Did you know that the first American movie star, Bronco Billy Anderson (star of “The Great Train Robbery,” 1903), was a Jewish guy from New York whose real name was Max Aronson? Yes, long before Mel Brooks discovered the West in “Blazing Saddles,” it was a Jew who invented the archetypal figure of the American cowboy! Our tour of Jewish Hollywood will proceed from Bronco Billy to Woody Allen, exploring the rich but sometimes invisible contributions of American Jews to the flowering of American cinema.
Bruce Thompson is a lecturer in the Departments of History and Literature and the Associate Director of Jewish Studies at UC Santa Cruz. He received his Ph.D in History from Stanford University; his areas of scholarly research include European intellectual and cultural history, French history, and American Jewish intellectual and cultural history.