Obituary: David Segal
Tuesday 25 February 1997
He found his true metier and great popularity in comedy character roles. His entrance was always greeted by a warm round of applause, which would later erupt into gales of laughter.
Playing in weekly repertory, it would have been easy for him to impose the persona of David Segal on to the stock comedy characters that were part of the repertoire. Instead, he chose to immerse himself in the character he was playing and would transform himself into the hen-pecked husband, the put-upon beadle of the local synagogue, or the busybody matchmaker.
Segal had received his training in classical Yiddish theatre and could acquit himself admirably in many of the classic roles of the repertoire. Particular highlights of his work were Hershele, the Scribe in Gordin's God, Man and Devil, the Rabbi in Anski's The Dybbuck and what the press described as "a towering performance" in the Sholem Aleiche Centenary production of Hard to be a Jew. He won great acclaim when playing the title role in the Yiddish production of The Merchant of Venice in 1946.
Segal's great versatility was helped by his mastery of the art of make- up. This was extraordinary, as he was colour-blind and could only choose the correct colour by checking the numbers on his make-up sticks.
David Segal was born in Vilna, Poland, into a family with no theatrical background, but his love of the Yiddish language and the theatre led him to join an amateur group as a teenager and he became a professional actor in his early twenties. He toured Poland with the leading Yiddish actors of the day and from 1928 until 1933 appeared in Romania along with his wife, the actress Meta Segal.
They both arrived in London in 1933 as members of the Pavilion Theatre company, under the aegis of the actress/manager Madam Fanny Waxman. These were the final performances of Yiddish theatre at the Pavilion before it closed later that year. With Fanny Waxman's company, the Segals toured the provinces and later appeared in Belgium, alongside such luminaries as Jacob Ben Ami and Berta Gersten.
David Segal later became a member of the Yiddish National Theatre, in the East End of London, under the artistic direction of Meier Tzelniker, with whom he later successfully toured South Africa.
The outbreak of the Second World War found Segal on the sea voyage back to England, where he and his wife decided to make their permanent home. He joined the company at the Grand Palais, where he worked until the theatre closed in the early Sixties, and then toured with the company, which went on to operate on a mobile basis. He continued to work until his 80th year.David Segal, actor: born Vilna, Poland 22 October 1901; married Meta Sloviesna (died 1982); died London 6 February 1997.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Israel-Gaza conflict: The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The missiles were tragically real
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Syria conflict: Syrian and Turkish Kurds unite to battle Isis threat - ‘We shoot them like sheep, but next day double the number return’
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...
£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...
£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...
£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...