Shalom Life | December 27, 2014

Jewish Hall of Fame: Dinah Manoff

Manoff will forever be remembered for her iconic role in 'Grease'

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: December 24th, 2014 in Culture » Film » News

Since the dawn of time, Jewish people have contributed greatly to various fields, from sports to entertainment to politics to porn. With our Breakthrough Jew feature, we recognize those who are up and comers in these various industries, identifying those great innovators and leaders in the contemporary world who are making a mark on society that will last a lifetime.

With the Jewish Hall of Fame, we recognize the remarkable advancements members of our community have made on today's society. These are people who have truly changed the world, and have earned the respect and praise of the members of today's younger generation.

ShalomLife’s Jewish Hall of Fame is our ongoing tribute to the greatest Jews who have ever lived; be sure to catch us weekly with our latest inductees, and tweet us @ShalomLife with your suggestions.

Check out last week's inductee into the Hall of Fame here.

Hall of Fame Member: Dinah Beth Manoff

Born: January 25th, 1958, in New York, New York.

Dinah Manoff was always meant to act. Born and raised in New York City, Manoff’s parents helped to expose her to the cinematic arts. Her mother was Lee Grant, a renown actress, writer, and director. Her father was screenwriter Arnold Manoff, and her half-brother Tom is a classical music critic and composer.

Dinah Manoff’s first project was the animated film Everybody Rides the Carousel, released in 1975. She then made an appearance on the PBS show The Stranger, followed by one on Welcome Back, Kotter, and then Visions. Her first live-action movie appearance was in the 1977 television film Raid on Entebbe. She then got a spot on the show Soap, and had a regular role until the end of the season.

In 1997, she ended up being cast in the iconic film Grease. She landed the role of Pink Lady Marty Maraschino, which was the big break that helped to propel her into Broadway stardom.


The 1980’s marked the start of Manoff’s more serious acting career. She was given the role of Libby Tucker in the Broadway play I Ought to Be in Pictures, by Neil Simon. She went on the receive both the Theater World Award, and a Tony Award for the Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. Thanks to her award winning stage performance of the role, Manoff went on to play Tucker in the film version of the production. That same year she married Jean-Marc Joubert, an actor from the Oscar winning film Ordinary People.

In the mid 80’s, Manoff played Ellie Greenwich in the Broadway play Leader of the Pack. The play was about the life and times of Greenwich, a songwriter, and did well. However the play couldn’t compare to I Ought to Be in Pictures’s success. During this time Manoff also went through a divorce with her first husband, Joubert.

Her big television break came in 1988 television production Empty Nest. She played Carol Weston and appeared in all 170 episodes of the show, which ran for seven seasons and even went on to win a Golden Globe. This Golden Girls spin off show helped to establish Manoff’s reputation for quality TV.

During much of the 90’s she made guest appearances on TV, including a few on Golden Girls as well as her directing several episodes of Empty Nest. She was also a guest director for Sabrina, the Teenage Witch for the episode “Prelude to a Kiss.” Manoff married Arthur Mortell in 1997, and has since had three children with him.

Manoff had several television and film roles during much of the 2000’s, including a role alongside her mother in the 2001 film The Amati Girls, the only film with the two of them together that saw a theatrical release. Although the film wasn’t a major box office hit, it still received decent reviews from audiences.

Since The Amati Girls, Manoff has appeared in several small films and television roles. She also appeared with the cast of Grease at The Hollywood Show fan convention in honor of the movie’s re-release back in 2011.

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