Bessie Thomashefsky

infobox actress

deathdate=death date|1962|7|6
occupation=Stage actress
spouse=Boris Thomashefsky
children=Ted Thomas

Bessie Thomashefsky (aka Bessie Baumfeld-Kaufman) (1873 – July 6, 1962) was a Jewish American singer and actress, a star in Yiddish theater beginning in the 1890s. She was the wife and stage partner of Boris Thomashefsky, the most popular Yiddish leading man of his era. Probably her most famous role was the title role of Oscar Wilde's "Salomé".

In 1887, she met her future husband when she went backstage at a Baltimore production by a Yiddish touring company to meet the beautiful young "actress" she had seen on stage, only to discover that "she" was the 19-year-old Boris, and that he was also manager of the company. Bessie soon ran away from home to join him as a performer, and soon took over the ingenue roles, as Boris moved on to romantic male leads; they were married in 1891. [ [ Boris Thomashefsky] from the Jewish Virtual Library (JVL), retrieved February 28, 2005.]

Their son Ted changed his name to Ted Thomas and became a stage manager; one of Ted Thomas's sons is the noted conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

She is buried with her husband in the Yiddish theater section of the Mount Hebron Cemetery.


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