18 Things to Know About Jewish Actress June Squibb

The Academy Award nominee is an action hero Jewish grandma in "Thelma."

If you’re not on the June Squibb train, you are absolutely missing out. The nonagenarian actress got her big break in 2013’s “Nebraska” and has only continued to receive praise for her down-to-earth humor and ability to steal a scene. And even before her break, Squibb was already working with acclaimed directors like Martin Scorsese, playing roles on long-running TV shows and performing on and off-Broadway.

But did you know that she’s Jewish?! It’s true!

Here are 18 more things to know about her.

1. June Squibb was born on Nov. 6, 1929 in Vandalia, Illinois.

2. Her mom was a silent film pianist and her dad was an insurance agent.

3. She quit kindergarten!

All they did was take naps and eat cookies,” she explained in an interview. “And I just thought that was pretty dumb.”

4. As a kid, June knew she wanted to be an actor and was, according to Vulture, “a preternaturally talented tap dancer.”

5. At age 19, June moved to Cleveland and did shows at The Cleveland Playhouse.

6. She converted to Judaism in 1953 before marrying her first husband, Edward Sostek. Later, she remarried to acting teacher Charles Kakatsakis. They have a son named Harry.

7. June got a long very well with the rabbi she studied with during her conversion.

“We would talk and he would say, ‘Oh gee, we’ve got to stop this. We have to get back to Judaism,’” she told Vulture.

8. June made her Broadway debut in 1959 in the musical “Gypsy.” She was a replacement who played the character Electra.

9. Her resume is, frankly, stunning.

As Rachel Handler wrote in Vulture, “She has played mother to Larry David, Steve Carell, and Adam Sandler; grandma to Lena Dunham (whom Squibb says was a favorite progeny), Amy Schumer, and a cartoon kid version of Ellen DeGeneres; confidante to Blythe Danner and Margo Martindale; wife to Jack Nicholson and Bruce Dern; and Queen Elizabeth II for about a minute in the tennis mockumentary ‘7 Days in Hell.'”

10. OK, one more vintage June Squibb photo. Just because!

11. She became a first-time Oscar nominee at the age of 83! She was nominated for her role in the movie “Nebraska.”

12. Some of her favorite films are westerns, “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Seven Samurai.”

13. June has no time for ageism in show business! When asked about the topic in 2013, she replied, “Well, it’s like anything else. I always feel, rules are meant to be broken.

14. She has two rescue cats, Billy Bob and Mr. Rose.

June first saw Billy Bob in a photo “where he had this look like he was just telling the whole world, ‘Fuck off, all of you.’” Meanwhile, her son Harry’s partner found Mr. Rose outside a Whole Foods. “If I get really pissed off at him,” Squibb explained in an interview, “I go, ‘Mr. Rose, will you stop that?’”

15. Please enjoy this TikTok of June reading famous action movie quotations!

@magnoliapics

Babe wake up, June Squibb reading cinema’s greatest action lines just dropped #JuneSquibb #ThelmaMovie #movie #movieclip #filmtok #fyp #film #action #comedy

♬ original sound – Magnolia Pictures

16. At the age of 94, June just had her first starring role in the action movie “Thelma.”

According to Hey Alma contributor Kylie Bolter, Thelma is “a spitfire matriarch adjusting to life alone in the years following her husband’s passing.” She adds, “When Thelma receives a call from someone she believes to be her grandson, saying that he has been in a terrible accident and needs $10,000 wired to him, she doesn’t think twice about helping. After realizing it was a common scam, Thelma is adamant about getting her money back, undeterred by the pleas from her family.”

17. June met the real-life Thelma Post, who happens to be the Jewish grandma of “Thelma” director Josh Margolin.

18. June has become friends with some of her co-stars. “Thelma” co-star Fred Hechinger, who plays Thelma’s grandson, Danny, regularly comes over to dinner at her house. Plus, she’s close with Chris Colfer whom she met on the set of “Glee.”

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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