H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Muni, "the man with a thousand faces,"
one of Hollywood's finest character
actors. Yet he performed in more than
300 Yiddish-speaking roles before uttering
a single word of English on the Broadway
Muni Weisenfreund, the son of Yiddish
actors, he was 13 when his family came to
Chicago. His father opened Weisenfreund's
Pavilion Theatre, at
(now Roosevelt Road) and Halsted Street,
the Maxwell Street neighborhood. Here
Muni learned the tricks of the tradefixing his own makeup, mastering
accents and playing a wide range of roles. Neighborhood residents flocked
to the 300-seat theater for Muni's Friday night and Saturday afternoon performances.
Muni traveled the theater circuit, eventually making his Broadway debut
in We Americans in 1926. Two years later he moved to Hollywood, where
the studio promptly changed his name to the more accessible Paul Muni. He
won an Oscar for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936). His other Academy Award
nominated films include The Valiant, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang,
The Life of Emil Zola,and The Last Angry Man.