Actress and Author
Gila Almagor was the daughter of a father who was policeman in the British Army and a mother who was mentally ill. Almagor never saw her father as he was killed by an Arab sniper when her mother was five months pregnant. Her mother later remarried.
At the age of 13 Almagor was sent to the "Hadassim" Youth Village where she was educated for two years. When she decided to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress she moved to Tel Aviv, rented a room near to the "Habima" Theatre and presented herself at the entrance examinations for the drama school. Despite the fact that she was not yet 17 years old and that the examinations were meant for those who had finished army service, she was accepted.
Her premiere performance was on her seventeenth birthday, in the play "The Skin of Our Teeth". From the "Habima" Theatre Almagor moved to the "Cameri" Theatre and 8 years later she traveled to study acting in New York. Since her return to Israel in 1965 she has worked as an freelance actress.
Almagor has played leading roles in many productions, including "Anne Frank", "Jeanne d'Arc", "The Crucible", "Three Sisters", "The Bride and the Butterfly Hunt", "They Were All My Children" and "Medea". Throughout her professional career Almagor has appeared in more than 40 films including "Siege", "Queen of the Road", "The House on Chelouche Street", "Life According to Agfa" and "The Summer of Aviya" and has also appeared in television series.
In 1987 she published her book "The Summer of Aviya", based on her personal biography. This book has been translated into numerous languages and has had widespread success. Later Almagor appeared in a one-man show by this name which was performed hundreds of times and was awarded the Rubina Prize. She also transformed the book into a movie which has represented Israel at important film festival worldwides and won international prizes.
He second book, "Under the Domim Tree", which was published in June 1992 also garnered widespread success and was made into a movie that in 1995 won the Vulgin Prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival.
Almagor was one of the founders of Ami (the Israeli Artists Association) and served as the spokesperson and deputy chairperson of the organization for ten years. She serves as the president of ASSITEJ Israeli - the Israeli branch of the Association of Theatre for Children and Young People and as a judge at international film festivals. Today Almagor serves as a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council and as chairperson of the Culture Committee for the city.
Almagor has been awarded many local and international prizes for her roles in the realm of cinema and theatre and in November 1997 she received the Israeli Oscar for her contribution to Israeli cinema. In 1999 she also received an honorary award for her life's work at the international film festival in Haifa.
Throughout her life Gila Almagor has been involved in widespread voluntary work: she established the "Gila Almagor Wishes Foundation" - a non-profit organization that supports sick children and fulfils their wishes. She also serves as the head of the Tel Aviv branch of the Israeli Cancer Association. In July 1996 she received the President's Merit Award for Volunteers as recognition for her fourteen years of voluntary work.
In 2004, Gila Almagor was awarded the Israel Prize in recognition of her contribution to Israeli theater and cinema.