Anyone who has the privilege to spend time with Ilona Royce Smithkin, has had the rare opportunity to witness a true artist. Someone so full of life, authenticity, brilliance, and artfulness that each moment with her makes you want to live a little more thoughtfully, generously, and colorfully. With one word, or bat of a magical lash, Ilona can put the most seemingly difficult situations into perspective. I am incredibly lucky to know and call Ilona one of my dearest friends. She has changed my life in innumerable ways and I want to wish her nothing but the utmost joy and peace on her 97th Birthday. Ilona, thanks so much for accepting me into your life and helping to inspire the lives of so many! We love you Ilona!!!
The other day I visited 87-year-old Shula in her home outside Tel Aviv. When we were finished shooting I told her that I felt she had a very powerful presence. I was surprised and deeply moved by her response.
She told me, “I’m not that strong but I’m trying to be. I was widowed three years ago and ever since then I found that I could do a lot of things that I’ve never done before. Make decisions that I’ve never thought of before. I suppose I had it before but I didn’t use it. I was very much the wife behind the scenes and the entertainer and I ran the house and of course the children. We had four children in the house, now they are all grown up and gone. The strength it just came, it just came.”