The epitome of the 'Nice Jewish Girl', this Newark- and Brooklyn-bred comedian and singer was a favorite on stage and radio from the 1910s through her death in 1951, though she never quite broke throu...
New York City, New York, USA
|Be Yourself||Actor||Fanny Field||7|
|Everybody Sing||Actor||Olga Chekaloff||7|
|Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women||2006||Actor||Herself||20067|
|Had nose done and changed name from "Fannie" to "Fanny" (date approximate)|
|First created character of Baby Snooks while appearing in the "Ziegfeld Follies"|
|Film debut in "My Man"|
|First appearance in "Ziegfeld Follies"|
|Began 13-year run as Baby Snooks on radio|
|Posthumously portrayed by Barbra Streisand in Broadway musical "Funny Girl" (filmed 1968)|
|Family moved from Lower East Side of NYC to Newark, NJ, to Brooklyn during Brice's early years|
|Only starring role in a non-musical, "Fanny"|
|Made radio debut|
|Final film appearance in "The Ziegfeld Follies"|
|Introduced theme song "My Man" in "Ziegfeld Follies of 1921"|
|Made stage debut at Keeney's Theater, Brooklyn|
Like many stage stars, Brice did not translate well to film. She made two early talkies, "My Man" (1928) and "Be Yourself!" (1930) before returning to the stage. Her subsequent film career was indifferent at best. She played herself in the biopic "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936) and did a sketch in the variety film "The Ziegfeld Follies" (1946). Her only other film was as Judy Garland's maid in "Everybody Sing" (1938).
Radio, however, brought Brice a worldwide fame eclipsing even her stage career. She had done guest spots on radio shows as early as 1932, and in 1938 debuted her own program. Brice played Baby Snooks, a mischievous child always getting into scrapes and annoying her "Daddy." The show ran through 1949 on CBS radio and was thereafter picked up by NBC, where it ran until Brice's death in 1951.
Brice's private life made as many headlines as did her shows. After a brief first marriage, she wed Nicky Arnstein, who was jailed in 1924 for masterminding an embezzlement scheme (Fanny's comment was "he couldn't mastermind an electric bulb into a socket"). She stuck by him through his jail term, but later divorced Arnstein and wed producer-songwriter Billy Rose, who later left her for swimmer and showgirl Eleanor Holm. Down-to-earth and well-liked within the theatrical community, Brice moonlighted in her later years as a popular interior decorator.
Today, Fanny Brice is best known as the alter ego of Barbra Streisand, who portrayed her in the Broadway musical "Funny Girl" (1964) and its film version (1968, produced by Brice's son-in-law Ray Stark), as well as the sequel "Funny Lady" (1975). Singing Brice's old numbers ("My Man," "I'd Rather Be Blue") as well as original songs, Streisand brought a renovated Brice to the attention of fans too young to remember the original.
|Jules Arndtstein||Husband||Arndtstein jailed 1924-26 for embezzling $5 million|
|Charles Borach||Father||of French descent|
|Rose Borach||Mother||born in Hungary|
|William Brice||Son||survived her|
|Lew Brice||Brother||born 1892; survived her|
|Phil Brice||Brother||eldest sibling; died in his 20s|
|Wendy Morrisey||Granddaughter||West Coast editor, VANITY FAIR|
|Carolyn Saul||Sister||born 1890; survived her|
|Frances Stark||Daughter||born 1919; married Ray Stark who produced stage and film versions of "Funny Girl; " died 1992|
|Peter Stark||Grandson||died 1970|
|"I never worked out any business ahead of time. It would only happen when I hit that audience, because they speak so much louder than my mind. I could hear them much clearer. They would tell me what they wanted. You get your first laugh--boom! You're going. You lose yourself. You become whoever it is they're laughing at, but it isn't you...If you're a comic you have to be nice. The audience has to like you. You have to have a softness about you, because if you do comedy and you are harsh, there is something offensive about it." --Fanny Brice quoted in "The Fabulous Fanny" by Norman Katkov.|
|"Being a funny person does an awful lot of things to you. You feel that you mustn't get serious with people. They don't expect it from you, and they don't want to see it. You're not entitled to be serious, you're a clown, and they only want you to make them laugh." --Brice quoted in "The Fabulous Fanny".|
|Besides being portrayed by Barbra Streisand, Brice was played by Alice Faye in "Rose of Washington Square" (1939), Rosalind Harris in the 1984 film "The Cotton Club," and by Catherine Jacoby in the 1978 TV-movie "Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women" (NBC).|
|"When you're young you make pictures in your head, you have ideas. You pick the type guy you want. But if I went to a party and there was one no-good bastard in the room, I'd go for him right away. It's so funny: for my friends I must have admiration and I must respect them. In fact, I never liked the men I loved, and never loved the men I liked." --Fanny Brice quoted in "The Fabulous Fanny".|
|"I was always amused by the high society people as much as they were amused by me. They were just a big study to me. I never kidded myself. I never said, 'oh, kid, you're in society now.' I knew I didn't belong there ... I knew they liked me because they knew I didn't give a damn for them, except if they were interesting." --Brice quoted in "The Fabulous Fanny".|
|According to an article by James L. Neibaur in Classic Images (December 1996), Brice appeared in several Warner Brothers talking shorts.|
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