Stefan Kanfer





Stefan Kanfer


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Stefan Kanfer is the author of fifteen books, including the bestselling biographies of show business icons: GROUCHO; BALL OF FIRE (Lucille Ball); SOMEBODY (Marlon Brando); and TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN (Humphrey Bogart). He has also written many social histories, among them THE LAST EMPIRE, about the De Beers diamond company, and STARDUST LOST, an account of the rise and fall of the Yiddish Theater in New York.

Kanfer also wrote two novels about World War II and served as the only journalist on the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. He was the first by-lined cinema critic for Time magazine, where he worked as writer and editor for more than two decades. He has been given many writing awards and was named a Literary Lion of the New York Publi
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Average rating: 3.79 · 2,719 ratings · 319 reviews · 25 distinct worksSimilar authors
Ball of Fire: The Tumultuou...

3.85 avg rating — 914 ratings — published 2003 — 9 editions
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Groucho: The Life and Times...

4.01 avg rating — 521 ratings — published 2000 — 7 editions
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Tough Without a Gun: The Li...

3.52 avg rating — 529 ratings — published 2011 — 11 editions
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Somebody: The Reckless Life...

3.64 avg rating — 310 ratings — published 2008 — 18 editions
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The Last Empire: de Beers, ...

3.76 avg rating — 71 ratings — published 1993 — 6 editions
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The Eskimo Hunts in New York

3.89 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 2012 — 4 editions
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Serious Business: The Art A...

3.64 avg rating — 25 ratings — published 1997 — 5 editions
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Stardust Lost: The Triumph,...

3.83 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2006 — 6 editions
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A Summer World: The Attempt...

3.87 avg rating — 15 ratings — published 1989 — 5 editions
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The Voodoo That They Did So...

3.75 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2007 — 2 editions
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“FOLKSBIENE, an impoverished, frail Yiddish theater company in constant danger of annihilation, had outlasted all the giants. The year of Schwartz's death the little troupe moved into the Forward building, guaranteeing it a permanent home with four walls and a roof, plus heat in the winter, fans in the summer, and best of all, continuing subsidies from the newspaper and the Workmen's Circle. Sporadically, other Yiddish productions would take place in New York, but they were one-shots, musicals, and charity fund-raisers. Ensconced in their new place, Folksbiene managers claimed that theirs was the oldest continuously operating Yiddish theater in the world. As proof, all past productions were listed year by year, ranging all the way back to 1915. It was an impressive roster. Among the authors included were Sholem Aleichem, Leon Kobrin, and both Singer brothers, Israel Joshua and Isaac Bashevis; also the Russians Alexander Pushkin and Maxim Gorki; and such American authors as Theodore Dreiser, Eugene O'Neill, Sherwood Anderson, and Clifford Odets. It didn't matter how well attended those shows were, or how well acted, or the duration of their runs. The point was that the Folksbiene had survived, just as the Jewish people had survived. Together, they were the keepers of the flame. It was a very small candle in a very big city.”
Stefan Kanfer, Stardust Lost: The Triumph, Tragedy, and Meshugas of the Yiddish Theater in America

“You know, it's a peculiar thing. At funerals one's inclined to laugh; and at weddings, weep.”
Stefan Kanfer, Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball

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