Yehoram Gaon – Personal Profile
Yehoram Gaon is considered one of the major proponents of the Israeli culture and entertainment worlds. As Israel’s all time most popular singer, gifted actor, TV and radio host, writer, poet and publicist, Gaon has a long list of performances on stage and screen in both movies and on television. He has produced and directed plays and movies and written and edited books on Israeli culture and tradition.
Gaon was born and grew up in Jerusalem. After completing high school, he studied Middle-East studies and Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University. Gaon did his three-year army service as a singer and entertainer in the popular Nahal Troupe.
Other movies followed including; Siege, Every Bastard a King, The Eagles Attack at Dawn, Joker, The Lover, No-Way Street, and The Entebbe Operation.
Gaon’s deep love for Jerusalem and his sensitive understanding of the Sephardic heritage are evident in the movies he directed – I am a Jerusalemite and From Toledo to Jerusalem.
Taking up a theatrical career, Gaon appeared with the Israel Cameri Theatre in theatrical productions of Arnold Wesker’s Chips with Everything, Bichner’s Vitzek, and the classic Israeli drama Kinneret Kinneret,by the National Laureate, Nathan Alterman, and others.
In the early 1960’s, Gaon studied acting under the famous Utta Hagen at the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York, and graduated with honors from the RCA Institute for TV Production. He returned to Israel to play the starring role in the musical Kazablan, which became an immediate hit. After more than 600 performances, Gaon also starred in the movie version of the musical, which became one of the classics of the Israeli movie industry.
Together with the former President of Israel, Yitzhak Navon, Gaon also directed The Spanish Romancero. Other theatrical performances in which Gaon has appeared include, Children of a Lesser God and Same Time Next Year by Neil Simon, with Israeli leading actress, Gila Almagor.
Gaon’s singing career has yielded 7 solo shows, over 70 long-playing records and countless special performances. His songs have become the cornerstone of the Israeli music and it was only natural that Gaon was chosen by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to be the Representative Israeli Singer at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 1994. There he sang, at Rabin’s request, the inspirational Days of Grace and Forgiveness.
Gaon has also hosted weekly radio shows such as The Taste of Manna from Heaven and Spices for Shabbat. During the last 18 years, his weekly radio show Gaon on Air- a program that is a bitter-sweet commentary on the events of the week, attracts one of the largest listening audiences on Israeli radio.
Gaon has also appeared in and hosted a wide range of TV programs, from talk shows to special productions. The comedy series Close Relatives, that Gaon starred in ran for three years and enjoyed immense popularity. another dramatic mini series, Mr Muni, was based on a bestseller by Israeli popular writer A.B. Yehoshua. As a TV host, he hosted the highly successful Friday with Gaon which ran for three years and was sequel by Good Evening Israel which is still running.
Gaon is the author of the book, “In The Middle Of The Road” which includes poems, family stories and photos, and has also edited “Spices from Spain”, a compilation of quotes from Ladino, with Hebrew translation, collected by his father the late Moshe David Gaon, a renowned historian. He has recently published a second edition of the monumental encyclopedia Eastern Jews in Israel, originally published by his father.
In 2004, Yehoram Gaon was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize for his contribution to Culture and Hebrew Song.
While still active in the entertainment business, Gaon served eight years as a member of the Jerusalem Municipal Council until 2002. He held the Portfolio for the Cultural Affairs and Special Educational Needs.
Yehoram Gaon is actively involved in civic affairs, serving as an active member of various NGO’s such as the Committee for the Advancement of Ladino, Yad Ben-Zvi Fund for Diaspora Research, Adopt a Soldier Fund, The Association for Soldiers Welfare, The Association for Autistic Children, The Fund for Music Therapy and The Academy For the Hebrew Language. 2012 – Received Honorary Doctor from the Tel Aviv University. Winner of the Israeli Cultural prize 2014, Honorary prize for best Ladino actor and producer in Los Angeles 2014 and NYC Israeli Film Award 2014.