Jeffry Kaplow (1937–2019) was born to working-class Russian Jewish immigrants in New York. He obtained a PhD in French history from Princeton before moving to the newly established University Paris VIII to teach American history in the late 1960s. He later founded an art dealership with his partner, Swedish journalist Ulla Svahnström. After moving to London in the 1990s, Kaplow trained as an actor and appeared on television and in theater and film. Late in life, he and Svahnström moved back to Paris. Kaplow continued to perform on the stage and on screen until his death.