Photo: GPO
Porat in 1957
Photo: GPO

Israel's leading theater diva dies at 91

German-born Orna Porat to be buried by her deceased husband after decades of dedication to children, the arts and the State of Israel.

Orna Porat, Israel's foremost theater diva, passed away Thursday morning at 91 years old. Her funeral service will take place on Friday at 10am at Tel Aviv's Cameri Theater, where she dedicated decades of her life to the art of acting.



From the Cameri Theater, Porat's coffin will be taken to her final resting place in Hadid, just east of Ben Gurion International Airport, where she will join her husband, Joseph Porat (formerly Proter), who was a Mossad official before his death.


Orna Porat in 2005 (Photo: Tzivka Tishler) (Photo: Tzivka Tishler)
Orna Porat in 2005 (Photo: Tzivka Tishler)

Porat won the coveted Israel Prize in 1979 for a lifetime of achievement in theater as well as Yedioth Ahronoth's Kinor David prize in 1970, 1974 and 1980.


The actress was also granted an honorary doctorate from the Weizmann Institute, Bar-Ilan University and Tel Aviv University as well as additional institutions abroad.


Porat with David Ben-Gurion (Photo: Cameri Archive) (Photo: Cameri Archive)
Porat with David Ben-Gurion (Photo: Cameri Archive)

Porat is also lauded for her work in helping create the International Associated of Theater for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) which brought together professionals in the field from around the globe.


But Porat's personal story is perhaps even more striking than her professional achievements. Porat was born in Germany in 1924 as Irene Klein. After completing secondary school, the future icon studied acting from 1940-1942 and eventually began work at a theater in Schleswig.


Porat on stage in 1984 (Photo: Israel Haramati) (Photo: Israel Haramati)
Porat on stage in 1984 (Photo: Israel Haramati)

In 1947, Porat moved to the British Mandate of Palestine with her husband. The two were unable to have children and Porat underwent a conversion process in order to be able to adopt two children.


Porat began work at the Cameri Theater in Israel in 1948, the year of the nation's founding. She also landed significant roles in the Beit Lessin Theater and the Be'er Sheva Theater as well as additional locations abroad.


During her time at the Cameri Theater, Porat created and managed the children's theater next door from 1965-1970 and created a second one after its closure.


"I'm in shock," Cameri Theater Director Noam Semel told Ynet. "Even though we knew she was very sick - her terrible illness dragged on for years - this is still difficult to accept. Orna Porat was an amazing actress and no words could do justice to her greatness and her contribution to Israeli culture, to Israeli theater and to the country of Israel."


פרסום ראשון: 08.06.15, 13:40
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