The Yiddish theatre’s greatest actress began her career at age five touring the small time with a singing and dancing act called The Four Seasons. In 1919 she returned to the Lower East Side and concentrated on Yiddish-language legit roles.
She returned briefly to vaudeville as a star at the Palace in the late twenties and early thirties, and made the occasional detour into film and the Broadway stage – but her meat and potatoes was always on Second Avenue, the “Yiddish Rialto.” Nonetheless, you can also check out some of her few performances in Hollywood films, such as Come Blow Your Horn (1963), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), and Murder on Flight 502 (1975), a delicious rip-off of Airport 1975 that I have seen no less than four times. Ms. Picon passed away in 1992.
Here she is on record in 1931 singing “Yom Pom Pom”:
To learn about the roots of variety entertainment, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc