Gila Almagor is Israel’s most highly acclaimed film and stage actress, called First Lady of Israeli cinema.
Born in 1939, she started her career as an actress at Habimah National Theatre at the age of 17. Studied in New York for two years with the best teachers, such as Lee Strassberg and Utah Hagen. Appeared with all the theatres in Israel and played leading roles in classic and modern plays for more than 50 years.
She appeared in about 50 films, in most of them she played the leading role. For her roles in films and on the stage she won 10 times the David's Harp award and Silver Rose prize.
Awarded international prizes for her part in the Israeli film Siege, in 1980 she won “The best actress” by Israeli Film Institute.
In 1987 she published her first book, The Summer of Aviya. An autobiographical novel was enthusiastically received by critics and the public alike and immediately after its appearance became a bestseller. Until now about 40 editions were sold, it became a part of the curriculum in schools in Israel and was translated into 16 languages. After its appearance Gila Almagor made art adaptation for a theatre version and the solo performance played by herself became a hit which still runs on the stages in Israel after 1000 times. For this part she was awarded the 1988 Rovina Prize, she performs the English version of the play all over the world. Later she produced the film version of the book and played the leading role. The Summer of Aviya won the Berlin Silver Bear, the Spanish Valladolid Golden Spike, the Dutch Cine Kid prize, the prize of the best foreign film in San Remo, Italy and the Unicef prize, Yugoslavia.
In 1992 she published her second book Under The Domim Tree. It too was embraced by the critics and won the title "The best book of 1994" by the Educational Television and the viewers. Until now 16 editions were sold. It also won the prize of the best book for young readers on a Jewish subject in the USA. Gila Almagor produced the film version of Under The Domim Tree which represented Israel in many international festivals.
She is one of the founders of the Israeli Artists Association I.U.P.A. She also engages herself in charity activity – she founded the Gila Almagor Wishes Foundation, public non-profit society for the comfort of Israeli and Arab children with severe diseases, and she took upon herself to head the Cancer Association in Tel-Aviv.
• Israel Prize for contribution to the Israeli cinema – the highest state award (2004)
• Ophir Award (called “Israeli Oscar”) for life achievement in the Israeli film (1998)
• President's medal of Volunteers, the highest decoration for volunteers in Israel (1996)
• Voljeen Prize for life achievement for contribution to the Israeli film industry.
• Lifetime Achievement award in Libertas Film Festival in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
• IWF (International Women Federation) Award – One out of 10 women in Israel who makes a difference in their country.
• Actress of the Decade given by Israel Film Institute and the Yediot Aharonot newspaper (1990)
In 2009 Gila Almagor received 3 PhD Honorary degrees from: Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University and the Weizmann Institute.