Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

October 17, 2002

Seymour Rexite, 91, a one-time matinee idol of the Yiddish theater and radio, died Monday at his home in New York's Greenwich Village.

A high, sweet tenor, Mr. Rexite starred with his wife, singer and actress Miriam Kressyn, for more than 40 years on the radio, performing pop standards in Yiddish. At one time they were heard on 18 radio shows a week.

Known in his native Poland as the wunderkind child singer, Mr. Rexite (born Rechtzeit) immigrated to the United States in 1920 with his father, a cantor, and brother, Jack, an actor and songwriter. When quotas prevented his mother and sisters from coming, a congressman arranged for him to perform before President Calvin Coolidge. Jack Rechtzeit wrote a song, "Bring Me My Mother From the Other Side." And they did.

In the Yiddish theater he had his greatest success, starring in Dem Rebbens Nigun ("The Rabbi's Melody") and Dos Yidishe Maydele ("The Jewish Girl"). He appeared in one of the first full-length Yiddish films with sound, Mayn Yidishe Mame (My Jewish Mother) in 1930, and in the Yiddish film Motl der Operator (Motl the Operator).

In recent years, Mr. Rexite occasionally performed. In March, he appeared at a Richard Rodgers tribute still able to belt out "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" in Yiddish.

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