Of course not. But there were rumors that she was.
Ponselle (1897-1981), America’s greatest female opera singer, was born Rose Ponzillo, in Meriden, Conn., and became a star of the Metropolitan Opera after singing in vaudeville.
She was singing in the Met’s “La Juive,” an 1835 opera by Halevy and Scribe, playing Rachel, the “Jewish” daughter of the goldsmith, Eleazer. (She’s really the Christian daughter of someone who later became a cardinal.)
Ponselle, asked whether she had done any research into what Jewish women were like, answered:
“Rachel doesn’t take that kind of preparation. Let’s face it, it’s a good role as far as it goes, but it’s not Norma [a role that Ponselle excelled in]. For the Jewish aspects, I knew about Jewish religion and customs from Edith [Prilik, her secretary], and also from my manager, Libbie Miller. Both of them were Jewish.
“And by the way, a lot of people at that time thought I was Jewish too. I mean, my secretary was Jewish, my manager was Jewish, and people used to say to them, ‘Come on, what is Ponselle trying to hide? She’s Jewish, so what doesn’t she admit it?'”
It’s interesting that there are so many rumors that famous non-Jewish people were secretly Jewish ““ like Cary Grant and Charlie Chaplin.
Perhaps one reason is that so many of them were.