Sam Stern

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(b. New York, 02/03/1883 - d. **/**/****). Actor. American-born Sam Stern was a popular comedian and music hall entertainer who wrote many of his own songs, but in 1909 he was also one of the first vocalists to use a song composed by Irving Berlin ("Yiddle on your fiddle play some rag-time"). In 1901 he made his first appearance on the stage with a Jewish repertory company in Chicago and departed for London in July 1910. That same month he appeared at the Shoreditch Empire and proceeded on a tour of the theatres of the Moss Empires variety circuit.

He first came to South Africa in 1914 and returned in February 1919, appearing at the Tivoli in Cape Town in September of that year. The following year he featured in Joseph Albrecht's film The Madcap of the Veld (1920), playing the villain opposite Mabel May. His fellow music hall entertainer Lew James, who had been appearing with him in the Jewish farce Potash and Perlmutter, played his father. In August 1915, Variety featured a disapproving account of his movements, accusing him of fleeing a bankruptcy in London and leaving his wife and child destitute while he played an engagement in South Africa.

In May 1921 he arrived in Australia and over the next decade he did character impersonations in theatres all across the country. In 1931 he was part of the George Sorlie New Vaudeville and Revue Company and also of the Ike Delavale Revue Company. He seems to have stayed in Australia, appearing in such plays as The Man Who Came To Dinner (1941) and Arsenic and Old Lace (1942), both at the Minerva Theatre at Kings Cross in Sydney. He also continued to write songs, including "Sasha From Russia" (1943), composed especially for the war effort. As late as May 1956 he was in The Teahouse of the August Moon when it was staged at the Victoria Theatre in Newcastle, NSW. (FO)


S.A. Pictorial, 11 December 1920

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