Mickey Katz
American musician and comedian
Mickey Katz
Mickey Katz was an American comedian and musician who specialized in Jewish humor. He was the father of actor Joel Grey and grandfather of actress Jennifer Grey.
Biography
Mickey Katz's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Mickey Katz
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Mickey Katz
Show More Show Less
News
News abour Mickey Katz from around the web
Il 4 settembre, la Giornata Europea della Cultura Ebraica - L'ideale
Google News - over 5 years
Provenienti entrambi da studi classici ma anche jazzistici, concentrano la loro ricerca sull'individuazione del sottile filo rosso che lega un honga a Gerswin, Leonard Bernstein ad un freylech, Mahler ad un tango argentino, Benny Goodman e Mickey Katz
Article Link:
Google News article
The Eulogizer: Pioneering rock songwriter Jerry Leiber - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Google News - over 5 years
Once in Los Angeles as a teenager, Leiber worked at a record store that catered to “old Jews and hipsters like me” and that sold Frankie Laine, Mickey Katz and cantorial music. Record salesman Lester Sill of Modern Records turned him on to blues he had
Article Link:
Google News article
Über Hip-Hop zu jüdischen Musiktraditionen - Socalled remixt Klezmer - Deutschlandradio
Google News - over 5 years
Von Leuten wie Dave Tarras, Mickey Katz. Aber auch Platten mit kantoraler Synagogen- sowie chassidische Musik der orthodoxen Juden, ihre wortlosen Lieder mit diesen 'Jadda-Die'-Melodien. Zunächst sampelte ich das Zeug nur, es war einfach voller toller
Article Link:
Google News article
A Montclair summer alphabet - NorthJersey.com
Google News - over 5 years
... July 21, at 10:30 am, at Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield St. Behlman will read "Mendel's Accordion," by Heidi Smith Hyde, and play music by the Klezmatics, Mickey Katz, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, George Gershwin, and others
Article Link:
Google News article
Klezmer Guy To Bring Taste of neo-Borscht Belt to Nighttown - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
“We really like Mickey Katz, who played klezmer and did Yinglish (Yiddish/English) parodies in the 1950s. Katz was from Cleveland. Joel Grey is his son.” The Klezmer Guy show features Stratton making music and doing stand-up comedy with Alan Douglass
Article Link:
Google News article
Today in Theatre History: JUNE 5 - Playbill.com
Google News - over 5 years
This isn't the first time Signature tried to shape the play; Neal Huff and the late Anne Bancroft created the roles in previews for an earlier 2002 Signature production that shut down due to Bancroft falling ill. More of Today's Birthdays: Mickey Katz
Article Link:
Google News article
Ottinger en el camino - Página 12
Google News - over 5 years
En el coche comedor, además de Fanny, la señora Muller, las Kalinka y otros pasajeros, está Mickey Katz, rechoncho y muy maquillado tenor judío-americano, sibarita, que se derrite ante platos despampanantes, increíbles delicias rusas,
Article Link:
Google News article
Religious Reeding - Chronogram
Google News - over 5 years
After debuting with 1992's exploratory classic, Tuskegee Experiments (Elektra/Nonesuch Records), Byron revisited his klezmer roots with the likewise-praised Plays the Music of Mickey Katz (Elektra), and next embarked on a series of albums that have
Article Link:
Google News article
Joel Grey: Beyond the Great White Way - Toronto Star
Google News - almost 6 years
Born in Cleveland, he was clearly influenced by his father, Mickey Katz, a musician known for humourous songs with a Yiddish flavour — and who always seemed to be leaving for a road gig or returning from one. Young Joel got his inspiration from the
Article Link:
Google News article
MUSIC REVIEW | DON BYRON; Celebrating 50 Years With Four Parties
NYTimes - over 8 years
When you're in a jazz nightclub and you hear a song introduced as ''an early example of Yiddish hip-hop from the 1950s,'' it's a good bet Don Byron is in the house. Mr. Byron, a clarinet virtuoso, arrived on the jazz scene in the early 1990s, shortly after the first wave of young neo-traditionalists, and challenged their notion of a rigidly defined
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Jazz Listings
NYTimes - over 8 years
JAZZ Full reviews of recent jazz concerts: nytimes.com/music. KARRIN ALLYSON (Wednesday and Thursday) Ms. Allyson seeks an aching sense of romance on her most recent album, ''Imagina: Songs of Brasil'' (Concord). It's neither the best showcase for her gifts as a singer nor the best Brazilian jazz effort around, but it radiates sincerity. (Through
Article Link:
NYTimes article
BOLDFACE NAMES
NYTimes - almost 14 years
Thanks, but We Are on a Low-Rodent Diet MIKE and MARY WALLACE and a few friends held a book party for PAUL THEROUX at the Explorers Club earlier this week, an excellent choice, we thought, to fête an adventurer and writer. The corporeal remains of the long- deceased wildlife, which the club is somewhat defensive about lately, gazed stonily from
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Grab Your Baby and Dance by the Pale Moonlight
NYTimes - about 17 years
Murray Horwitz has been a clown and worked for the New York State Assembly (not at the same time). He has written newscasts for WINS, acted on ''Kojak,'' staged performances at the White House, toured as Sholom Aleichem, directed the opera program at the National Endowment for the Arts, brought ''Ain't Misbehavin' '' to Broadway and for the last 10
Article Link:
NYTimes article
THEATER REVIEW; The Great Jewish Comics: So What's Not to Like?
NYTimes - almost 19 years
If proof of the adage ''One good turn deserves another'' is needed, then the place to find it is at Playhouse 91. There, Avi Hoffman, who starred three years ago in the delightful ''Too Jewish?,'' is now appearing in its sequel, ''Too Jewish Two!'' And it's not too soon to say that in this Jewish Repertory Theater presentation, Mr. Hoffman has done
Article Link:
NYTimes article
PUBLIC LIVES; Learning Jazz Through Byron's Poetic Mix
NYTimes - almost 19 years
THE public school kids rustling in their seats at the Brooklyn Academy of Music had no idea what to expect, except that their teachers wanted them to hear some music that was probably good for them. It didn't matter, anyway, because the Field Trip Rule was in effect: anything you do on a field trip, anything at all, is automatically better than
Article Link:
NYTimes article
MUSIC; Literary Component At Purchase Concert
NYTimes - about 19 years
IT is a good thing the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College has three halls because they will all be in use today at 3 P.M. In the largest auditorium, Philharmonia Virtuosi adds a literary component to its concert: all the pieces are referred to in the historical novels of Patrick O'Brian. Excerpts will be read by Commodore John Burton-Hall,
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Don Byron
NYTimes - about 23 years
"I'm very much into Yiddish culture, so I know a little bit," says Ann Weiss, a petite older woman. "I'm no connoisseur, but I do know a little bit." She has come to the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn for an evening of a sometimes raucous Eastern European instrumental music called klezmer, as played by a sometimes raucous
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Review/Music; Two Versions of the Sound of the Melting Pot
NYTimes - over 23 years
To mark Independence Day, Summerstage celebrated the all-American melting pot, and some indissoluble ethnic lumps, with a musically incongruous but exhilarating double bill of immigrants' music on Sunday afternoon. Black 47 represented New York's young Irish immigrants. And the clarinetist Don Byron led a 10-member klezmer band in music by Mickey
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mickey Katz
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1985
    Age 75
    Died on April 30, 1985.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1977
    Age 67
    In 1977 Katz told the story of his life in a biography called Papa, Play for Me.
    More Details Hide Details One evening when Katz was eleven, his father took him to a concert at the Talmud Torah. A clarinet solo was on the program. On the way home, Katz told him he wanted to play the clarinet. But for his father to pay for an instrument and lessons was out of the question. The next day Katz asked the bandmaster of the local high school for a school clarinet, and within a few days he received an old and dusty clarinet. The next step was to find a way to pay for clarinet lessons. Katz went to his Uncle Sam and offered to clean his tailor shop if he would pay for the lessons. His uncle agreed, and soon Katz was studying under Joseph Narovec. He made excellent progress on the instrument, and quickly learned saxophone as well, which is played basically the same way as a clarinet.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1962
    Age 52
    Katz supplied the voice of the character Hop-a-Long Catskill on the Beany and Cecil cartoon series on ABC-TV in 1962.
    More Details Hide Details Catskill was a frog, and the role was a parody of the role of Chester on the television series Gunsmoke. His primary function, in the few episodes in which he appeared, was to serve bad coffee and provide even worse Yiddish/English puns. Katz is most well known for his parodies, but he created more traditional klezmer music as well. His songs have been compiled onto CDs, including Mish Mosh, The Most Mishige, Mickey Katz Greatest Shticks, and Simcha Time: Music for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and Brisses. Katz played with many musicians throughout the years, but he initially performed his parodies with Mannie Klein on trumpet, Sammy Weiss on drums, Benny Gill on violin, Si Zentner on trombone, and Wally Wechsler on piano. Al Sack, the man who created the music for Katz's first two parodies, assembled these players for Katz and then helped him get Nat Farber to arrange the music.
  • 1961
    Age 51
    In 1961 Katz went on a tour through South Africa, playing in cities that included Cape Town, Johannesburg, Benoni, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Muizenberg.
    More Details Hide Details Finally, at the end of his career, Katz began playing the Florida condominium circuit, often playing two shows a night. Katz was largely a jazz musician. All of his parodies have a distinct klezmer flavor, either throughout the entire piece or as a brief "break" in the middle of the song. His songs often lampooned both Jewish and American culture. Katz and his group can be seen in the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie accompanying Julie Andrews as she sings a Yiddish song at a Jewish wedding. A number of famous Jewish musicians, including those with their own bands have recorded with him including Manny Klein, Ziggy Elman and Si Zentner. Jazz musician Don Byron recorded a tribute to Mickey Katz in 1993 entitled Don Byron Plays The Music of Mickey Katz. The 2003 British movie Wondrous Oblivion featured Katz' "The Barber of Schlemiel" (a parody of The Barber of Seville) in a scene where the Jewish main character played the record for his Jamaican neighbor.
  • FORTIES
  • 1958
    Age 48
    In 1958 Katz finally played the Catskills, an area where most of his peers made their start.
    More Details Hide Details Unfortunately for Katz, the booking office that hired him was determined to make as much money off of him as possible, and he ended up with a packed schedule, playing "anything north of Atlantic City."
  • 1955
    Age 45
    In 1955 Katz played a brief engagement at Harrah's, located at Lake Tahoe.
    More Details Hide Details The following year he became a Continental Kitten and played in Europe and Australia.
  • 1953
    Age 43
    In 1953 Katz decided to play Las Vegas, and after a successful start at the Frontier, he returned to Las Vegas for four more years.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1952
    Age 42
    In 1952 Katz also did some shows for the United Jewish Appeal.
    More Details Hide Details In the same year he joined the California Friars Club and proceeded to conduct at their major functions for the next 25 years.
  • 1951
    Age 41
    From 1951 to 1956 Katz operated as a disc jockey for the Los Angeles radio station KABC while going on occasional road tours and playing engagements at the Bandbox nightclub.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 1948
    Age 38
    In 1948 Katz produced the English-Yiddish stage revue Borscht Capades, co-starring with his son Joel Grey.
    More Details Hide Details The show did well until it went to Broadway. Right before Borscht Capades opened, an almost identical show, called Bagels and Yocks opened up down the street. In competition with each other for such a small, particular audience, both shows ending up failing.
  • 1947
    Age 37
    He then hired a manager in Los Angeles, and in 1947 performed in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights, a largely Jewish- and Mexican-American neighborhood.
    More Details Hide Details In Katz's words, he was a "double-ethnic smash." Despite Katz's appeal with particular groups, there were many who did not like his music. Most of these people were affronted by the way he emphasized Jewish differences, convinced that his antics would help perpetuate Jewish stereotypes. In "The Yiddish are coming" Josh Kun sums up the atmosphere of the time with the following: "As historian Howard Sachar has noted, the prevailing attitude after World War II was a fear that anything that promoted a 'separate identity as Jews would somehow lend credence to Hitler's racial theories.'" Although Katz had his fans, not everybody loved him. There were many radio stations that refused to play his records, and several venues feared hiring him. In his biography, Katz recalls asking a radio station manager why he wouldn't play any of Katz's records. Here is an excerpt of their exchange:
    Katz played with Jones for more than a year, but never felt he was paid enough so he left Jones in 1947.
    More Details Hide Details Katz soon decided to make an English-Yiddish comedy record. Having written the lyrics to Haim afen Range years ago, he had it approved by RCA. He quickly wrote another song for the flip side, Yiddish Square Dance, and had his friend Al Sack sketch out the melody for it and set Haim afen Range to music as well. The original run of 10,000 copies released in New York City sold in three days, and RCA received orders for 25,000 more. Katz then went on to parodize Tico, Tico with Tickle, Tickle, and backed this new record with Chloya, a parody of Chloe.
  • 1946
    Age 36
    In 1946 the national jukebox convention was to be held in Cleveland, and Katz was asked to conduct for it.
    More Details Hide Details While there he met Spike Jones, and a week later Jones asked Katz to join him in Hollywood.
  • 1945
    Age 35
    Then in 1945, he took his six-man comedy and band group (Mickey Katz and His Krazy Kittens) on a USO tour of Europe with movie star Betty Hutton.
    More Details Hide Details For this trip Katz was made a temporary officer, and this is the closest he ever came to serving in the military.
  • 1942
    Age 32
    In 1942 Katz was hired as bandleader at the Alpine Village theater-restaurant in Cleveland.
    More Details Hide Details He was subsequently drafted, but was classified 4-F classification by the Selective Service System and released from his military obligation after failing his preinduction physical. He found other ways to help the war effort, though. Back at the Alpine Village he began to sell war bonds after the shows, bringing in US$25,000 to $30,000 a week for the U.S. government. He also played for servicemen at the USO canteen at Cleveland's St. John's Cathedral.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1939
    Age 29
    When the Goodtime went out of business in 1939, he moved on to a position as bandleader and MC at the Ohio Villa gambling palace.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1935
    Age 25
    Katz continued to play there for another year, then rejoined Spitalny at the RKO Palace Theater and played there until the Cleveland musicians' local in Cleveland went on strike in 1935.
    More Details Hide Details Unfortunately for Katz, the union lost the strike since movie theaters were becoming more common and theaters no longer needed live musicians, and he was out of a job once again. Nevertheless, he soon found work playing for vacationers as they sailed around Lake Erie on the excursion boat Goodtime. This gig lasted every summer from 1935 to 1939. During the off- season, Katz found what work he could playing various one-night gigs.
  • 1932
    Age 22
    Katz moved back to Cleveland with Grace and played with Spitalny until the leader left Loew's Theater in 1932.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1930
    Age 20
    But the job ended in 1930 after his marriage, and the couple had no choice but to go to live in Grace's uncle's home.
    More Details Hide Details Katz was soon saved from this situation when he received a phone call from Jack Spector, a friend back in Cleveland. A spot for a clarinet and sax player had recently opened up in Maurice Spitalny's band at the Loew's State Theater, and Spector had recommended Katz.
    He married her three years later, in 1930.
    More Details Hide Details They had two sons, Joel Grey and Ronald. Each of Katz's sons had two children. Joel fathered Jennifer Grey and Jim Grey, and Ronald fathered Randy Katz and Todd Katz.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1929
    Age 19
    Deciding to try his luck in New York City, Katz left Cleveland in 1929.
    More Details Hide Details He had a hard time finding work at first, and bopped around from one small, unsuccessful job to the next. He finally ran into Ed Fishman, whom he knew from Cleveland and who helped him find a job playing in Howard Phillips' orchestra at the Manger Hotel.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1909
    Born
    Born on June 15, 1909.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)