Lisa Kudrow’s Family Tree

By Nathan Burstein

Published January 21, 2009, issue of January 30, 2009.

The blondest of TV’s “Friends” is going to reveal her roots.

Lisa Kudrow, who spent 10 seasons playing airhead guitarist/singer and massage therapist Phoebe Buffay on the hit NBC series, is taking a camera crew with her to Belarus to investigate her Jewish family background, the actress recently told Parade magazine. “It’s a historical documentary about how history shapes your family tree,” said Kudrow, who also revealed that her last name means “curly hair” in Belarusian.

The series, based on a format that originally ran on the BBC, will air in the United States under the name “Who Do You Think You Are?” and will follow Kudrow and five other celebrities as they explore their genealogies. Kudrow said she wasn’t allowed to name the show’s other participants, but she did say that the NBC series “took me back to Belarus to find a cousin who survived the Holocaust but is dead now.”

The actress, who married French businessman Michel Stern in 1995, is also currently at work on “17 Photos of Isabel,” a big-screen adaptation of the novel “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” by Jerusalem-born writer Ayelet Waldman. Another Jerusalem native, Natalie Portman, will co-star.



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