The Secret Jewish History Of Al Pacino

Mar 16, 2018 7710

BY: Seth Rogovoy

Is Al Pacino one of the great Jewish actors of our time? Hear me out. While best known for portraying characters of Italian and Latino descent – think Michael Corleone of “The Godfather” films, Carlito Brigante of “Carlito’s Way,” and Tony Montana of “Scarface,” Pacino has an arm’s-length resumé of portraying Jews in film and onstage. Most famous perhaps are Pacino’s much-discussed, multiple portrayals of Shylock, the Jewish moneylender from William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” whom Pacino has portrayed with overwhelming sympathy both onstage and on the silver screen.

Pacino – who discusses his career in an interview with film critic David Edelstein in Vulture, in advance of “Pacino’s Way,” an all-Al film retrospective curated by Pacino himself at the Quad Cinema in his old neighborhood of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village (March 14-30) – has impersonated real-life Jewish figures including journalist and TV new producer Lowell Bergman (“The Insider”), mob lawyer and Donald Trump mentor Roy Cohn (in HBO’s minseries version of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”), and Phil Spector in the eponymous HBO biopic of the wig-wearing, gun-toting rock ‘n’ roll hitmaker.


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