film | savannah jewish film festival
Best of the red hot mamas television. For six decades, audiences flocked to see her sing and perform her self-deprecating shtick, and the batwing arms of her BEFORE THERE was ever such a thing celebrity reached around the world. as a supermodel or a Kardashian, the world’s “She was as big as Elvis. Or Madonna,” best-known multimedia sex symbol was a confirms former fellow nightclub act Tony loud, fat lady named Sophie Tucker. Bennett in a new feature-length film, The Possessed with a formidable girth and Outrageous Sophie Tucker, closing out the an even fuller voice, Sophie Tucker reigned Savannah Jewish Film Festival this Saturday, over every single performance platform that Jan. 31. existed in the early 20th century, from vaudeBorn in 1887 somewhere in between the ville and Broadway stages to radio to film to pogrom-infested Ukraine and the golden By Jessica Leigh Lebos
streets of America, Sonia Kalish was the daughter of Jewish immigrants who settled in Hartford, CT. The whole family cooked and cleaned in their kosher restaurant, which proved far too boring for the gregarious young girl, who used to belt out tunes for tips in the doorway. She eloped at 16—but when she found marriage and motherhood just as oppressive, she ditched her schlemiel of a husband, left her son with her parents and split for New York City.
She renamed herself Sophie Tucker, and her first showbiz gig came soon after—performing in blackface as a ring shouter for a vaudeville director who told her she was “too big and ugly” to go on as herself. She conveniently forgot her makeup kit while on tour and marched on stage anyway. After a stint with the famed Ziegfield Follies in 1909, the bawdy Jewish babe with the big hips became a headlining act all over the country with her signature songs “Some of the These Days” and “My Yiddishe Momma.”
JAN 28-FEB 3, 2015
Jewish Film Fest biopic stars improbably sexy Sophie Tucker
34 Born in Ukraine in 1887, little Sonia Kalish and her great big voice grew up to be Sophie Tucker, one of the most successful entertainers of the 20th century.