Did you know that Lamb Chop had a Jewish mother? Shari Lewis was born as Phyllis Naomi Hurwitz in New York City on January 17, 1933, to Jewish parents, Ann née Ritz and Abraham Hurwitz, a professor at Yeshiva University who was originally from Vilnius, Lithuania. Shari’s father, Abraham, worked as a magician during the Great Depression and was the one who first introduced the performing arts to the future entertainer.
In 1952, Shari’s puppetry won her first prize on CBS TV’s Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The following year, she replaced the host of Kartoon Klub, which later changed its name to Shari & Her Friends and then to Shariland, winning an Emmy. She was best known for introducing the puppet Lamb Chop, first on Captain Kangaroo and officially on the show Hi Mom (1957-1959). The Shari Lewis Show debuted on NBC on October 1, 1960, and the rest is history.