Sheryl Hurst (1959 - 2012)

Sheryl Hurst
1959 - 2012
updated March 27, 2020
Sheryl Hurst was born on April 18, 1959 in New York, New York. She died on May 23, 2012 in New York, New York at 53 years of age.

Terry Saunders had one child, a daughter Sheryl Hurst (born April 1959 - died May 2012) by her husband, actor James Hurst, who was younger than Saunders, who played cowboys in television westerns. The couple broke up when their daughter was about 4 years old. In her late 30s, Sheryl Hurst had been drawn to Congregation Rodeph Sholom, an Upper West Side synagogue, and she sang in its choir for years before formally converting to Judaism. Suffering from a facial deformity (explained below), Hurst was a familiar presence, but no one in the congregation knew her background. Neither of her parents was Jewish. As a teenager, Sheryl Hurst tried to kill herself, fell unconscious on a bathroom heater and badly burned her face. "A funny thing happened to me on the way to becoming Jewish", she wrote when she completed an adult bat mitzvah class in 2007. "I, an atheist, developed a strong belief and deep love for God", Sheryl commented. She had always lived with her mother and was devastated by her mother's death in April 2011. A year later, Sheryl had been looking forward to chanting at a special service, and when she did not show up, the synagogue kept trying to reach her. Finally, the cantor posted a note at her home on West 76th Street in Manhattan, appealing for information. Word came back that she had died the previous month (May 2012). She was interred on notorious Hart Island. "Everybody was just distraught", said Sally Kaplan, vice president of the congregation. "Somehow we had to bring Sheryl home." They enlisted Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, a rare nonprofit funeral home, to try to retrieve Ms. Hurst for burial in the synagogue's cemetery. The process was not an easy task and took nine months. Among many requirements was written permission from Hurst's long-estranged father, living in California. At first, he said he had not had a relationship with his daughter. But when they explained what they were doing, he wept, saying, "God bless you all." Her headstone bears not only her birth name but the Hebrew name she chose, Eliana, "because it means, 'God answered me'", and an inscription by the community that refused to leave her in the dark: "Forever in Our Hearts".

Sheryl Hurst Biography

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Most Commonly Known Name

Sheryl Hurst

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Sheryl Eliana Hurst




Sheryl Hurst was born on in New York, New York United States


Sheryl Hurst died on in New York, New York United States

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New York City.


Sang in a Jewish Choir and then converted to Judaism.

Personal Life & Organizations

Her mother starred in The King and I as Lady Thiang. She was also in Follies on Broadway.

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Sheryl Hurst Family Tree

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Sheryl Hurst Obituary

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Sheryl Hurst died on May 23, 2012 in New York, New York at age 53. She was born on April 18, 1959 in New York, New York. We are unaware of information about Sheryl's family.
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1959 - 2012 World Events

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In 1959, in the year that Sheryl Hurst was born, on August 8th, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. The US flag was changed to show 50 stars.

In 1965, at the age of just 6 years old, Sheryl was alive when from August 11 to 16, riots broke out in Watts, a Black section of Los Angeles. An allegedly drunk African-American driver was stopped by LA police and, after a fight, police brutality was alleged - and the riots began. 34 people died in the rioting and over $40 million in property damage occurred. The National Guard was called in to help the LA police quell rioting.

In 1974, Sheryl was merely 15 years old when on February 5th, Patty Hearst, age 19 - granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst and daughter of publisher of the San Francisco Examiner Randolph Hearst - was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left wing terrorist group. She was found, alive, 19 months later.

In 1986, at the age of 27 years old, Sheryl was alive when on January 28th, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch. All seven crew members died. The cause of the explosion was later found to be a failed O-ring. The O-ring failure was due to the unusually cold conditions at Cape Canaveral.

In 1993, Sheryl was 34 years old when on February 26th, a truck bomb exploded in the garage under the North Tower of the World Trade Center. While the bomb didn't do what was planned (collapse the North Tower into the South Tower), it did kill six people and injured thousands of people.

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