Saturday, April 20, 2024

Beloved ‘Fiddler On The Roof’ Star’s Legacy Lives On After Passing

Joanna Merlin is a renowned actress, best known for her role⁤ as Tzeitel⁤ in the 1964 production of “Fiddler on⁢ the ⁢Roof”. However, ​her acting career began long⁤ before that, after ‍graduating from UCLA and studying under the tutelage of Michael Chekhov. She has an impressive list ​of on-screen ⁤credits, including roles in “The Ten‍ Commandments” and “Weddings and Babies”. Eventually, Merlin left Hollywood to pursue‌ a career in theater in ‍New ​York.

In 1961, Merlin made her Broadway debut in “Beckett” and went on to perform in other productions such as⁤ “A Far Country” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. However,​ she eventually transitioned from performing on stage to working behind‍ the scenes as a casting director. She ⁣was involved in casting for several ⁣well-known Stephen Sondheim musicals, including‍ “Follies”, “Into the Woods”, and “Sweeney Todd”.

Despite her ⁣role as a casting director, Merlin⁣ never⁤ stopped acting. She continued to appear on screen in movies like “All That Jazz” and “Fame”, as well as TV shows such⁣ as “All My Children” and “Northern Exposure”. ⁤Later in ⁢her career, she​ landed ‍a recurring‌ role as Judge Lena Petrovsky on⁢ the popular TV show “Law & ⁣Order: Special Victims Unit”.

Sadly, the news of Merlin’s passing ​has‍ been announced. She spent her final years as a professor at New York‌ University’s Tisch graduate acting program. The program’s Instagram page was the first to share the ​news, ‍describing Merlin ​as​ “an actress, ​master Chekhov teacher, and former‌ casting director⁢ for Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Bernardo Bertolucci, and ‍James Ivory.”​ The post ​also states,⁢ “Joanna‍ will be⁣ deeply missed⁣ at Grad Acting, by the Chekhov community,⁢ and by the⁤ many people she touched through her​ artistry.”

Merlin was ‍a ⁣faculty member at NYU for 25 years, starting in ​1998.⁣ The ⁤cause of her death has ‍not been disclosed,‌ but she was 92 ⁤years⁢ old at the⁣ time ‍of her passing.

She was married twice in her⁣ lifetime. Her first ‌marriage was to Martin Paul Lubner​ from 1950 to 1957, which ended ‍in divorce. She then married David Dretzin in 1964 ‍and they ​had two‌ children together. ⁣Sadly, Dretzin passed away in 2006.

Merlin is survived by her two children, Rachel Dretzin, a documentary film director ⁤and producer, and actress⁣ Julie Dretzin. Her⁤ legacy ‌as a talented actress, teacher, and casting director​ will continue to live on in‍ the hearts of​ those she touched​ through her artistry.

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