Benny Amdursky: The Multifaceted Israeli Artist

Benny Amdursky (August 12, 1931 – January 23, 1994) was a versatile Israeli artist, encompassing roles as a singer, actor, comedian, producer, organizer, restaurateur, and bohemian.

Early Life and Education

Amdursky was born in Jerusalem. During his childhood, he attended a progressive boys' school in Jerusalem and was an active member of the Young Guard movement. Later in life, he grew up and was educated at Kibbutz Harel.

The Formation of "The Dudaim"

In 1957, Benny Amdursky, along with Israel Gurion, formed the musical duo "The Dudaim" after the two met at a party. Amdursky continued singing as part of the duo for 36 years. In 1964, he initiated the formation of "The Yarkon Bridge Trio."

In 1966, Amdursky released his first solo album, produced with the arrangements of Dov Seltzer, under the label Israphon. In 1969, he formed the trio "The Shlosharim" along with Hanan Yovel and Shalom Hanoch. During the 1970s, he was a member of "The Good, the Bad, and the Girl" trio, alongside Israel Gurion and Josie Katz. The trio's performances and recordings featured songs from films and shows from the 1930s, with music by Shmulik Kraus.

Diverse Contributions to the Arts

In 1973, Amdursky joined the female duo "Susan and Fran" from "The Dudaim" to create a folk album titled "Rainbow in the Cloud," where they introduced English and American songs translated into Hebrew by Tirtza Atar and Dan Almagor. The album was accompanied by a tour across the country, with Amdursky also producing the album.

In late 1981, Amdursky participated in the television movie "The Valley of the Red River," directed by Dan Byron.

Amdursky also appeared in several films, including "Delilah and the Smugglers" (1964), "Miracle in Safed" (1968), and "The Great Telephone Robbery" (1972).

He was considered one of the prominent artists in the Israeli Song Festival, particularly during his early years. In 1964, he won first place with the song "Child of My Land," with lyrics by Moshe Dor and music by Yaakov Hollander, which he sang in a duet with Nechama Hendel. In 1972, he returned to win first place with "The Good, the Bad, and the Girl," performing "I Like to Sing."

In 1990, Benny Amdursky, Israel Gurion, and Hanan Yovel joined forces for a performance called "The Shlosharim at Yarkon Bridge."

Apart from his singing career, Amdursky was a producer, especially for his own bands, and produced records for various artists and groups such as "The High Windows," "Jerusalem of Gold," songs by Shalom Hanoch, and more.

Additionally, he ventured into the restaurant industry and opened several entertainment clubs, pubs, and a restaurant in Jaffa called "The Yard," where he was also the chef.

Battle with Cancer and Legacy

In 1990, Amdursky was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. From that moment, he decided to fight the disease with all his strength, which included adopting a special macrobiotic diet. His condition deteriorated at the end of 1993.

In October of the same year, he appeared in a program held in his honor on the first channel of Israeli television, featuring top artists in Israel. The climax of the show was when he sang Naomi Shemer's song "I Am a Guitar," which was written especially for the event and served as a kind of life summary and farewell.

Benny Amdursky passed away on January 23, 1994, at the age of 62. He was laid to rest in the Yarkon Cemetery.

Personal Life

Benny Amdursky was married to Miki (Miriam) Amdursky and was the father of two children, Asnat Hadar-Amdursky (from his first marriage) and Asaf Amdursky. His son, Asaf Amdursky, followed in his footsteps as a musician.

Honoring His Legacy

After his passing, his partners, Israel Gurion, Hanan Yovel, and the duo "HaParvarim," formed a quartet named "HaChaverim Shel Benny" ("Benny's Friends"). They occasionally perform at various events, keeping alive the memory of Benny Amdursky.

In 2003, Asaf Amdursky, in collaboration with the record company "Hed Arzi," released a double album summarizing his father's career. The album included a duet with Benny Amdursky himself, titled "We Will Live Today." In late 2009, Israel Gurion and Asaf Amdursky performed a series of shows together, singing songs from "The Dudaim" repertoire. In 2013, they released an album titled "Singing The Dudaim."

In July 2014, as part of the City of Tel Aviv's project to honor artists and stage professionals, a plaque was removed from above the entrance to Benny Amdursky's home at 16 Zvi Brok Street in Tel Aviv.

Additionally, streets in Ramlah, Ra'anana, and Beit Aryeh were named in his honor.

Benny Amdursky's legacy endures through his music and the ongoing tribute performances by his friends and fellow artists.

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