Gertrude Berg

Gertrude Berg


New York, New York



Birth Name

Gertrude Edelstein


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Born on October 3, 1899, the daughter of Jewish-Americans who ran boarding houses and hotels in the Catskills, Gertrude Berg became one of the best-known women in the radio and television industry. Originating the idea for The Goldbergs, she played the role of Molly Goldberg on radio and…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Berg married chemical engineer and food technologist Lewis Berg in 1918. The couple had two children, Cherney and Harriet.

    • Gertrude Berg is buried at the Clovesville Cemetery in Clovesville, New York alongside her husband and her mother.

    • Gertrude Berg only began her professional career upon moving back to New York from Louisiana after the sugar plantation her husband worked at burned to the ground.

    • Among the numerous famous phrases made popular by Gertrude Berg on The Goldbergs is the now commonly-used "so who's to know?"

    • Berg is a 2005 honoree of the Paley Center for Media's (formerly, The Museum of Television and Radio) She Made It initiative - spotlighting the women who have contributed most significantly to the broadcasting industry.

    • Filmmaker Aviva Kempner called the business-savvy Getrude Berg "the Oprah of her time" in a 2007 interview.

    • Thanks to her acting, writing, and production abilities, Berg was already one of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry when she began on television - amassing over one million dollars of worth by 1949.

    • Though she was Jewish-American, Berg could not speak Yiddish and had to be trained to memorize Yiddish phrases for a radio commercial in 1928. However, she was actively interested in the plight of European Jews in 1930s Germany.

    • Berg first gained acting experience by performing skits with her family for guests of her father's various boarding houses and hotels. She later studied writing for the stage at Columbia University.

    • For her role in The Goldbergs, Gertrude Berg won the Emmy Award for Best Actress in 1950.

    • Among her theater appearances, Berg won a Tony Award as Best Actress for the Broadway play A Majority of One.

    • When the entertainment industry was under fire for suspected communist affiliations in the early 1950s, Gertrude Berg resisted pressure from the network and sponsors and steadfastly refused to take any actions against Goldbergs co-star Philip Loeb.

    • In addition to a staggering number of television and radio scripts, Gertrude Berg wrote an autobiography (Molly and Me), developed a cookbook (The Molly Goldberg Cookbook), co-created a syndicated comic strip, and lent her name to a nationally-printed newspaper advice column.

    • In 1989, Berg's creation The Goldbergs was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

  • Quotes

    • Gertrude Berg: (on growing up in a family in New York) We didn't have Tennessee Williams problems. It was more like George Kaufman.

    • Gertrude Berg: (on writing Jewish characters for radio) I want to show them as they really are - as I, a young Jewish girl, knew them.

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