Independent Journalist
Advocate
Truth Teller

Sharon Rosen Leib writes about her passions and what defines her:  the California Jewish experience; combatting antisemitism; her family’s Hollywood history; feminism; humanism and politics. Her experiences as a criminal lawyer, journalist, mother of three daughters and fourth-generation Jewish Los Angeleno give her the street cred to tackle these complex subjects with nuance and wisdom.

Ghosts of Hollywood Past 

 

My Work

Hollywood's History

Feminism

Family

Advocacy & Politics

Books & Authors

The Jewish Experience

Endorsements

“Sharon was in my narrative nonfiction workshop at Aspen Summer Words and I really enjoyed digging into her revealing mix of biography, family history, Hollywood history and the history of Jewish America.”

—Margot Lee Shetterly, bestselling author of “Hidden Figures”

“Sharon’s work has been, in the best Forward tradition, fearless. When every other media outlet was fawning over the new Academy Museum, Sharon took a much needed skeptical point of view, and documented the museum’s lack of inclusion of the Jewish founders of the film industry. Her resulting investigative piece was picked up and echoed by news outlets around the world, and resulted in the museum changing course and adding a permanent section to its exhibit. That story is the perfect illustration of Sharon’s always diligent and original reporting.”

—Rob Eshman, National Editor The Forward

“When I think of the writing and style of Sharon Rosen Leib what comes to mind is as an exquisite romantic documentarian. Her life-long love of writing, her core roots of Jewish tradition blended with a family anchored as founding fathers of the Hollywood film industry, and a genetic predisposition towards the literary arts make for fun reading. I heartily recommend Sharon Rosen Leib as a wonderful authoress and enjoyable read.”

—Carla Winter-Evans, co-editor of “William Fox, Sol M. Wurtzel and the Early Fox Film Corporation: Letters, 1917-1923”

“I enjoyed reading your columns about your grandmother (Lillian Wurtzel Semenov), and your great grandparents (Sol and Marian Wurtzel). (Your aunt) Marina (Semenov) and I used to go swim in the pool in Bel-Air in that amazing house your great grandmother lived in. I have so many Semenov memories I can’t begin to tell you. Thank you for sending your pieces. You have a wonderful voice and it was a pleasure to read them.”

—Nora Ephron, Prolific Author, Screenwriter, Director

“Sharon Rosen Leib was a valuable columnist at the San Diego Jewish Journal since its inception in 2001. Her column, Musings from Mama, was popular amongst our diverse community of readers as the topics she covered were timely, heartfelt, and thought-provoking. She is unafraid to cover complicated or controversial topics and her unique voice and perspective shine through with each submission. In addition to her monthly column, she contributed book reviews, travel features, profiles and updates on the local Jewish community. The San Diego Press Club honored her writing multiple times with at least a dozen awards. She continues to be an asset to our small trove of writers.”

—Dr. Mark Moss, Publisher San Diego Jewish Journal

“Sharon Rosen Leib is a compelling writer and speaker. She’s not afraid to tackle the tough questions of what it means to descend from one of Hollywood’s powerful Jewish families- the good, the bad and the painful - as long as it’s the truth. When making public appearances helping to promote my book, her honesty resonated with audiences. She’s the real deal and has made real changes in the representation of Hollywood’s pioneering Jewish creators.”

—Rocky Lang, Film Producer, Bestselling Author and Editor of “Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking”

“Sharon Rosen Leib writes beautifully about her Wurtzel family’s unique and important Hollywood legacy, rightfully positioning their many achievements alongside others who may be better known. She encourages her readers to take a more nuanced view of the early Jewish movie studio heads and executives, who showed tremendous tenacity and vision -- despite the constant undertow of anti-Semitism -- to create America's cultural and economic powerhouse, the film industry.”

—Alicia Mayer, Great-grandniece of Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer (MGM) and Family Historian

“Sharon has twice been a guest on my radio show, affably and competently covering very topical assignments including the worth/value of older/seasoned women’s important long views on media literacy and Eastern European culture and life standards. A fourth generation Californian, Sharon navigates various inter-generational, inter-ethnic lanes - bringing along her rich family history, professional experience, and legacy building sensibilities. Her interactions with the host, and other guest were deeply personable and memorable.”

—Claudia Shambaugh, Radio Public Affairs host at KUCI, Irvine

“Sharon's manuscript is a juicily intimate look at a whip-smart, driven Jewish Hollywood pioneer who became King of the B Pictures and defined the American story … and how his legacy of success and damage reverberated for generations.”

—Janice Steinberg, author of “The Tin Horse”

“Sharon provided insight, guidance, and heart to documentaries I directed for 20th Century Fox. With her depth of knowledge of Hollywood history, her own nuanced take on her family’s vital link to the rise of cinema as a cultural force, and her willingness to go the extra mile in every endeavor she undertakes, Sharon proved invaluable to the success of our projects.”

—John Cork, Filmmaker, Author

"Sharon Rosen Leib is one of our most talented and fearless journalists. Whatever the beat, she writes with passion and insight. She is especially astute when she turns her mind to things Hollywood and Jewish—topics that, astonishingly enough, often intersect. Her byline is always a sign of smarts, wit, accuracy, and integrity."

—Thomas Doherty, Professor of American Studies Brandeis University, author of “Hollywood and Hitler 1933-1939”

The Blog

Books by Friends & Strangers

Books by Friends & Strangers

Top 10 reasons why writing book reviews ratchets up my anxiety: Two of my favorite credos are Mother Teresa's "judge less, love more" and my neighbor Tuto's "DBAA (don't be an a**hole)."  Although I'm no saint like Mother Teresa and not as cool as my 70+ year old...

“Hollywood and Israel: A History”

“Hollywood and Israel: A History”

Tony Shaw, coauthor of "Hollywood and Israel", is neither a friend or a stranger.  He's a professor of Contemporary History at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom who reached out to me in 2015.  He explained he was writing a book about...

“Mercury Pictures Presents” – 1940s Hollywood

“Mercury Pictures Presents” – 1940s Hollywood

Take it from me - Anthony Marra is a kind, supremely smart, terrifically talented and earnest young man and writer.  He possesses other qualities I admire - patience and graciousness.  His patience and grace served him well when we were stuck together at the...

Please shoot me an email if you are an editor with an intriguing freelance assignment; an agent interested in representing me; an organization/podcaster/host who'd like me to speak at an event or on Zoom; a friend or stranger who has written a book I might be interested in blogging about;  someone with constructive feedback or wise insights. I'd like to hear from you! I'll reply as soon as I'm able.

Let's start a conversation