Some achieve Yiddish theater stardom, some have stardom thrust upon them, and some stars were literally born on Second Avenue. Bruce Adler was all of the above. Born to two Yiddish Theater actors, Adler began joining them on stage at the age of four; as an adult, he achieved stardom in Yiddish theater, on Broadway, and on screen.
Adler made the transition from Second Avenue to Broadway in 1979, performing in many hit shows including "Crazy for You," for which he received one of his two Tony Award nominations. But Adler never left his Yiddish roots far behind. In fact, his first Tony nomination was for "Those Were the Days," a revue of Yiddish theater songs and sketches from the heyday of the genre.
To us, Bruce Adler was not just Yiddish theater aristocracy, he was a friend. Bruce recorded and performed many classic numbers for the Archive; his dynamic performances helping not just preserve, but give life and character to the works as only an artist who was born into—and devoted much of his life to it—could.
Bruce passed away on this day in 2008. To celebrate his life and legacy, we've assembled video and audio playlists that showcase the talent, passion and humor he brought to his work. We bet you can't watch without smiling.