Jews Making News: Simmons, Dunham

Jews Making News: Simmons, Dunham

Gene Simmons with Kiss performs in concert in West Palm Beach in 2004. PHOTO / UPI
Gene Simmons with Kiss performs in concert in West Palm Beach in 2004. PHOTO / UPI

Hello KISS

Gene Simmons’s legendary band KISS – a brand in its own right – will continue an ongoing partnership with Hello Kitty to create a joint “KISS-Kitty” children’s show. It sounds far-fetched, but the relationship continues to bloom after its 2010 beginning.

Simmons will see his likeness (or at least his trademark face paint) donning Hello Kitty in an animated series for the Hub Network. The musician-celebrity will also serve as one of the show’s producers, and KISS-inspired Hello Kitty merchandise, from dolls to jewelry to bags, has already been released worldwide.

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Born Chaim Witz, Simmons was born in Haifa, Israel. His mother, Flóra “Florence” Klein, a Holocaust survivor, brought him to the United States at the age of eight while his father, Feri Witz, remained in Israel.

Upon arriving in America, Simmons didn’t speak English, though he quickly adapted. In the U.S., he formally changed his name to Eugene Klein, using his mother’s maiden name. Simmons has been an outspoken supporter of both the U.S. and Israel all throughout his adult life.

Dunham Up for Webby Award

We’re less than four months in, and 2013 has already been quite the year for “Girls” creator-star Lena Dunham. She already won two Golden Globes for her hit HBO show and now is confirming a book deal to the tune of $3.7 million.

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham

Random House will distribute the frank and funny 66-page “advice” book, entitled “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned.’” And on another front, Dunham is up for two more awards for work beyond her show and writing – she beat out thousands to garner two nominations for the 17th-annual Webby Awards, for the Best Individual Performance as well as Social Content and Marketing. The Awards honor excellence in websites, interactive advertising, online video and applications.

Her performance nomination comes for her “First Time” video, created in conjunction with the Obama reelection campaign. A relative newcomer to the Webbys, Dunham will go up against the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Charlize Theron for the honors (to be announced April 30).

From Brooklyn, N.Y., Dunham was born to father Carroll Dunham and mother Laurie Simmons. She has one sibling, a younger sister named Grace.


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