×

Nora Ney

Polish film star

Nora Ney, Polish film star before World War II, died Feb. 21 of pneumonia in Encinitas, Calif., where she had been a resident. She was 95 and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for the past five years

Born Zoscia Neyman near the city of Bialystok, she made 11 films in her native Poland and won an audience poll as most popular screen star of 1934. Known as an exotic beauty, she specialized in dramas and melodramas.

Featured roles included “The Oriole” (1926), “The Red Clown” (1927), “Police Chief Tageyev, (1929), “Voice of the Desert” (1932), “The Beauty of Life” (1930) and “Daughter of General Pankratov” (1934), which was shown at the Walter Reade Theater in 1995 as part of a Polish film retrospective. Her final film, “Dr. Murek” (1939), was shown in New York in the late 1940s.

With the outbreak of World War II, she fled Poland (it was not generally known that she was Jewish), accepting an invitation from Mosfilm to work in the Soviet Union. She performed on radio, but no films materialized. As Polish aliens, she, a sister and her daughter were deported to northern Kazakhstan, where they spent a major portion of the war. Other members of her family were killed in concentration camps.

In 1945, with the help of Polish actress Wanda Wasilewskam she returned to Poland, expecting to resume her film career, but that didn’t come to pass. She emigrated to New York in 1946 and did odd jobs to support herself and her daughter.

Her first husband was cinematographer Seweryn Steinwurcel, who guided her to stardom in Poland. Her second husband, Joseph Fryd, was a Polish journalist who in the postwar years was a film producer and promoter in Rome. Her third husband was Czech physician Eugene J. Braun, a resident psychiatrist at Brooklyn State Hospital and Central Islip State Hospital. All three marriages ended in divorce. Then for 25 years, she was married to fourth husband Leon Friedland, originally of St. Petersburg, Russia. He died in 2001 in La Jolla, Calif., where the couple lived.

She is survived by daughter Joanna Ney, curator of Dance on Film and producer of Special Programs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as well as its public relations director; and by a sister.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Joaquin Phoenix And More Join #WorldIsInOurHands Campaign

    At the 44th annual Toronto Film Festival last week, in addition to attending red-carpet premieres and promoting films, some stars also joined in the fight to tackle the climate crisis. Antonio Banderas, Susan Sarandon, Joaquin Phoenix, Rainn Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell and Alfre Woodard are among the bold-faced names to join forces with the [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content