Jonathan Sagall יהונתן סגל
Born: April 23rd, 1959, Toronto, Canada
Sometimes Credited as: Jonathan Sagalle, Jonathan Segal, Yonatan Segal
Jonathan Sagall was born on April 23rd, 1959, Toronto, Canada. After a brief stay in Hollywood and London, he moved with his family to Haifa, Israel when he was aged 11. The son of theatre actress Ruth Sagall, from a young age he wanted to become a marine biologist before following in his mothers footsteps into acting.
He worked at local theatre’s before his big break came along when at aged just 17 he was cast in Lemon Popsicle. Starring as Bobby (Momo), the popular ladies man who uses women to get what he wants then dumps them just as easy. Bobby always seems to get the best women and leaves his friends wondering in amazement how he manages to do it. If there is a woman involved, any loyalty he ever had for his friends is forgotten about.
Jonathan auditioned for the role before his army service and secured the part when the makers called for him to make a pass at Anat Atzmon, who played Nikki (Nili) in the movie. After grabbing and kissing her, three days later he was starring in Lemon Popsicle under the direction of Boaz Davidson.
The sequels Going Steady, Hot Bubblegum, and Private Popsicle soon followed but finding roles outside of the Popsicle movies proved to be difficult. Instead he turned to more independent productions, and for 1983’s Drifting, an autobiographical story of the film’s director Amos Gutman, he starred as Robi, a young gay Israeli man who works in his grandmother’s store while dreaming of becoming a film-maker.
In 1984’s Baby Love, Jonathan’s character of Bobby was finally given more of a role but he was becoming increasingly frustrated with the creative restraints and financial compensation of the films. When Up Your Anchor, the sixth in Lemon Popsicle series of movies, came along disputes with the films producer could not be resolved and as a result, he did not appear in the film.
By this time, Jonathan was now more interested in working behind the camera and wrote and directed two independent shorts. Zerach Lipshitz’ Last Little Vacation (1985) which premiered at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, and At Home (Ba’ba’it) which was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival 1988 and subsequently showcased at film festivals in London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Milan.
In 1987 he was lured back to the Popsicle films, and starred in Young Love, and again for the eighth and final installment, Summertime Blues, the following year. After almost 10 years since the first Lemon Popsicle, the films had now run out of steam and lost their appeal for the cast who had grown older and by now, tired of playing the same characters and were eager to move on to other projects.
During the early 1990’s, Jonathan moved to America to further his acting career by making small appearances in television shows and also had a role in Steven Spielberg’s Schindlers List as Poldek Pfeffenberg, the Polish Jewish black market seller. The film was quite personal to Jonathan as his mother and members of her family were survivors of the Holocaust during World War 2.
Finding it difficult to adapt to the lifestyle and falseness of Hollywood, in 1993 he wrote and directed the stage play Lea Goes Out On The Streets which ran for two seasons at the Haifa Municipal Theatre in Israel. The story was later adapted for television. His second stage play Cockroach (Jook) was produced for Israel’s International Children’s Theatre Festival in 1994, and was also performed at the La Mama Theatre in NYC 1995.
With a love/hate relationship with acting, he turned to a more creative side of the entertainment industry. His series of short stories Hugo Asparagus were published in Israel’s weekly magazine Rosh Ehad and he also worked as a regular staff writer on the new television production of Sesame Street, an Israeli-Palestinian collaboration which began broadcasting summer of 1998.
Starring, writing, and directing his first full length feature film in 1998’s Urban Feel. The story tells of an estranged couple who’s lives and family are turned upside down when a childhood sweetheart returns. Production however was not that easy to complete.
Mostly financed by an unusually large grant of $600,000 from a fund for the promotion of quality Israeli films, the movie ran out of money during production but was saved when israeli broadcasters Keshet stepped in and gave enough money to secure completion of the film.
The final print was ready for the Haifa Film Festival in late November and went on to be nominated and win several awards, including the Israeli Film Academy’s best actress award for the film’s star Dafna Rechter.
Jonathan has since gone on to write and appear in both Canadian and Israeli television productions. In 2007, he starred in The Place for Israeli television channel 10. The show has since gone on into it’s second season and centers around the staff of a prestigious Tel Aviv restaurant, with Jonathan playing the role of head chef.
- The Place (2007-2008) (TV Series)
- Starhunter – Season 2 (2003) (TV Series – Episode: Becoming Shiva)
- Urban Feel (1998) (Also Director, Writer, & Producer)
- Deadly Outbreak (1996)
- Schindler’s List (1993)
- Summertime Blues (1988)
- Young Love (1987)
- At Home (1987) (Director, Writer, Producer only)
- Last Little Vacation (1985) (Director only)
- The Little Drummer Girl (1984)
- Baby Love (1984)
- The Drifting (1983)
- The Megillah ’83 (1983)
- Private Popsicle (1982)
- Hot Bubblegum (1981)
- Miracle on Ice (1981)
- Going Steady (1979)
- Lemon Popsicle (1978)
- A Love Affair: Eleanor & Lou Gehrig Story (1978)
- The Paper Chase – Season 1 (1978) (TV Series)
- The Man with the Power (1977)