The Nobel Prize committee praised him as a writer “who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”
Born in 1930 in Hackney, Harold Pinter attended Hackney Downs school and then pursued a career on stage, screen and as a writer. He became known for plays including The Birthday Party and The Caretaker, as well as The Homecoming, for which he won a Tony award.
Nineteen men and women were hanged in 1692 for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. At the time, under British law, consorting with the devil was viewed as a crime against their government.
The events of that year and the characters involved formed the basis for Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible. Born to Jewish immigrant parents in New York in 1915, Miller, who was married to Marilyn Monroe for five years, started his career as a journalist. While still a college student in 1936 he wrote his first play, No Villain.
October 1974 saw a record 45 Jewish MPs elected to parliament. Of those, 35 were “Jewish socialists” while ten were Conservatives. In total, 91 Jewish candidates stood for election, less than at the February vote.
However The JC reported that “at his own request, MP Clement Freud…is no longer included in the list of Jewish parliamentarians.”
With the appointment of Elana Kagan this year there are now three Jewish judges sitting on America’s highest court, and there have been eight in history. But Louis Dembitz Brandeis was the first.
Born in 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, his parents came to America from Europe. They sent their son for education in Germany He never attended college but managed to gain entrance to Harvard Law School, becoming one of its youngest students to be admitted to the bar.
He became a lawyer in Boston, making a name for himself as the champion of the underdog with fights for minimum wage laws.
From a New York Jewish family, Ethel Greenglass was one of only two people in American history to be executed for spying during peacetime. The other was her husband, Julius.
After a lengthy trial, the Rosenbergs were found guilty of passing atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. It was the height of the Red Scare and Joe McCarthy’s witch-hunt. Americans were consumed with rooting out those people who were not true “patriots”.
Can it really be only 12 years since Google began? The search engine was developed by Stanford University students Larry Page, of Jewish descent, and Sergey Brin, the son of Russian Jews who emigrated to America in 1979.
The composer made just five dollars from his first song but later became an American musical legend.
Turned down for a job by Irving Berlin when he was 20, George Gershwin was told: “You’re meant for big things.” The prophecy came true.
The son of immigrants from Russia, Jacob Gershowitz left school at 15 and began writing popular tunes for Broadway musicals, concert hall shows and operas. In 1927 Fred Astaire took to the stage in Funny Face, a musical Gershwin wrote in collaboration with his elder brother Ira. It was one of several successes they had together.