Israeli actress Dvora Kedar, beloved by generations of movie- and theater-goers, passed away at age 98 on Wednesday morning.
The scene-stealing Kedar often played tough but lovable mothers and grandmothers and she continued acting until she was well into her 90s, winning an Ophir Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Mrs. Halperin, a wisecracking seen-it-all assistant to a diva-like actress in the movie, Fire Birds, in 2015.
It was her final film appearance and a meaty role for Kedar, in which she got to play opposite a Who’s Who of veteran Israeli actors, among them Gila Almagor, Miryam Zohar, Oded Teomi and Aliza Rosen.
But she is probably best known to Israelis of a certain age as Benji’s mother in the Eskimo Limon comedy series and she appeared in seven of these movies in the 1970s and 1980s.
She also acted in the Oscar-nominated film by Menahem Golan, Operation Thunderbolt, which told the story of the Entebbe rescue.
“Dvora embodied the character of the ultimate Polish woman . . . but she was not like that [in real life]. . . She created an iconic character.”Yiftach Katzur
Creating an iconic character
Yftach Katzur, who played her son in the Eskimo Limon series, told Mako, “Dvora embodied the character of the ultimate Polish woman . . . but she was not like that [in real life]. . . She created an iconic character.” Zachi Noy, who played Yudale in the Eskimo Limon series, recalled, “She told me she wanted to get to a show at Habima, she was late, and there were no taxis, then she told [the cab company], 'This is Dvora Kedar, Benji's mother, and I need a taxi' and within a second she had a taxi. At [singer] Arik Lavie's funeral [in 2004] . . . she asked me, 'Why don't they make another 'Eskimo'?”
Born in Lithuania in 1924, she came to Israel as a young child and studied acting at the studio of the Habima Theater. In 1949, she joined the Cameri Theater, where she starred in many plays, including classics such as Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding and Arthur Miller’s After the Fall.
In the 2000s, she returned to Habima and performed in dozens of productions. Habima announced that a memorial ceremony would be held in the theater and that details would be made available later in the day on Wednesday.