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Tenen Holtz

Elihu "Elye" Tenenholtz was born in the Russian hamlet of Azran, near the city of Rovne, in 1887 and came to the US at the age of ten. His first appearance in amateur Yiddish theatricals occurred in 1903, in staged readings of the works of Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem, the first person to do that. He augmented his theater appearances by writing for and editing a Yiddish satirical magazine under the pen-name "Moishe McCarthy". In 1916 he made the leap to the professional Yiddish stage and, befriended by the great doyenne Bessie Thomashevsky, helped her pen her memoirs, the first publication documenting a Yiddish actor's life. By 1920 he was appearing on both the Yiddish art stage with Maurice Schwartz and on Broadway, quickly rising to the top leadership of the Hebrew Actors' Union, the first arts union in America. In 1925 he co-founded a theater company with Celia Adler, half-sister of Luther Adler and "Method" teacher Stella Adler. In 1926 he was summoned to Hollywood and given a five-year contract at MGM. Like most Jewish actors, when he arrived in Hollywood he changed his name (choosing to bifurcate it into "Tenen Holtz"). During that time he regularly appeared in films alongside such stars as Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Marion Davies and under directors like King Vidor and Victor Fleming. This period would prove to be Tenenholtz's most prolific and would account for the majority of the 50+ films in which he would appear. While in Hollywood he helped jump start its fledgling Yiddish theater, founding a popular Yiddish theater company that included other transplanted Yiddish actors including Muni Weisenfreund (aka Paul Muni, father and son Rudolph Schildkraut and Joseph Schildkraut. When his contract at MGM ended, he moved over to Warner Brothers where he made films with Leslie Howard under the direction of Michael Curtiz. By the late 1930s the only calls he got were from Poverty Row studios, so Tenenholtz moved to nearby Monrovia and opened a chicken ranch. Though he would occasionally go back in front of the camera, he retired from film. By the time TV emerged, he landed a few roles on shows such as Perry Mason (1957) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955). He died in 1971.

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Feb 17, 1887 In Volin - Russia
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Salome of the Tenements 1925-02-23
Latest Project:
Series The Barbara Stanwyck Show 1960-09-19
Known For
Poster of The Barbara Stanwyck Show
Poster of Peter Gunn
Poster of Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Poster of Money Means Nothing
Series The Barbara Stanwyck Show Bronsky 1960-09-19
Series Peter Gunn Unknown 1958-09-22
Series Perry Mason Unknown 1957-09-21
Series Alfred Hitchcock Presents Unknown 1955-10-02
Movie Let Freedom Ring Hunky (uncredited) 1939-02-24
Movie Bridal Suite Hotel Runner at Train Station 1939-05-26
Movie Mutiny on the Blackhawk Unknown 1939-07-31
Movie Henry Goes Arizona Boris - a Ranch Hand 1939-12-08
Movie International Crime Starkhov 1938-04-23
Movie Cipher Bureau Simon Herrick 1938-10-25
Movie Nothing Sacred Tearful Waiter (uncredited) 1937-11-25
Movie Money Means Nothing Mr. Silverman 1934-06-14
Movie British Agent Lenin 1934-09-15
Movie Hollywood Mystery Benjamin Vogel 1934-06-20
Movie Whistling in the Dark Herman 1933-01-21
Movie Broadway to Hollywood Booking Agent 1933-09-15
Movie Hard to Handle Tailor (uncredited) 1933-01-28
Movie Big Executive Pawnbroker 1933-10-19
Movie The Chief Bald Henchman at Cabin 1933-11-03
Movie Cock of the Air Tall Waiter 1932-01-24
Movie Faithless Diner Proprietor 1932-10-15
Movie Gentleman's Fate Tony 1931-03-07
Movie Laughing Sinners Poker-Playing Salesman 1931-05-30
Movie Devotion Waiter 1931-09-25
Movie Sporting Blood Gus, Bald Gambling Mobster (uncredited) 1931-08-08
Movie Lilies of the Field Paymaster 1930-01-05
Movie The Kibitzer Meyer 1930-01-11
Movie Whispering Whoopee Mr. Holtz 1930-03-08
Movie All Teed Up Senator Brown 1930-04-18
Movie The Duke Steps Out Jake, Duke's manager 1929-03-19
Movie House of Horror Brown 1929-04-27
Movie The Latest from Paris Abe Littauer 1928-02-04
Movie Bringing Up Father Ginsberg Feitelbaum 1928-03-18
Movie The Garden of Eden Headwaiter at Palais de Paris (uncredited) 1928-02-04
Movie The Law of the Range Cohen 1928-01-21
Movie The Cardboard Lover Albine 1928-09-02
Movie The Trail of '98 Mr. Bulkey 1928-03-20
Movie The Ol' Gray Hoss Man with Sooty on Face 1928-10-19
Movie Show People Casting Director 1928-11-20
Movie Detectives Orloff 1928-06-09
Movie Exit Smiling Tod Powell 1926-11-06
Movie Upstage Sam Davis 1926-11-06
Movie Salome of the Tenements Banker Ben (as Elihu Tenenholz) 1925-02-23