Luther Adler


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(1903–84), actor. The son of Jacob Adler, he was born in New York, where he made his earliest appearance in Yiddish theatre, then acted with the Provincetown Players. His Broadway debut was as Leon Kantor, the young violinist with a self-sacrificing mother, in Humoresque (1923). His other memorable performances include Sam, the law student, in Street Scene (1929); Don Fernando in Night Over Taos (1932); the vicious, ambitious Sam Ginsburg in Success Story (1932); Julian Vardaman, the radical professor, opposite Katharine Cornell in Alien Corn (1933); Dr. Gordon, the steadfast, middle-aged physician, in Men in White (1933); and Moe Axelrod, the crippled war veteran, in Awake and Sing! (1935). His most important role may well have been Joe Bonaparte, who abandons a promising career as a violinist to make money as a fighter, in Golden Boy (1937). Many of his later assignments were as replacements to original stars, such as Joseph Schildkraut in Uncle Harry and Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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