‘Masters of the Air’ Actor Nate Mann Opens Up About His Jewish Heritage – Kveller
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‘Masters of the Air’ Actor Nate Mann Opens Up About His Jewish Heritage

Mann played Lt. Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal in the excellent Apple TV+ show.


via Apple TV+

After the extremely moving Jewish scene in the finale of the excellent Apple TV+ WWII show “Masters of the Air,” actor Nate Mann, who played Lt. Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal, shared how his own family’s history connects him to the story of the Jewish war pilot, who joined the U.S. army a day after Pearl Harbor to fight the Nazis.

“I’m Jewish on my father’s side, and while preparing for the role, I learned more about my own family and my great-grandfather’s life as a Jewish immigrant from Hungary,” Mann, who started his TV career playing young Ray Donovan (or young Liev Schreiber if you will) on “Ray Donovan,” shared with The Hollywood Reporter.

His grandfather made it to America before WWII broke out, settling in New York. Yet in Hungary, his family members were sent to concentration camps during the war.

“He never saw many of them again, and he almost never spoke about it,” Mann recounted. “I took this history seriously, and having that level of personal connection was important for me to be able to step into a scene like the one in episode nine. So I examined my relationship to my family and that part of my family’s history, which felt satisfying and difficult at the same time.”

In the episode, Rosie is seen visiting a concentration camp, littered with corpses, and sees a menorah, a Jewish star and Hebrew words etched onto the walls of the barracks. He also talks to a survivor who lost all of his family.

In an interview with 1883 Magazine, Mann talked more about his connection with Rosie, saying that when he first read the script, there was something “familiar” about the character that reminded him of his paternal grandfather.

While their personalities were different, he said “they were both New York Jews born in the 1920s. I think there was definitely some overlap and there’s a sense of place in the world and their sense of responsibility to their society. They wanted to fulfill the American dream because, to them, their purpose was not as much about ambition but about a moral component of trying to create a good life for themselves. My grandfather certainly had that and I think Rosie did, too. His morals were just so strong.”

Mann also said that he loved Rosie’s warmth and his love for music (while Rosie came from a very musical family, he was reportedly a not-so-great singer). He also loved how much he cared for the people he served with, and “the balance between his steely determination and his outrageous courage with his warmth.”

Mann absolutely captured hearts and imaginations with his portrayal of Rosie, doing justice to this Jewish WWII hero.

Yet Mann wasn’t the only actor with Jewish heritage and a personal connection to Rosie’s word in the show — Rosie’s grandson, actor Sam Rosenthal, can be seen in the third episode playing Lt. Arthur L. Jacobson, also a pilot in the 100th Bombardment Unit.

“Knowing him, my grandpa (Rosie) would be embarrassed by all of the attention… so I’ll brag for him,” Rosenthal wrote in an Instagram post in which he shared some pictures and videos from the set, as well as some of him and his beloved grandfather. He then listed his grandfather’s many accomplishments and medals earned, including a purple cross, a French Croix de Guerre and being inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of fame.

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