Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Jewish Boy Goes to Hollywood

Joshua Charles Malina, a prominent Jewish American actor, was born January 17, 1966 in New York City. His father, an investment banker and Broadway producer, and mother, moved to Westchester County, New York, where they were among the founding members of the Young Israel of Scarsdale. The last name Malina means raspberry in Polish, and is often confused with the Latino surname Molina.

Malina attended Westchester Day School, and graduated high school at the Horace Mann School. He attended Yale University, where he received a B.A. in theater. Malina made his acting debut in Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of his movie, “A Few Good Men.” In addition to the Malina family connections to Sorkin, Malina, known for his quick wit and prolific practical jokes, noted that he once performed the Heimlich maneuver on Sorkin at a cast bowling match when the famed director and producer began choking. Malina has appeared in many Aaron Sorkin projects. He portrayed the on-screen assistant to Annette Benning’s character, Sydney Ellen Wade, in Sorkin’s “An American President,” Jeremy Goodwin on Sorkin’s “Sports Night” and speech-writer Will Bailey on Sorkin’s acclaimed “The West Wing.” Malina has also appeared in the ABC series “Scandal” and has a recurring role on the CBS hit, “The Big Bang Theory.”

Malina’s wit, charisma, humor and strong opinions come through on his ubiquitous social media presence, in media interviews and on his podcast for fans of “The West Wing.” Malina wears his Jewish pride on his sleeve; Judaism plays a central role in the life of his family. He participated in a Jewish celebrity campaign encouraging financial support of Jewish Federations, along with Greg Grunberg, Marlee Matlin, Kevin Weisman and Jonathan Silverman. He also starred along with Jewish actress Lisa Edelstein in a “Get Out the Vote” campaign for Hillel International.

Malina has been married to his wife Melissa since 1996, and they have two children, Isabel and Avi. Yom Huledet Sameyach (Happy Birthday) Joshua!

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