Itzhak Perlman with Ed Sullivan in 1958 (Photo credit: Pinn Hans)
November 2nd marks the 60th Anniversary of Itzhak Perlman’s U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show! In 1958, Perlman appeared on the beloved American variety show when he was 13 years old. He performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, impressing Sullivan and the show’s large audience.
Monsters and Critics asked the iconic violinist about his appearance on Ed Sullivan’s show. Itzhak Perlman said: “Well, you know, I was in Israel. I was 13 years old, and they said that Sullivan wanted to have a show made only of Israeli performances, Israeli acts, so to speak. And I’d never heard of him. I didn’t know who was Ed Sullivan. As a matter of fact, in Israel they called him ‘Ed Soolivan,’ because you don’t have the accent. ‘Soolivan. Who’s Soolivan?’ And so he came, and they held auditions. And I was chosen to represent, if you will, the violin department, you know, the young, chubby fiddle player walking in with crutches and so on.
“So I was very excited. But it was in retrospect, especially in the beginning, when I just first came to the States, I was very depressed because I left all my friends in Israel, so on and so forth. But he was very sweet. He was a real gentleman. And it was an interesting experience, especially playing with the Ed Sullivan orchestra, which was not exactly your great symphony orchestra. (Laughter.) But they did the best they could,” he said.