Muni, Paul, 1895-1967

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1895-09-22
Death 1967-08-25
Americans

Biographical notes:

Paul Muni (Mehilem Weisenfreund), actor of stage and screen, was born in Austria on September 22, 1895.

Muni's early career on the American stage was in the Yiddish theater where he acted under the name Muni Weisenfreund. His first role was in the production TWO CORPSES AT BREAKFAST in 1908. During the years 1908 through 1926 he toured in Yiddish theater productions becoming a member of the Yiddish Art Theatre in 1918. Paul Muni married Bella Finkel an actress of the Yiddish theater on May 8, 1921.

In 1926 he played Morris Levine in the play WE AMERICANS followed in 1927 by the play FOUR WALLS. In 1930 he began using the name Paul Muni. Plays he starred in after that date include COUNSELLER-AT-LAW, KEY LARGO, A FLAG IS BORN, THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WANTED, DEATH OF A SALESMAN and INHERIT THE WIND for which he won a Tony Award. Muni was also a successful motion picture actor, appearing in many notable Hollywood films including SCARFACE, I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG, BLACK FURY, DR. SOCRATES, THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, for which he won an Oscar in 1936, THE GOOD EARTH, THE WOMAN I LOVE, THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA, WE ARE NOT ALONE, COMMANDOS STRIKE AT DAWN and THE LAST ANGRY MAN.

Paul Muni had a great interest in the plight of European Jews and this can be seen in the correspondence with his friends and professional contacts. He starred in Ben Hecht's pageant A FLAG IS BORN which rallied support for Israel. Paul Muni died in California on August 25, 1967.

From the description of Paul Muni papers, ca. 1920-1967. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517216

Paul Muni (Mehilem Weisenfreund), actor of stage and screen, was born in Austria on September 22, 1895. Muni's early career on the American stage was in the Yiddish theater where he acted under the name Muni Weisenfreund. His first role was in the production Two Corpses at Breakfast in 1908. During the years 1908 through 1926 he toured in Yiddish theater productions becoming a member of the Yiddish Art Theatre in 1918. Paul Muni married Bella Finkel an actress of the Yiddish theater on May 8, 1921.

In 1926 he played Morris Levine in the play We Americans followed in 1927 by the play Four Walls . In 1930 he began using the name Paul Muni. Plays he starred in after that date include Counseller-At-Law, Key Largo, A Flag Is Born, They Knew What They Wanted, Death of a Salesman and Inherit the Wind for which he won a Tony Award.

Muni was also a successful motion picture actor, appearing in many notable Hollywood films including Scarface, I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Black Fury, Dr. Socrates, The Story of Louis Pasteur for which he won an Oscar in 1936, The Good Earth, The Woman I Love, The Life of Emile Zola, We Are Not Alone, Commandos Strike At Dawn and The Last Angry Man .

Paul Muni had a great interest in the plight of European Jews and this can be seen in the correspondence with his friends and professional contacts. He starred in Ben Hecht's pageant A Flag Is Born which rallied support for Israel. Paul Muni died in California on August 25, 1967.

From the guide to the Paul Muni papers, circa 1920-1967, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

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Subjects:

  • Motion picture actors and actresses
  • Acting

Occupations:

  • Actors

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