Bern, one of the last remaining stars of Yiddish theatre in the U.S., passed away in New York on Sunday (10Jan10), after suffering heart failure.
With her second husband, late actor Ben Bonus, she toured the U.S., Canada and Latin America starring in Yiddish revues.
The couple brought shows to Broadway, including Let’s Sing Yiddish Light and Lively and Yiddish, and in the 1960s operated a theater on Second Avenue.
In 2002, Bern starred in a production of Yentl, based on a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. In 2005, she performed a one-woman show about her life. She also took roles in Hollywood movies including Crossing Delancey in 1988, Avalon in 1990 and I’m Not Rappaport in 1996.
In 1999, she was awarded an Obie award for “sustained excellence”.
She is survived by her daughter, Renya Pearlman, two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.