Paul Muni

publicity photo of Paul Muni for the 1937 film “The Life of Émile Zola,” First National Pictures

Birth Name: Frederich Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund

Date of Birth: 22 September, 1895

Place of Birth: Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Lviv, Ukraine)

Date of Death: August 25, 1967

Place of Death: Montecito, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Paul Muni was an American actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936). He was also credited as Muni Weisenfreund. Known as one of the biggest stars of the 1930s, he also headlined the original Scarface (1932), as well as I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, The Good Earth, and The Life of Émile Zola.

Paul was born in Galicia, in Austria-Hungary, the son of Sallie/Celia and Phillip Weisenfreund. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, U.S. in 1902. Paul began his career with the Yiddish theatre.

He was married to Yiddish theatre actress Bella Finkel, until his death.

Source: Paul Muni on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

5 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.