Izzy (Isidore) Abrahami, an actor, theatre and television director, journalist and author, passed away on April 1st at the age of 83.
Izzy (Isidore) Abrahami, born on April 18, 1930, in Sofia, Bulgaria, escaped the Nazi occupation of Bulgaria in 1940.
His father, a Bulgarian journalist, befriended Ataturk in the ’20 of the previous century, when Ataturk was merely the Turkish military attaché in Sofia. In 1938, when Ataturk was the prime-minister of Turkey, he sent the Abrahami’s a special invitation and saved their lives.
After a short stay in Istanbul, the family continued to Lebanon and from there to Palestine. Izzy grew up in Haifa and studied in an agricultural school. He soon discovered his theatrical talent and after the Israeli war of independence of 1948, he went to study theatre at the first theatre school of the Kameri Theatre in Tel Aviv, and was one of the few that were selected to join the company upon graduation.
But Izzy had higher aspirations and he went to study directing theatre in Bristol Old Vic. One of his schoolmates was Peter O’Toole.
What followed was a mega-tour of European theatre, in London, Ireland, Norway, Belgium and finally he settled in The Netherlands, where he wrote theatrical revues for Algemeen Handelsblat under the pen-name of Orr. In 1968 he directed a couple of experimental films, THE BARE FACTS, and FROM A TO Z, which actually represented Holland in the TV film festival in Venice.
He was active in the Provo movement in the 60’s, with Robert Jasper Grotveld; was in the group that transformed Paradiso into what it is now; and exhibited collages ‘The Art of Ways’ in a gallery in Amsterdam as a result of an accidental wager in a pub. In Amsterdam he also wrote his first novel, The Game, and travelled to New York, attempting to get it published. It was a great success and the novel was translated into many languages and published in Germany, South America, France, Israel and The Netherlands (in 1973, by Bruna, under the title “Kijkspel voor flatbewoners”)
Izzy travelled between New York and Amsterdam, writing interviews and short stories for magazines such as Zero, Omni and Avenue. He also resumed his artistic Chutzpah creating the daring exhibition, titled ‘The First National Museum of Bullshit’, and exhibiting it in New York and Amsterdam.
In 1988, he settled back in Amsterdam with his wife, Jozien Schreuder (a cardiologist). Until the end of his life he was still active directing TV documentaries together with his colleague, the producer Erga Netz. In 1993 Rob Stel joined them to creat the limited company Chee-Ka-Chee.
In his last years Izzy resumed his writing and completed one novel, which was recently published in Israel by publishing house "Gvanim", titled ‘Euni, the Book of Enemies’. The English book will come out in 2014. His memoir, ‘My Life as a Whale’, focusing solely on his good memories, is in the final stages of editing.
His documentaries were broadcast by various broadcasters in the Netherlands, and all over the world. Many of them won awards in festivals worldwide. For example, he won the Gold Medal at the Monaco Television Festival in 2002 for his music documentary ISRAEL ROCKS!
Among his other remarkable documentaries are His ‘Red Light Blues’(2009) WhiteFlag, Playing with the Enemy (2005),– On Grace Kelly, Money and Dreams (2002),SIMPLY HUMAN, Hans Snoek: lifelong dancing, lifetime giving (2000), Summer, Autumn, WAR, Spring (1998), THE BUND, UTOPIA FOR REAL (1997), ARSENAL 8, football for the soul (1996), WE HAVE NO WAR-SONGS -Gypsies, the Professional Amateurs of Life (1995), ISRAEL, THE CHANGING OF THE MINDS (1993), ISRAEL -- THE OTHER REALITY (1988) and the mokumentary THE INVENTION OF THE PARKING METER (1992)
Izzy died after suffering from pneumonia. He fell ill twice in the winter of 2013, and this weakened him considerably.
The funeral took place on Wednesday, April 10, in begraafplaats Zorgvlied, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.