo-busting stand-up routines - subjects covered include race, rape and abortion - delivered in the persona of a sweet-faced Jewish princess.

Occasionally, her desire to shock misfires - her use of the word "Chink" to describe Chinese Americans resulted in her having to defend her humour on national TV.

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Interview: Thomas Friedman

By David Herman, October 23, 2008

Thomas Friedman is the most famous journalist in the world. Bar none. It is not because he has won the Pulitzer Prize three times. Nor because he has written five books, some of them big bestsellers. Friedman is so influential because he writes a foreign affairs column which appears twice a week in The New York Times and which is syndicated to 100 other newspapers worldwide. Friedman is read from Cairo to Cape Town; from LA to Shanghai.

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Cosmo Landesman

By Simon Round, October 17, 2008

If there was ever a competition to find the world's most embarrassing parents, Cosmo Landesman would be in with a real chance.

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Interview: David Dawson

By Julia Weiner, October 10, 2008

British art's grand old man never gives interviews, but here his assistant reveals how he works, and what he thinks of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.


Lucian Freud is regularly described as the world's greatest living painter. Now that a new exhibition has just opened in London focusing on his early works, public interest is again high. Yet Freud, as ever, is reluctant to engage with the media.

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Interview: Harry Shearer

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

He's the satirist who helped create spoof rock group Spinal Tap and who provides voices in The Simpsons. Now he's expressing his contempt for George Bush... in song.


Sometimes in showbusiness, an opportunity presents itself which is too good to turn down - a project whose potential is so obvious that everyone instinctively knows that it will succeed spectacularly.

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Interview: Denis Norden

By Gerald Jacobs, October 3, 2008

Denis Norden is best known as the host of a TV out-takes show. But he made his name as one of the best scriptwriters of his generation.


Shortly after the Second World War, Denis Norden was employed by the Hyman Zahl Variety Agency. In his new book, Clips from a Life, Norden recalls the legendary wartime exploits of one of Zahl's artists, a comedian called Harry, who gave many performances in dangerous circumstances at Dover when it was under attack from German guns and aircraft.

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Interview: Idina Menzel

By Paul Lester, September 26, 2008

Acting, singing, comedy - Idina Menzel can do it all, and that includes severe self-doubt. It has a lot to do with her parents.


Idina Menzel is one of the biggest names in musical theatre, having appeared in Rent on Broadway and Wicked in the West End, as well as a film actress, starring most recently in Disney fantasy, Enchanted. She is also a recording artist, her latest, mostly self-penned album, I Stand, being produced by Glen Ballard, the man who helped Alanis Morissette sell 16 million copies of Jagged Little Pill.

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Interview: Elie Wiesel

By Miriam Shaviv, September 26, 2008

Acclaimed Holocaust writer Elie Wiesel has found fame with a new generation of readers after Oprah Winfrey endorsed his book, Night.


Several years ago, Elie Wiesel's publisher suggested that he have Night, the account of life in the concentration camps which originally made his name, retranslated from the original Yiddish.

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Interview: Howard Jacobson

By Gerald Jacobs, September 4, 2008

Howard Jacobson explains the issues he has with rabbis, Philip Roth and Woody Allen - and why that makes him feel more haimishe than ever.

Howard Jacobson quite reasonably describes himself as "entirely and completely Jewish". Put him in a room together with a rabbi, and you will get Jewish electricity - an especially intense connection.

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