Actress Helen Beverley, who performed in Yiddish theater as well as in the Yiddish films “Green Fields,” “The Light Ahead” and “Overture to Glory” and was the first wife of the late actor Lee J. Cobb, died of natural causes July 15 at the Motion Picture and Television Fund hospital in Woodland Hills. She was 94.
“Green Fields” (1937), in which Beverley was the female lead, was an adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein’s classic play whose arrival, according to the National center of Jewish Cinema, “heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema.”
Beverley also starred in “The Light Ahead” (1939), also co-directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, in which a consciousness of the danger looming over European Jewry was painfully apparent even though the film was shot in New Jersey.
The actress had a somewhat smaller role in 1940’s “Overture to Glory,” about a cantor seduced by secularism.
Thereafter Beverley had some roles in Hollywood films, including the Charlie Chan pic “Black Magic”; 1944’s “The Master Race,” which envisaged the dangers of Nazism even after after the fall of Germany; and the musical “Stairway for a Star,” in which Beverly starred with Cornel Wilde.
In the 1950s she had small roles in “The Robe,” “Playgirl” and “The Shrike”; she appeared on the smallscreen in a 1960 episode of “The Rifleman” and made her last bigscreen appearance in the Susan Hayward film “Ada.”
Beverley married Cobb in 1940 but they were divorced in the 1950s.
She is survived by a daughter, actress Julie Cobb, who was formerly married to actor James Cromwell, and a granddaughter, actress Rosemary Morgan.