Imagine a cool Jew. That could be someone with effortless chutzpah, someone who engages with their Jewishness on their own terms, or even just a very trendy Jew!
You may or may not be picturing Jewish actress Lizzy Caplan, but she is all of the above and certainly one of the coolest Jews in Hollywood right now. Instead of getting caught up in trying to figure out how to be just as cool as Lizzy, let’s take some time to learn about where that coolness comes from.
Here are 18 things to know about Lizzy Caplan.
1. Lizzy was born in Los Angeles to a Jewish family.
2. She grew up Reform and took part in many Jewish rites of passage.
“I had a bat mitzvah, was confirmed, went to Jewish summer camp,” she told American Jewish Life Magazine. She added, “I go to temple for the High Holy Days. I think, like most people in their early 20s, I kind of strayed away from it. I think once I have a family I’ll be back into it.”
3. Sadly, Lizzy’s mother Barbara passed away from cancer when Lizzy was 13.
You can hear Lizzy discuss that experience and more here:
4. Lizzy went to Alexander Hamilton High School where she studied piano in their Academy of Music.
5. She became interested in acting through participating in school plays.
6. Her first acting job was as Sarah on “Freaks and Geeks,” though now Lizzy relates that she doesn’t think she was cool enough to have been on it.
Lizzy, we think you were absolutely cool enough to be in “Freaks and Geeks.”
7. She never attended college due to the fact that it would have been a “time suck.”
8. If you haven’t seen Lizzy in anything else, you’ve definitely seen her as the iconic role of Janis Ian in “Mean Girls.”
Check out the classic friend break-up scene between Lizzy’s Janis and Lindsey Lohan’s Cady:
9. Lizzy was in the music video for Jason Mraz’s song “You and I Both.”
Check it out:
10. Adding yet another cult classic to Lizzy’s resume, she played the role of Casey Klein (in case you’re wondering, yes the character is Jewish!) in “Party Down.”
Ten years after the show first premiered, the cast reunited for this delightful panel:
Despite the exciting news that “Party Down” will be getting a revival, Lizzy will unfortunately not be participating due to a scheduling conflict.
11. Lizzy has described herself as a “complain-y Jew.”
“I don’t know how to appreciate things so well,” she explained in an interview.
Lizzy, we’re right there with you.
12. In 2013, Lizzy took on the role of notable sexologist Virginia Johnson in the show “Masters of Sex.”
“And there was something so brave to me about this woman who was so comfortable with her sexuality at a time where women weren’t,” Lizzy said in an interview, discussing what she loves about the character. “They had no ownership over their own sexuality. And she was this twice-divorced woman with two kids and a nightclub singer and she sort of hustles her way into this hospital and becomes this doctor’s assistant all by virtue of her own moxie and personality.”
Here’s the somewhat steamy trailer:
13. As one might assume due to her role on “Masters of Sex,” Lizzy doesn’t shy away from talking about sex.
When asked about this, and specifically if she would ever use the conversation starter “Hey, let’s talk about dildos,” Lizzy responded:
“Yeah, I mean, that’s pretty much how I start the majority of my conversations — ‘Hey, let’s talk about dildos’ — especially around the Hanukkah table.”
Please, please invite us to the Caplan family Hanukkah festivities.
14. She is a fan of Bravo’s the “Real Housewives” franchise!
“I find reality television to be so delectable. I cannot even fully express how much it means to me,” she told the New York Times Magazine. “It’s this idea of taking a somewhat normal human being and then putting them on this frying pan of fame. In real time, you can watch fame ruin somebody and makes them go insane.”
15. Lizzy is married to British actor Tom Riley, who, according to her, “used to be very ugly.”
Listen to her discuss this further, along with her role as Annie Wilkes in “Castle Rock,” here:
16. Lizzy has never (professionally) performed on the stage!
“I really want to, it’s so intimidating. But I really want to, I want that experience. It seems so completely different than anything you could do in film, and I’m embarrassed that I haven’t,” Lizzy said in a filmed conversation with actress Allison Janney.
17. Look out for Lizzy in the upcoming series “Fatal Attraction,” based on the 1987 movie of the same name!
18. Additionally, Lizzy will be in the filmed adaption of the book “Fleishman Is In Trouble” as Libby.
Though not much else is known about the limited series at the moment, we at Alma loved the novel. It made our list of favorite books for the summer of 2019, where we wrote at the time:
“Fleishman Is In Trouble” is writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut novel, and it tells the story of Toby and Rachel Fleishman, who have just separated after 15 years together. It takes place a couple months after their separation, when one night, Rachel drops the kids at Toby’s apartment and disappears. But Toby and Rachel don’t narrate the story — that falls to Libby, an old college friend of Toby’s whom he met studying abroad in Israel. Libby is a magazine writer who lives in suburban New Jersey and is struggling as a stay-at-home mom. We won’t spoil anything for you — you really must read it yourself — but it’s a masterclass in storytelling. Elizabeth Gilbert’s pull quote has to be our favorite: “Just the sort of thing that Philip Roth or John Updike might have produced in their prime (except, of course, that the author understands women).”
We can’t wait to see it!