The man who got Sammy Davis to kiss Archie Bunker is leaving his mark on Jewish studies


Michael Ross, the former producer of and writer for iconic American sitcoms “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company,” has given some $14 million to create Jewish studies programs at UCLA and City College of New York in recent months.

Ross – who was born Isidore Rovinsky and grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home that he has said was permeated by “the essence of Yiddishkeit” – gave $4 million to endow a Yiddish chair at UCLA, the university announced last week.

In April, he gave $10 million to the City College of New York for the establishment of the Michael and Irene Ross Center for Jewish Studies and to endow a Yiddish chair there. He graduated from City College in 1939.

I’m trying to get Ross on the phone, but I hear that he is not in the best of health these days… hopefully I’ll have more later.

If you have 10 minutes to kill at work, take some time to watch the clip above to see some of Ross’s genius at work. This clip, from the famous episode “Sammy’s Visit, which he produced, includes among other highlights Louise Jefferson telling Sammy Davis Jr. “Shalom Aleichem” and the performer laying a fat one on Archie Bunker. Could be one of TV’s finest moments.

Recommended from JTA