Israeli actress and comedian Hana Laszlo became known in the comedy circuits during the 1980s and 1990s thanks to her popular characters Safta Zapta and Clara the cleaning woman. On the big screen, she is best known for starring as Hanna Ben Moshe in Amos Gitai's “Free Zone” (2005), for which she took home a Cannes Film Festival Award and an Ophir Award nomination. She previously appeared in the 2003 film “Alila” and netted an Ophir Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Other films in which she has acted in include Assi Dayan's “Giv'at Halfon Eina Ona” (1976) and “Am Yisrael Hai” (1981), Joel Silberg's “Millioner Betzarot” (1978) and “Kuni Leml B'Kahir” (1983), and Paul Schrader's “Adam Resurrected” (2008). On television, she hosted the Israeli version of the British television game show “The Weakest Link” (2004) and was a judge on the Israeli version of “Dancing with the Stars” (2010).
Mother of 2
Childhood and Family:
Hana Laszlo was born on June 14, 1953, in Israel, to Holocaust survivors. She has two sons with former husband Aviv Giladi. She was also once married to businessman Benny Bloch.
Hana Laszlo served in the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command musical troupe from 1972 to 1973. Her film career began in 1976 when she landed the role of Hermona in the Assi Dayan comedy “Giv'at Halfon Eina Ona” (“Halfon Hill Doesn't Answer”). She next appeared in the comedies “Hatzilu Et HaMatzil” (1977), which was directed by Itzik Kol and Uri Zohar, and “Millioner Betzarot” (1978), for director/writer Joel Silberg. She also acted in the Yigal Bursztyn directed drama “Belfer” (1978), opposite Jacques Cohen, Tali Goldberg and Assi Hanegbi.
In 1981, Laszlo appeared in the 1981 dramatic film “Am Yisrael Hai,” starring Devora Bakon, Gary Eckstein and Ariel Forman. Two years later, she acted in “Kuni Leml B'Kahir” (1983), a drama starring Ze'ev Berlinski, Igor Borisov, and New York native Mike Burstyn. Laszlo, however, left the screen for a large part of the 1980s into the 1990s to focus on her career as a comedian. During this period, she enjoyed prominence with her portrayals of such characters as Clara the cleaning woman and Safta Zapta.
In 2003, Laszlo resumed her film career with the role of Mali in “Alila,” an Israeli dramatic comedy directed by Amos Gitai. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and was nominated for a Golden Lion at the 2003 Venice Film Festival and a Golden Spike at the 2003 Valladolid International Film Festival, to name a few nominations.
2004 saw Laszlo hit the small screen with a guest spot on the drama series “Ahava Ze Koev.” The same year, she also hosted “Ha-Chuliya Hachalasha,” the Israeli version of the British television game show “The Weakest Link.” She also portrayed Naomi Shahar in the first two seasons of the Israeli series “HaShir Shelanu” (“Our Song,” 2004-2005).
Laszlo's film career gained a boost in 2005 when she was cast in the Amos Gitai dramatic comedy “Free Zone,” which also starred Natalie Portman and Hiam Abbass. Laszlo was handed the Best Actress Award at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where the film was nominated for the Palme d'Or, and a nomination in the same category at the Israeli Film Academy for her performance as Hanna. “Free Zone” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2005, and was released in Israel on June 9, 2005. It continued to appear in various film festivals throughout the rest of 2005 and received a limited release in the United States later that year.
In 2008, Laszlo was cast as Ita in “Shiva” (“7 Days”), the second film directed by siblings Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz after 2004's “To Take a Wife.” The war movie was nominated for thirteen awards at the Israeli Film Academy and won for Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actress. It also won the Best Actress honor and Wolgin Award at the 2008 Jerusalem Film Festival. The same year, she appeared in the short “On the Road to Tel Aviv” and in an episode of the TV series “Ima'lle.” In addition, she costarred with Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi and Ayelet Zurer in “Adam Resurrected” (2008), an American-German-Israeli film directed by Paul Schrader that was adapted from Yoram Kaniuk's novel of the same name. It was screened at several festivals, including the Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, and the Haifa Film Festival, to name a few.
In 2009, Laszlo worked with Gaspard Ulliel, Jasmine Trinca and Michel Boujenah in Alain Tasma's adaptation of Valérie Zenatti's “Ultimatum.” The film was released in France on September 30, 2009.
In 2010, Laszlo, Claude Dadia and Eli Mizrachi served as judges on “Rokdim Im Kokhavim,” the Israeli version of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress, “Free Zone,” 2005