Love, wrote English novelist and playwright John Galsworthy, “has no age, no limit; and no death.”
By: Curt Smyanthian
Just ask Holocaust survivor Jack Garfein, 89. On Sunday, he married 42-year-old Natalia Repolovsky on the Upper West Side.
“I can’t believe all of this love I’m surrounded by after everything I’ve gone through in my life,” Garfein told The New York Post following the wedding.
Born in Czechoslovakia as Jacob Garfein, the groom’s family was murdered in a concentration camps. Garfein himself survived being sent to a dumbfounding 11 concentration camps.
“I met Jack in 1945 at the Flossenbürg concentration camp,” life-long friend Jack Terry, 89, told The Post. “We shouldn’t even be alive . . . And here I am at his wedding.”
Garfein, who arrived in the United States as a 14-year-old who could not speak English, eventually built a career in The Actors Studio, where according to the Post he worked with stars like Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He directed movies, too – like “The Strange One” in 1957 and “Something Wild” in 1961. Hollywood lore holds that he “discovered” a young actor named Steve McQueen.
Garfein was once married to actress Carroll Baker, with whom he had two children: actress Blanche Baker and Grammy-Award-winning American composer Herschel Garfein. His second marriage, to Anna Laretta, produced two children: Rela Garfein, a scholarship graduate of HEC in Paris, and Elias Garfein, a scholarship graduate of the Sorbonne.
As a director and an acting teacher, he actively participated in the development of the Actors Studio work and collaborated with famous filmmakers such as Elia Kazan, John Ford, and George Stevens, according to Wikipedia. “He was a teacher to actors Sissy Spacek, Ron Perlman, Irène Jacob, James Thierrée, Laetitia Casta, Samuel Le Bihan, Bruce Dern. He directed Uta Hagen, Herbert Berghof, Shelley Winters, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Ralph Meeker, Mark Richman, Mildred Dunnock, Elaine Stritch, Malick Bowens and discovered Ben Gazzara, Steve McQueen, George Peppard, Bruce Dern, Pat Hingle, Albert Salmi, Paul Richards and Susan Strasberg. He also gave his first role to James Dean in the Actors Studio production of End as a Man.”
In June of last year Garfein received the From the Depths Award for Dialogue. In his acceptance speech, he “recalled his horror at racial segregation in the United States immediately after arriving from Europe in 1946,” noted the Times of Israel. “That year, a bus driver told him not to sit in the back of the bus because that part of the vehicle was “for blacks only,” Garfein said. “I thought, ‘I came to America for this? For unbelievable racism?’ This is why I have fought and continue to fight racism my whole life.”
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