Jewish Entertainment:
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Harvey Fierstein
Jewish Name - Harvey Forbes Fierstein

Harvey Forbes Fierstein is a Jewish American actor and playwright, noted for the distinction of winning Tony Awards for both writing and originating the lead role in Harvey Fierstein's long-running play Torch Song Trilogy, about a gay drag-performer and Harvey Fierstein's quest for true love and family, as well as writing the award-winning book to the musical La Cage aux Folles. Harvey Fierstein has since become a champion for gay civil rights. Harvey Fierstein was born June 6, 1952.

Personal life

Harvey Fierstein was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jacqueline Harriet (nιe Gilbert), a school librarian, and Irving Harvey Fierstein, a handkerchief manufacturer.[1] Raised Jewish,[2] Harvey Fierstein is now an atheist.[3]

Harvey Fierstein occasionally writes columns about gay issues. Harvey Fierstein was openly gay at a time when very few celebrities were.[4] Harvey Fierstein's careers as a stand-up comic and female impersonator are mostly behind him. Harvey Fierstein resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut.[5]


The gravel-voiced actor is perhaps best known for the play and film Torch Song Trilogy, which Harvey Fierstein wrote and starred in both Off-Broadway (with the young Matthew Broderick) and on Broadway (with Estelle Getty and Fisher Stevens). The 1982 Broadway production won him two Tony Awards, for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play, two Drama Desk Awards, for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, and the Theatre World Award, and the film adaptation earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Male Lead.

Harvey Fierstein also wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles (1983), winning another Tony Award, this time for Best Book of a Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Book. Legs Diamond, Harvey Fierstein's 1988 collaboration with Peter Allen, was a critical and commercial failure, closing after 72 previews and 64 performances. Harvey Fierstein's other playwriting credits include Safe Sex, Spookhouse, and Forget Him.

In 2007, Harvey Fierstein wrote the book to the musical A Catered Affair in which Harvey Fierstein also starred. After tryouts at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in September 2007, it opened on Broadway April 17, 2022 and closed on July 27, 2008. Harvey Fierstein received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and the show won the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical.

Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for the stage musical Newsies, along with Alan Menken (music) and Jack Feldman (lyrics). The musical opened on Broadway in March 2012. Harvey Fierstein was nominated for the Tony Award for Book of a Musical.[6]

Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper are co-writing the book, with music and lyrics by Lauper for a stage musical version of the film Kinky Boots. The musical is expected to play an out-of-town try-out at the Bank of America Theatre, Chicago during October 2012 before an anticipated Broadway engagement.[7]


Harvey Fierstein made Harvey Fierstein's acting debut at La MaMa, E.T.C. in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork. Harvey Fierstein continued to appear at La MaMa and other venues but also, having some aspirations to become a painter, enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Harvey Fierstein received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Pratt in 1973. Harvey Fierstein appeared three times in "The Haunted Host" by Robert Patrick: in Boston in 1975, and at La MaMa and then Off-Broadway in 1991. In addition to Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles and A Catered Affair, Harvey Fierstein's Broadway acting credits include playing the mother, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2002), for which Harvey Fierstein won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. Harvey Fierstein later replaced Alfred Molina as Tevye in the 2004 revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Harvey Fierstein and Tommy Tune are the only individuals to have won Tony Awards in four different categories.

Besides Harvey Fierstein's leading role in the film version of Torch Song Trilogy co-starring Matthew Broderick and Anne Bancroft, Harvey Fierstein's film roles include Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, Robin Williams' makeup-artist brother in Mrs. Doubtfire, and Merv Green in Death to Smoochy, in addition to parts in Garbo Talks, Duplex, Kull the Conqueror, and Independence Day. Harvey Fierstein narrated the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, for which Harvey Fierstein won a News & Documentary Emmy Award. Harvey Fierstein also voiced the role of Yao in Disney's animated feature Mulan, a role Harvey Fierstein later reprised for the video game Kingdom Hearts II and the direct-to-DVD sequel Mulan II.

On television, Harvey Fierstein was featured as the voice of Karl, Homer Simpson's assistant, in the "Simpson and Delilah" episode of The Simpsons and the voice of Elmer in the 1999 HBO special based on Harvey Fierstein's children's book The Sissy Duckling, which won the Humanitas Prize for Children's Animation. Harvey Fierstein became the first openly gay actor to play a principal gay character in a television series when Harvey Fierstein appeared as fashion designer Dennis Sinclair in the short-lived CBS series Daddy's Girls.[8] Additional credits include Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote, the Showtime television movie Common Ground (which Harvey Fierstein also wrote), and Cheers, which earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Harvey Fierstein sang a tribute to Katie Couric on the Today Show on May 31, 2006, her last day as anchor. Harvey Fierstein appeared as Heat Miser in the live-action remake of The Year Without a Santa Claus in December 2006. More recent television performances include an episode of Family Guy, in which Harvey Fierstein played an overweight, chainsmoking mother and an episode of the second season of the series Nurse Jackie in which Harvey Fierstein played a man whose husband is dying. Harvey Fierstein also gave the voice-over for Lily in the "Last Cigarette Ever" episode of How I Met Your Mother when she gets a sore throat due to smoking.

Harvey Fierstein returned to the theatre when Harvey Fierstein toured as Tevye, replacing Chaim Topol in Fiddler on the Roof starting in December 2009.[9] On February 15, 2011, Harvey Fierstein replaced Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zaza in the Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles playing opposite Jeffrey Tambor who plays Georges,[10] although days later Tambor pulled out, which the producers have stated was due to "complications from a recent hip surgery"; Christopher Sieber quickly replaced Tambor.[11] The show closed on May 1, 2022 due to low box office; it played 433 performances and 15 previews.[12]


Garbo Talks (1984)– Bernie Whitlock

Miami Vice (1986, one episode "The Fix")– Benedict

Apology (1986)– The Derelict

Tidy Endings (1988)– Arthur

Torch Song Trilogy (1988)– Arnold Beckoff

ABC Afterschool Specials (1991, one episode "In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story")– Andrew

Cheers (1992, one episode "Rebecca's Lover... Not")– Mark Newberger

The Harvest (1992)– Bob Lakin

Murder, She Wrote (1992, one episode "The Dead File")– Stan Hatter

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)– Uncle Frank Hillard

Bullets Over Broadway (1994)– Sid Loomis

Daddy's Girls (1994, three episodes "Pilot","American in Paris... Cool", and "Keep Your Business Out of My Business")– Dennis Sinclair

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde (1995)– Yves DuBois

Elmo Saves Christmas (1996)– Easter Bunny

Independence Day (1996)– Marty Gilbert

Everything Relative (1996)– The Mohel

The Larry Sanders Show (1997, one episode "The Matchmaker")- himself

White Lies (1997)– Art hoarder

Fame L.A.(1997, one episode "Do or Die")– Jeremy Pinter

Kull the Conqueror (1997)– Juba

Safe Men (1998)– Leo

Jump (1999)– Dish Macense

Double Platinum (1999)– Gary Millstein

Common Ground (2000)– Don

Playing Mona Lisa (2000)– Bennett

Death to Smoochy (2002)– Merv Green

Duplex (2003)– Kenneth

The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006)– Heat Miser

Nurse Jackie (2010, one episode "Monkey Bits")– John Decker

The Good Wife (2011, one episode "Feeding the Rat")– Judge Francis Flamm

Voice only

The Demon Murder Case (1983, voice)– Demon

The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)– Narrator

The Simpsons (1990, one episode "Simpson and Delilah")– Karl

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1997, one episode "Thumbelina")– Mrs. Leaperman

Stories from My Childhood (1998, one episode "Alice and the Mystery of the Third Planet")– Grambo

Mulan (1998, voice)– Yao

Mulan Story Studio (1998, video game)– Yao

X-Chromosome (1999, TV series)– Mom/Little Mom Head

The Sissy Duckling (1999, voice)– Elmer

Mulan II (2004, voice)– Yao

Kingdom Hearts II (2005, video game)– Yao

Farce of the Penguins (2006, voice)– Sheila the panda

Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+(2007, video game)– Yao

Family Guy (2008, one episode "The Former Life of Brian")– Tracy

Foodfight!(2009, voice)– Fat Cat Burglar

How I Met Your Mother (2009, one episode "Last Cigarette Ever")– Lily's smoking voice


"Harvey Fierstein Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.

Mark J. Terrill (27 November 2003)."'Hairspray' drag queen to play Mrs. Claus at Macy's parade". USATODAY. Retrieved 2008-06-11.

McKinley, Jesse (2022-01-02)."Harvey Fierstein As Tevye: Sounds Crazy, No?". The New York Times. pp. 2.5.""I mean, I don't believe in God, I don't believe in heaven or hell, but I pray three or four times a day.""

"Harvey Fierstein". Broadway: The American Musical. Retrieved 2009-01-18.

"Harvey Fierstein political contributions". Retrieved 2009-03-21.

Healy, Patrick."'Newsies' Run Is Now Open-Ended" The New York Times,(, May 16, 2022

Jones, Kenneth."Kinky Boots Musical Will Kick It Up in Chicago in October, Prior to Broadway"., February 22, 2022

Snierson, Dan."Out of the TV Closet: Harvey Fierstein of 'Daddy's Girls'"Entertainment Weekly, September 30, 2021

Jones, Kenneth. Harvey Fierstein to Replace Topol in Touring Fiddler on the Roof", November 11, 2021

"IBDB 'La Cage' Replacement Information" Internet Broadway Database, accessed August 29, 2011

Itzkoff, Dave."Christopher Sieber Rushes to the Rescue of ‘La Cage’ on Broadway" The New York Times, March 1, 2022

Gans, Andrew."Broadway's 'La Cage aux Folles' Will Close May 1", April 6, 2022


Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (1975–2000)

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical (2001–2025)

Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (1976–2000)

Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (2001–2025)


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