BEAUX ARTS SOCIETY MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIED REMAIN IN OUR MEMORY
DONALD W. AREY - Born May 20, 1924. Died October 9, 2002. He was 78 years old. Donald was a former officer of The Anchor & Saber Club of New York, Inc. and was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1986 until his death. He was a long-time resident of 22 East 38th Street, Towers 506, New York, New York 10016-2502.
COULA (CLAIRE) ARKONTAKY - Born May 18, 1921. Died October 16, 2011. She was 90 years old. Claire was a retired Medical Assistant who was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1993 until her death. She was a long-time resident of 212 East 34th Street, Apt. #4-A, New York, New York 10016.
CALVIN ARTKE - Born November 6, 1924. Died July 31, 2007. He was 82 years old. Calvin served in the United States Air Force. He was a member of The Episcopal Actors' Guild of America, Inc. and was a member of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. from 1985 until his death. Before moving to the New York State Veterans Home in St. Albans, Queens, New York, where he died, he resided at 21-85 34th Avenue, Apt. #11-D, Long Island City, New York 11106. He had no living relatives and Surrogate's Court records indicate he died with personal property valued at $1,670,000.00. Calvin is buried in Calverton National Cemetery in Suffolk County, New York.
DAME FRANCES AVERY, K.R. (QUEEN FRANCES AVERY) (FRANCES AVERY PENNEY) - Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on August 23, 1910. Died in Manhattan on September 12, 2006. She was 96 years old. She attended Art School in Michigan before moving to New York City with her mother. She was a student and lifelong member of the Art Students League where she studied Mural Painting. She was taught Fresco Painting at the American Artists School and later took up photography. Frances was known for landscape, figure, still life and mural painting. She was active in the National Society of Mural Painters and created artwork for the Depression-era Works Progress Administration. Her best-known work is a mural entitled The History of Obstetrics, which depicts the history of obstetrics as it progressed from primitive child-birthing practices to ancient and medieval midwifery, culminating in scientific, safe childbirth. She lived at 14 Horatio Street, New York, New York 10014 and was married to Professor James Penney of Hamilton College. She taught for many years as an Art Professor at Adelphi College. Her work appeared in several group shows, including one by the New York Society of Women Artists in 1994, held at Lever House. She also exhibited at the Educational Alliance, 41 Union Square Open Studios and the Whitney Museum. She won awards from the National Association of Women Artists for her contribution to the exhibit Images of Freedom at the Museum of Modern Art. Her work also appeared in Landmarks &Legaces: Selected Works By Artists Of The W.P.A., a show curated by the New York Equity Association in June, 1999. Frances Avery was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1996 until her death. She was a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. In the year 2000, in recognition of her Artistic Achievements, she was knighted by the Patriotic Order of the Knights of the Republic, an American Knighthood Order. In 2002, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball. Her Royal Court included King Al Hirschfeld, Princess Dottie Burman and Prince Baird Jones.
MARLE G. BECKER – Born April 8, 1943. Died November 28, 2014. He was 71 years of age. Marle grew up in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania and in 1961, graduated from Mahanoy Area High School. At age 14, he was President of the Jill Corey National Fan Club and later was a regular on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. He hosted “The Gay Show” for WBAI and later co-founded and hosted OUT-FM, a radio program serving the G.L.B.T. communities in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state region. Marle was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society and served on its Advisory Board from 1996 until his death. He was also a Critic for Applause! Applause! and an Advisor for the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards. He served on the Advisory Board of the Gay Performances Company and wrote the forward for Will Grega’s “Gay Music Guide”. Marle worked for the federal government for several decades and pursued a second career as a professional dancer. He was also Elaine Stritch’s friend,assistant and dresser. He volunteered at Saint Peter’s Senior Center and was elected a New York County Democratic Committeeman, working the polls on election day. Marle lived for a time in North Miami Beach, Florida but ultimately returned to New York where he resided at 150 East 44th Street, Apt. #28-A, New York, New York 10017.
DAME JEANNETTE R. BEI, K.R. (QUEEN JEANNETTE BEI) - Born December 16, 1908. Died September 21, 2002. She was 93 years old. Jeannette joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1992 after she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball that year. She presided with Maurice Freedman, who was King. Jeannette was a Foundation Member of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. and from 1996 until her death, she served as First Vice-President and as a member of the Board of Directors. She was the society's Ambassador to England (U.K.). Jeannette identified herself as White, a Methodist and of English descent. She was known for her fiery red hair. During her working career, she was a Hotel/Bank Executive. Her Fine Arts Proficiency was in Poster Art and she enjoyed recruiting new members into the Beaux Arts Society. During the last years of her life, she resided at the Kateri Residence located at 150 Riverside Drive, Apt. #909-B, New York, NY 10024. In the year 2000, she was knighted in recognition of her Personal Excellence by the Patriotic Order of the Knights of the Republic, an American Knighthood Order.
PRINCESS DOTTIE BURMAN - Born Dorothy Burman January 6, 1934. Died November 27, 2006. She was 72 years old. While teaching English at Stuyvesant High School, Dottie pursued a second career as a singer and songwriter, performing as a folk singer and then with her own Bluegrass band, The Canarsie Five. After retiring, she went into show businessfull time, producing and performing in her one-woman show Five Shows A Day about the anxieties and joys of her career transition. She was a well-known and beloved presence in the New York City cabaret community, often performing as one of The Three Redheads, which also included Gerta Grunen and Diana Templeton. Dottie completed critically acclaimed runs of two shows, Follow Your Dreams and I'm In Love With My Computer: The Songs Of Dottie Burman, at Don't Tell Mama. The latter featured songs from her first CD, I'm In Love With My Computer, which was selected as one of the Best Cabaret CDs of the Year by Barbara and Scott Siegel of InTheater Magazine. Dottie's song One Step Ahead received the Leonardo daVinci Award for Best County Song in 1998 from the Beaux Arts Society, which she was a member of from 1998 until her death. The Beaux Arts Society also designated her a Distinguished Artist. In 2005, she launched An Evening With Dottie Burman, which brought her a MAC Award nomination for Best Musical Comedy Performer. That show featured songs from her CD When Palm Trees Grow In Central Park. The title song from this album received Second Prize in the International Unisong Contest in the category of Social/Political songs from over 4,500 entries. In addition to the Beaux Arts Society, Dottie was a member of ASCAP, the New York Sheet Music Society, the Dramatists Guild, and The Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC). She was the founder, president and CEO of Burtley Productions and lived at 219 East 69th Street, Apt. #7-B, New York, New York 10021. Dottie Burman was coronated Princess of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2002. Her Royal Court included King Al Hirschfeld, Queen Frances Avery and Prince Baird Jones.
KING PAUL CADMUS - Born in New York City on December 17, 1904. Died in Weston, Connecticut on December 12, 1999. He was 94 years old. Paul Cadmus was a painter, illustrator, etcher and drawer whose works often combined elements of eroticism and social critique to produce a style referred to as "magic realism". Many of his works were painted using the early Renaissance medium of egg yolk tempera. At age 15, he left High School to attend the National Academy of Design for six years after which he enrolled at the Art Students League. In December, 1933, he was one of the first artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project of the WPA. In 1934, he painted The Fleet's In!, which was shown in an exhibit of PWAP art at the newly founded Whitney Museum of American Art. When the exhibit traveled to the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the painting was ejected from the show, precipitating a scandal that catapulted the young artist to national notoriety. Cadmus was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974 and in 1981, he was the subject of a major retrospective exhibit initiated by the Miami University of Art in Ohio, which traveled to four other museums. The first edition of the book Paul Cadmus by Lincoln Kirstein was published in 1984 and Paul Cadmus: Enfant Terrible at 80, a documentary film by David Sutherland, was also produced that year. In 1988, Paul Cadmus was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball reigning along with Zelda Kaplan, who was Queen. He received the Gerald Manley Hopkins Award for Visual Arts from Fairfield University in 1990; an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from SUNY Oswego in 1994 and the 1st Annual International Arts Award from Pridefest America (Philadelphia) in 1999. Paul Cadmus remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1988 until his death.
KING OLEG CASSINI - Born Oleg Cassini Loiewski in Paris, France on April 11, 1913. Died in Manhasset, New York on March 17, 2006. He was 92 years old. Oleg Cassini was the elder son of Countess Marguerite Cassini and her husband, Count Alexander Loiewski. His father was a Russian diplomat, and his maternal grandfather, Arthur Paul Nicholas Cassini, Marquis de Capuzzuchi di Bologna, Count Cassini, was the Russian ambassador to the United States during the administrations of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. His lineage traces back to astronomer Giovanni Domencio Cassini. In 1918, the Russian Revolution caused the family to flee for their lives, leaving behind their wealth, lands, home, and nationality. The family eventually settled in Italy and his mother, Marguerite Cassini, founded her fashion house in Florence. Oleg Cassini played soccer and tennis, ran track and became an accomplished equestrian. He studied Political Science at the University of Florence and went on to study Fine Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. He eventually gravitated to fashion and won a number of international fashion competitions in Turin including five first prizes in Mostra Della Moda for sketches and Most Creative Presentation. He arrived in New York on Christmas Day, 1936 describing his possessions upon arrival as being limited to "a tuxedo, two tennis rackets, a title and talent." He went on to California where he met the head of Paramount Pictures while playing tennis at the West Side Tennis Club. He brought his sketches to the studio the next day, and was hired as a designer. Oleg Cassini became a United States citizen in 1942 and served in the U.S. Cavalry during World War II. After the war, Cassini designed ready-to-wear dresses while continuing to design for television, motion pictures, and Broadway theater. He designed a reported 300 outfits for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who dubbed him her "Secretary of Style" and exclusive couturier in 1961. The "Jackie look" he created was copied by women all over the world. Cassini visualized her as an American Queen. Oleg Cassini was also considered the father and innovator of design licensing. His name adorned everything from language, to watches, and even luxurious coupe versions of the 1974 and 1975 AMC Matador automobile. In 1985, he earned a professional harness racer license and won races at Yonkers Raceway, the Meadowlands Raceway, Freehold Raceway, Monticello Raceway and Roosevelt Raceway. In 2003, The Council of Fashion Designers of America Board of Directors noted Cassini's extraordinary design achievements with their first ever, Board of Directors Special Tribute. Also in 2003, Oleg Cassini was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Royal Court included Queen Eartha Kitt, Prince Charles Richard Cranwell and Princess Jennifer Miro. He remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 2003 until his death. Oleg Cassini said that above all, his clothes were about women. He described his design philosophy as follows: "Do not tamper with the anatomy of a women's body; do not camouflage it. I don't want every woman to look like a little boy."
CHARLES ROSARIO CASTROVINCI – Born to Sicilian immigrants on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on November 24, 1935, Charlie died on February 17, 2016 after a short illness at Mount Sinai West Hospital in New York City. He was 80 years old. As a child, he was active in The Boys Club of New York where he excelled at sports especially boxing and swimming and theatrical productions that became a lifelong passion. He graduated from Haaren High School, a trade school, in 1953 and qualified for admission to City College of New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. From there, he became a teacher in the New York City School System teaching all forms of math and science classes, as well as serving as a Guidance Counselor in New York City High Schools. On the side, he performed in plays produced by the UFT Players and took on additional acting jobs when he could. Charlie later earned two Master’s Degrees: one in Education from Pace University and the other in Physics from Clarkson College of Technology. His wife of 46 years, Geraldine (Waltz) predeceased him in 2005, Charlie is survived by two sons and a daughter (Mark, Paul & Margaret), eight grandchildren (Valerie, Allison, Sabrina, Ian, Sean, Mairead, Brigit, Fiona) and great-granddaughter Jordyn. He spent most of his adult life residing in New City, New York. After retiring from the school system, Charlie returned to the stage as a semi-professional actor who performed in community theater productions. He also appeared in various independent films, professional commercials and even made an appearance on the David Letterman Show. More recently, he moved back to Manhattan residing at 235 West 56th Street, Apt. #14-G, New York, New York 10019. He was listed with Explore Talent (the World’s Largest Talent Resource) where he listed his skills as being Event Planning, Public Speaking, Acting, Entertainment, Theatre, Drama, Improvisation, Stage, Musical Theatre, Theatrical Production, Performing Arts, Singing, Dialects, Music and Comedy. He was an enthusiastic member of many theatrical, language, literary and social clubs. He was sponsored for membership in the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. by Dame Gloria Kingsley, K.R. in 2015. Charlie quickly became an active and loyal member attending the Beaux Arts Society’s Winter Carnival (2015), Spring Fling (2015), and Summer Soiree (2015). Charlie Castrovinci was a devout Roman Catholic and active parishioner most recently at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan, and St. Boniface Church in Brooklyn.
KING QUENTIN CRISP - Born Denis Charles Pratt in Sutton, Surrey, United Kingdom on December 25, 1908. Died November 21, 1999 at 90 years of age. Quentin was the fourth child of solicitor Spencer Charles Pratt (1871-1931) and former governess Frances Marion Pratt (nee Phillips) (1873-1960). He attended Kingswood House School in Epsom, from which he earned a scholarship to Denstone College, Uttoxeter, in 1922. After leaving school in 1926, he studied journalism at King's College London, but failed to graduate in 1928, going on to take art classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Crisp moved to London at the end of 1930 and at the outbreak of World War II attempted to join the British army but he was rejected on the grounds he was "suffering from sexual perversion." He left his job as an engineer's tracer in 1942 to become a model in life classes and continued posing for artists for the next three decades. Crisp had published three short books by the time he came to write The Naked Civil Servant (1968), which he had wanted to call I Reign In Hell, referencing Paradise Lost ("Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven). In 1975, the television version of The Naked Civil Servant was broadcast on British and U.S. television making John Hurt and Crisp into stars. This success launched Crisp in a new direction: that of performer and lector. In 1981, he moved to Manhattan taking up residence at 46 East 3rd Street, New York, New York 10003. He devised a man-one show called An Evening With Quentin Crisp. One version of the show was produced and directed by Dr. Tom Stevens at Eighty Eight's. That show won a MAC nomination and a Leonardo daVinci Award for best Solo Theatrical Performance by a Male in 1996. Many acting roles followed including his portrayal as Queen Elizabeth I in the film Orlando. He wrote a number of books including How To Have A Life Style (1975), Love Made Easy (1977), How To Become A Virgin (1981), How To Go To The Movies (1988) and Resident Alien: The New York Diaries (1996). He was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1996 until his death. He also was designated a Distinguished Artist by the Beaux Arts Society. In 1997, he was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Royal Court included Queen Audrey Kargere, Prince George Bettinger and Princess Annette Hunt.
STORME DE LARVERIE (STORME DE LAVIERE) - Born on December 24, 1920 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Died in New York City on May 24, 2014. Storme was 93 years old. In the 1940s, Storme was Master of Ceremonies of the Jewel Box Revue, the country's first racially-mixed travelling drag show. Because of Storme's baritone voice, she was encouraged to perform as a male impersonator and became one of America's most infamous drag kings. Born to a white father and a black mother, Storme was a mixed-race lesbian who dressed as a man and worked most of his life as a bouncer, most recently at Henrietta Hudson and Rubyfruit, two women's bars in Greenwich Village. On nights off, Storme provided "protection" to "the girls" and was always the first person to speak out against injustice in any form. Storme lived for decades in Room 728 of the Chelsea Hotel located at 222 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011. However, in recent years, due to the onset of dementia, he was forced to live in a series of nursing homes. Storme is quoted as having said, When you grew up like me, honey, you better be able to see all the way around you, because when the black kids weren’t chasing me, the white kids were chasing me, and if they weren’t, the dogs were chasing me...Somebody was always chasing me – until I stopped running. Storme De Larverie was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society and served on its Advisory Board from 1997 until his death.
KING LEO FORD - Born Leo John Hilgeford in Dayton, Ohio on July 5, 1957. Died in Los Angeles on July 17, 1991. He was 34 years old. Leo did some modeling as a teenager, went to college in Boston but then left to spend four months in India studying meditation. He was a superstar of the porn industry in the 1980s appearing in gay and bisexual movies and magazines. He was a volunteer for Project Angel Food in Los Angeles and Project Open Hand in San Francisco. Both charities delivered food and gave other assistance to people living with A.I.D.S. The Gay Adult Video Humanitarian of the Year Award, given by the gay adult video industry to members who have made outstanding contributions to charitable causes, is named after him. Leo bravely spoke about the role of drugs and organized crime in the porn industry and appeared as a guest on the Manhattan Cable Television show In Focus, hosted by Dr. Tom Stevens. He lived in Los Angeles and Hawaii and raised tropical birds. He was an entrepreneur and ran his own tourist business, Pacific Paradise Tours, while living in Hawaii. He also sold photographs and miniature, numbered, limited edition statues of himself. Leo Ford was an extremely good-looking charismatic individual. In 1989, he was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Queen was Melissa Slade. He died a few days after suffering head trauma when his motorcycle was hit by a truck making an illegal turn. His funeral services in Los Angeles including chanting by members of Santa Monica Siddha Meditation Center. He was cremated and his ashes were sent to San Francisco where after a wake at Josie's Bar, they were scattered near the Golden Gate Bridge. A tree was planted in India in his name.
KING JOE FRANKLIN - Born Joseph Fortgang (son of Martin & Anna Fortgang) in the Bronx, New York on March 9, 1926. Died in Manhattan on January 24, 2015 at 88 years of age. A long-time, local, New York City radio and television host and personality, Franklin began his career writing scripts for The Kate Smith Hour variety program and later, Radio Personality Martin Block hired him as a record librarian to choose the records that were to be played on Block’s Make Believe Ballroom. While there, he was known as the “The Young Wreck with the Old Records” and was given his own 15-minute radio show entitled Vaudeville Is Not Dead. On June 12, 1944, he enlisted as a private in the United States Army where he served from 1944-1946. Now using Joe Franklin as his stage name, he hosted many television and radio shows and was considered to be an authority on popular culture for the first half of the 20th century, including silent films. He co-wrote a book with Marilyn Monroe in 1953. Joe Franklin hosted The Joe Franklin Show on late-night television from 1950 until 1993 (from 1950 to 1962 on WJZ-TV and then until 1993 on WOR-TV). A&E’s documentary It’s Only Talk, The Real Story Of America’s Talk Shows credits Franklin as the creator of the television talk show. He is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest running continuous on-air TV talk show host. Joe Franklin was called The King Of Nostalgia and The Wizard Of Was. He owned a shoe of Greta Garbo, a violin of Jack Benny and a ukulele of Arthur Godfrey. After retiring from his television show, Franklin concentrated on his Memory Lane overnight radio show, plating old records on WOR-AM on Saturday mornings and mentoring thousands of aspiring entertainers. Franklin’s celebrity interviews, known as “Nostalgia Moments” appeared daily on the Bloomberg Radio Network until mid-January 2015, shortly before his death. In 1999, Joe Franklin and producer Steve Garrin joined restaurant mogul Dennis Riese to open “Joe Franklin’s Memory Lane Bar & Restaurant” where he appeared frequently and conducted live-in-person interviews with entertainers such as Billy Crystal, who impersonated him on Saturday Night Live. His restaurant housed a “museum of nostalgia and ephemera” as well as a Comedy Club. Joe Franklin was a well-known local celebrity in New York City. He appeared as himself in such New York-based films as Ghostbusters and Broadway Danny Rose and appeared on the first episode of This American Life giving host Ira Glass advice on how to have a successful show. He referred to himself as the “King of Entertainment, schtick and patter” and referred to his Memory Lane radio program as “that big late-night stroll for nostalgiacs and memorabiliacs.” In 1990, Joe Franklin was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. He was again coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996. His Queens included Ivy Nicholson (1990), Eleanor Gay Lee (1993), Carol Shaya (1994), Phoebe Legere (1995) and Belle Maria Wheat (1996). His Royal Court in 1996 also included Prince Rohn Seykell and Princess Bonnie Dunn. King Joe Franklin remained an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1960 until his death in 2015. For many years, he maintained his cluttered office at 300 West 43rd Street, Suite 305, New York, New York 10036.
RICHARD N. FREDRICKS, M.D. - Born March 26, 1932. Died August 8, 2011. He was 79 years old. Richard was a physician by profession and worked at Quest Diagnostics in Teterboro, New Jersey. He was referred to the Beaux Arts Society by Nick Curto of Broadway Nite Out and remained a member from 1999 until his death. He was a long-time resident of 201 East 28th Street, New York, New York 10016.
KING MAURICE FREEDMAN - Born Moses Maurice Freedman in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada on July 26,1918. Died in New York City on April 26, 2010. He was 91 years old. Son of Sholom & Rose Rachel Freedman. Married Mollie Cecille Springer on August 10, 1945. Maurice served as a Systems Analyst in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1942-1952 after which he emigrated to the United States. From 1952 to 1972, he served as Founder and President of the Bridgepoint Playing Card Company, which made playing cards marked especially for bridge. Maurice was a historian, researcher, author and poet. His prize winning poem Thank God For Giving A Woman A Heart was published by The International Library of Poetry. From 1970, he was an expert researcher and historian who spoke about the true authorship of the Declaration of Independence. He had an extensive art and design background and was a sought after graphic artist. He and his wife Molly visited 10 Canadian provinces and 40 U.S. states promoting their Tranquility Calendar made up of 11 months of 30 days each with December having 35 days (36 in Leap Year). Maurice was a member of the College of Arms in London, the New York Academy of Science, the Mendelssohn Glee Club, the Princeton Club and the Beaux Arts Society. He was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball in 1992 and remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from then until his death. He presided with Jeannette Bei, who was Queen. In the year 2000, he was knighted in recognition of his Personal Excellence by the Patriotic Order of the Knights of the Republic, an American Knighthood Order.
DIMITRY GIFTOS - Born September 4, 1930. Died June 12, 2004. He was 73 years old. Dimitry was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society for twenty-five years from 1979 until his death. He served many terms as Treasurer and was a member of the Board of Directors. He was a Life Member of the Beaux Arts Society and was a long-time resident of 22-75 35th Street, Astoria, New York 11105.
BERNARD S. GILMAN - Born February 11, 1913. Died February 15, 1999. He was 86 years old. Bernard was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society for many years and served as Second Vice-President and as a member of the Board of Directors. He attended many Beaux Arts Balls, Spring Flings and other Beaux Arts Society events. He was a long-time resident of 484 Laurel Road, Rockville Centre, New York 11570.
MICHAEL GREER - Born James R. Maley in Galesburg, Illinois on April 20, 1943. Died in Riverside, California on September 14, 2002. Michael was an actor and comedian. His most famous role was as Queenie, the prison drag queen in Sal Mineo's stage and the Harvey Hart film version of Fortune and Men's Eyes (1971), which dealt with sex in prison. He also appeared as Don Johnson's friend in the 1960s cult film The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970), the B-movie sex comedy Summer School Teachers (1974), and The Gay Deceivers (1969) about two guys avoiding combat in Vietnam by pretending to be gay. Michael was also famous for his live performances as a comedian and was often referred to by his friends as "The Great White Father of Gay Comics". Of particular note was a monologue, as the Mona Lisa, holding a giant gilded frame around himself. He performed with a comedy troupe named "Jack and the Jiants" in the early sixties. He moved to San Francisco in 1967 and headlined The Purple Onion II on Broadway. He was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society in 1996 and remained an active member until his death. He was a long-time resident of 3025 Maxwell Street, Los Angeles, California 90027.
DAVID GURLAND - Born November 18, 1967. Died January 1, 2011. He was 43 years old. On December 29, 2010, he suffered a massive brain aneurysm and was kept on life support until January 1, 2011 to enable organ donation. David graduated Columbia High School and attended New York Univeristy. He was a fixture on the New York cabaret scene for two decades. His received seven MAC Award nominations, the MAC/Hanson Award (Most Promising Newcomer), a Gay & Lesbian American Music Award nomination and four Bistro Awards, one which recognized his first CD, released in 1999. He performed at venues such as the Laurie Beechman Theatre, BB Kings, The Bitter End, The Cutting Room, The Living Room, Downtime, CB's Gallery, The Metropolitan Room, Eighty Eight's, The Duplex, Don't Tell Mama, The Triad and The Gardenia. He was also singing with the band Uptown Express and recorded a CD with them entitled Take You There. He was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society in 1996 and remained a member until his death. David Gurland's family released the following statement: "The world today sounds a little less sweet now that David has gone on to the next part of his journey, but his essence will live on forever in the recordings he left behind and the music he has left in our hearts. David lived grandly, loved fiercely, sang beautifully and danced terribly. And that is exactly how we hope the world remembers him. What many do not know is that David was also an organ recipient, having had a double corneal transplant in the 1990's. It is with great joy that we may help David close a profoundly beautiful circle and donate his organs so that others may have the gift of life".
QUEEN HOPE HAMPTON - Born Mae Elizabeth Hampton in Houston, Texas on February 19, 1897. Died in New York City on January 23, 1982. She was 84 years old. Hope Hampton was educated in Philadelphia where she was a beauty contest winner. It has been reported she sometimes used the pseudonym Byrd Kennedy. Her father's name was Ellsworth Kraft Hampton. Hope Hampton was a silent motion picture actress who appeared in 28 silent films, often portraying siren and flapper types. She was also a producer and an opera singer. She was "discovered" by silent film pioneer Jules Brulatour, a French born financier, who later became her manager and husband. Hampton and Brulatour took a honeymoon trip to Egypt. There, as Sheikh offered Brulatour 10,000 British pounds to buy his wife. Brulatour smiled at the Sheikh and told him Mrs. Brulatour's jewels were worth more than that. After retiring from motion pictures at the dawn of sound, Hope Hampton turned to opera and made her debut with the Philadelphia Grand Opera in Manon. She returned to the screen in The Road To Reno (1938), a western that co-starred Randolph Scott. B.R. Crisler, a New York Times film critic, praised Miss Hampton's "winsome warblings" - her singing - in that film, writing that she is "spring eternal". When Joseph Ruttenberg was doing the cinematography for The Women in 1939, a reporter asked him, "Is Norma Shearer more glamorous to photograph than Joan Crawford? Or vice versa?" He said, "Neither. In terms of sheer beauty and glamour, the most beautiful face I ever photographed was Hope Hampton. And you can tell that to both Miss Shearer and Miss Crawford, beause I hope they choke on it." Later she was known as The Duchess of Park Avenue (so dubbed by columnist Earl Wilson) and became a leading member of New York's social set. Hope Hampton loved all that glittered, and would display her wares - diamonds and emeralds to offset the sequins on her gowns. One of her favorite spots was the Peppermint Lounge, the nightclub that popularized the Twist. In fact, she was Miss Twist of 1962. Hope Hampton was an indefatigable first-nighter with an eye for publicity. At a gala for the Marymount School of New York, a reporter asked her why she was there. "I'm a supporter of everything. Especially myself," said the actress, swathed in a floor-length chinchilla coat, complete with train. In 1978, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball, presiding with King Arthur Tracy. She remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1978 until her death.
QUEEN KITTY CARLISLE HART (a/k/a KITTY CARLISLE) - Born Catherine Conn on September 3, 1910 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Died in New York City on April 17, 2007. She was 96 years old. Kitty Carlisle was an actress, opera singer, Broadway performer, TV celebrity, game show panelist and patron of the arts. She was educated at the Chateau Mont-Choisi in Lausanne, Switzerland; then at the Sorbonne and the London School of Economics; and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She appeared on Broadway in several operettas and musical comedies and on December 31, 1966, she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera. Kitty Carlisle is best remembered for being a regular panelist on the TV game show To Tell The Truth from 1956-1978. Known for her gracious manners and personal elegance, she became prominent in New York City social circles as she crusaded for financial support for the arts. From 1976 to 1996, she served as Chair of the New York State Council of the Arts. The New York State Theater in Albany, New York is named the Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre in recognition of her service. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Arts from President George H.W. Bush. In 1999, she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In 2006, she went on a cross-country tour with her one-woman show entitled Kitty Carlisle Hart: An American Icon performing at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City and the famed Plush Room in San Francisco. In 1980, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball and reigned with Paul Lynde, who was coronated King. Kitty Carlisle Hart remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1980 until her death in 2007.
KING HUNTINGTON HARTFORD - Born George Huntington Hartford II on April 18, 1911 in New York City. Died in Lyford Cay, Bahamas on May 19, 2008. He was 97 years old. Educated at St. Paul's School and Harvard University, he was the heir to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company fortune. He was married four times and had four children. He owned Paradise Island in the Bahamas and built the Gallery of Modern Art in Manhattan, the opening for which he commissioned Salvador Dali to paint The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. He was a filmmaker, philantropist, businessman and art collector. He was a proud member of the Beaux Arts Society since 1985 and appeared in a publicity photograph with former Beaux Arts Ball King Arthur Tracy, the Legendary Hildegarde and Leonard Conner, poet laureate of the U.S.S. Intrepid and President of the Beaux Arts Society, as early as 1986. From 1996 until 2003, when his daughter Juliet brought him to the Bahamas under her care, he was often visited by Dr. Tom Stevens, Beaux Arts Society President, at his home at 416 Ocean Avenue, Apt. #88, Brooklyn, New York 11226. From 1996 until his death, Huntington Hartford served on the Advisory Board of the Beaux Arts Society. He was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2001. His Royal Court included Queen Hildegarde, Prince David West and Princess Jenni Egan.
QUEEN HILDEGARDE - Born Hildegarde Loretta Sell on February 1, 1906 in Adell, Wisconsin. Died in New York City on July 29, 2005. She was 99 years old. Raised in New Holstein, Wisconsin as a Roman Catholic in a family of German extraction, she trained at Marquette University's School of Music. For 70 years, she was known as The Incomparable Hildegarde, a title bestowed on her by columnist Walter Winchell. She was also nicknamed The First Lady of Supper Clubs by Eleanor Roosevelt. She was an inspiration for Liberace, who said, "Hildegarde was perhaps the most famous supper-club entertainer who ever lived. I used to absorb all the things she was doing, all the showmanship she created. It was marvelous to watch her, wearing elegant gowns, surrounded with roses and playing with white gloves on. They used to literally roll out the red carpet for her." She appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1939 and is credited with starting a single-name vogue among entertainers. Hildegarde was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1984 until her death and was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. She lived at 230 East 48th Street, New York, New York 10017. The Incomparable Hildegarde was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2001. Her Royal Court included King Huntington Hartford, Prince David West and Princess Jenni Egan.
KING AL HIRSCHFELD - Born Albert Hirschfeld in St. Louis, Missouri on June 21, 1903. Died in New York City, New York on January 20, 2003. He was 99 years old. He studied at the Art Students League of New York and was well-known as a painter and caricaturist. At age 17, he became Art Director at Selznick Pictures, a position he held for 4 years. In 1924, Hirschfeld traveled to Paris and London where he studied painting, drawing and sculpture. Upon his return, Broadway press agent, Richard Maney, showed one of Hirschfeld's drawings to an editor at the New York Herald Tribune, which got him commissions for that newspaper and then, later, The New York Times. His style is unique, and he is considered to be one of the most important figures in contemporary drawing and caricature. He did not like caricatures that exaggerate and distort its subjects' faces perferring to call himself a "character-ist" instead. In 1943, he married Dolly Haas (1910-1994) and they had one child, a daughter, Nina (born 1945). Al was known for hiding his daughter's name in almost all his drawings as a tribute to her and in 1991, when the United States Postal Service commissioned him to draw a series of postage stamps commemorating famous American comedians, and later silent film stars, the Postal Service waived their own rule forbidding hidden messages in United States stamp designs in order to allow Hirschfeld to place his daughter's name in the stamp drawings. Al Hirschfeld was a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. Permanent collections of his work are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A permanent collection at the Margo Feiden Galleries, Ltd. includes seventy-five years of Hirschfeld's original drawings, limited edition lithographs and etchings, and archives. The Martin Beck Theatre, which opened November 11, 1924 at 302 West 45th Street, was renamed to be the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on June 21, 2003. He lived at 122 East 95th Street in Manhattan. In 2002, Al Hirschfeld was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In addition, in 2002, he was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Royal Court included Queen Frances Avery, Prince Baird Jones and Princess Dottie Burman.
STEPHEN DOUGLAS HOOPER - Born October 25, 1946. Died September 21, 2011. He was 64 years old. Stephen Douglas Hooper, known as Hoop, was a distinctive and creative artist who was well-recognized both for his "Spin Art" and for his "car-tistic" creations, which propelled him as a guest onto programs such as Johnny Carson and David Letterman. Hoop's "Spin Art" were metal circles or hoops, decorated with various objects, which he sold for private placement in collector's homes and offices. One such piece entitled "Spring Love" was adorned with real springs. His car-tistic creations had imaginative color schemes to which he attached objects or personal items relevant to a particular theme. His Music Mobile, for example, was decorated with countless instruments including keyboards and guitars and was blanketed with compact discs, records and cassette tapes. His Time Machine was a standard van covered with clocks of all sizes. His Matchbox-mobile, commissioned by the toy company Mattel was a tiny truck covered with 1,500 miniature Matchbox cars. Hoop was a fixture at Baird Jones parties in New York City and inherited Baird's collection of "celebrity art". He often referred to himself as the self-proclaimed "King of Art" but in his home town of Clifton, New Jersey, he was simply known as "Stevie", a man who was very generous with his time and who devoted countless helping neighbors who were in need without expectation of any payment in return. Hoop was a long-time resident of 27 Charles Street, Clifton, New Jersey 07013. He joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1996 and remained an active member until his death. He attended a number of Beaux Arts Balls and was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. Hoop won the Leonardo da Vinci Award for best Public Artist in 1997 for "The Time Machine" and in 1998 for "The King of Art Car". You can read more about Hoop's life and artwork by visiting http://hoopmobiles.blogspot.com/
KING HERBERT HUNCKE - Born Herbert Edwin Huncke in Greenfield, Massachusetts on January 9, 1915. Died in New York City on August 8, 1996. He was 81 years old. Herbert was a writer and poet who is reputed to have coined the term "Beat Generation". He spent his early years in Chicago and hitchhiked to New York City in 1939. He was a street hustler, high school dropout and drug user. His early life centered around living as a hobo, jumping trains across the vast expanse of the United States, and bonding with other vagrants and outcasts. His regular haunts included 42nd Street and Times Square and he became known as Mayor of 42nd Street. During World War II, Huncke shipped out to sea as a United States Merchant Marine to ports in South America, Africa and Europe. He landed on the beach at Normandy three days after the invasion. When he returned to New York, he met William S. Burroughs, bought morphine from him, and later was invited to help him grow marijuana on his farm in Texas. In the late 1940s, Huncke was recruited to be a subject in Alfred Kinsey's research on the sexual habits of the American male. When he met Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, they were interested in writing and also unpublished. They were inspired by his stories of 42nd Street life, criminal life, street slang and his vast experience with drugs. Huncke was immortalized in Kerouac's On The Road as the character Elmer Hassel. In the late 1940s, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Melody and "Detroit Redhead" flipped a car in Queens, New York while trying to run down a motorcycle cop. Although Huncke was not at the scene of the crime, he was arrested in Manhattan because he resided with Ginsberg, and he received a lengthy prison sentence when he refused to inform on his friends. Huncke was a natural storyteller, a unique character with an honest take on life. In 1964, he published Huncke's Journal with Diane DiPrima's Poet's Press. Huncke used the word "beat" in a conversation with Jack Kerouac to describe someone living with no money and few prospects. Kerouac adopted it as a description of how their generation would be remembered. Herbert Huncke's autobiography is entitled Guilty Of Everything. In 1991, Herbert Huncke was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. He presided with Queen Fay Wray. For several years, Huncke had been living in a garden apartment on East 7th Street near Avenue D in New York City. In his last few years, he lived in the Chelsea Hotel, where his rent came from financial support from Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, whom Huncke never met. Jack Kerouac, referenced Huncke in his Now It's Jazz reading from Desolation Angels, saying, "Huck, whom you'll see on Time Square, somnolent and alert, sad, sweet, dark, holy. Just out of jail. Martyred. Tortured by sidewalks, starved for sex and companionship; open to anything, ready to introduce a new world with a shrug."
THEODORE PATRICK JENNINGS, KT. O.C. - Born December 24, 1924. Died December 11, 2011. He was 86 years old. Theodore graduated from New York University in 1950 where he obtained an Engineering degree. At college, he was President of the Newman Club, Assistant Manager of the Glee Club, Manager of the Junior Varsity Glee Club and a member of Skull & Bones, Psi Upsilon, the Interfaith Council and the Chapel Choir. He was knighted by The Order of Charlemagne and served as its Director General. He worked as a Construction Engineer and was a Political-Historical Researcher, Writer and Political Orator. He was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1989 until his death and served as a member of its Advisory Board. His long-time mailing address was P.O. Box 1414, FDR Station, New York, New York 10022.
EDMUND COOPER TAYLOR JOHNSTON - Born June 4, 1927. Died October 7, 2000. He was 73 years old. Edmund obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1948 and an M.A. in 1950. He was an Actor, Author, Publisher, Researcher, Writer and Producer. He played the role of Hogan in Under The Yum-Yum Tree, the longest running hit in San Francisco at the time. In 1977, Hamilton Publishing House published his book, The Key To The Assassination Of John F. Kennedy plus the Seiberling Letters, in which he concludes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone but was able to fire off three bullets, all of which hit. Edmund was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1994 until her death. He was a long-time resident of Parkchester in the Bronx and lived at 1940 East Tremont Avenue, Apt. #3-H, Bronx, New York 10462.
PRINCE BAIRD JONES - Born February 3, 1955. Died February 21, 2008. He was 53 years old. Baird was an actor, writer, photographer, celebrity art collector, curator, gossip columnist, promoter and publicist. He was an actor in B.F.D. (1990), Behind The Music (1997) and Con Artist (2009). He wrote The Psychoanalysis of Sexual Humor published by Philosophical Library (1987) and took the photographs that appeared in another book he penned entitled Mark Kostabi & The East Village Scene 1983-1987 (2002). He had a huge collection of Celebrity Art, which he used to curate shows at nightclubs and galleries throughout the metropolitan area. He was a member of the Beaux Arts Society and served on its Advisory Board from 1990 until his death. He received Leonardo daVinci Awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998 for being best Curator of the year, obtaining special recognition for his Celebrity Art Shows at the Tunnel & Life and for his show Visions of Death: The Artwork of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, which was presented at Webster Hall. Baird went to the Buckley School, Groton and Columbia College. He graduated New York University with a law degree but never took the bar examination. He then earned a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia and worked for a time as a psychologist on Ward's Island. He went on and obtained additional degrees but his main profession was as a party promoter, usually offering free admission and two hours of free drinking for those who were lucky enough to have gotten his passes. The clubs usually paid Baird a small fee and provided these perks in order to bring a better class of patron into their establishment and for the press he was usually able to generate because of the celebrities who attended his parties and regarding the performance art he staged, which included midget bowling, mock marriages and even actors who walked around selling hot dogs with the center bun featuring unusually impressive "man meat". Celebrities usually provided Baird with some juicy quotation he was able to supply to the gossip columns. Ben Widdicombe of the New York Daily News said, "This business is really about PR, and gossip is just getting the word out about something, and Baird was the best at getting the word out." Baird Jones was a member of the Mayflower Society with two ancestors who made the crossing. He appeared over 50 times on daytime TV shows including The Joan Rivers Show, Phil Donahue, Jenny Jones, Richard Bey, Geraldo and The Joe Franklin Show. He was coronated Prince of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2002. His Royal Court included King Al Hirschfeld, Queen Frances Avery and Princess Dottie Burman.
LONNIE JONES - Born December 21, 1933. Died August 11, 2009. She was 75 years old. Lonnie was an Entrepreneur, Writer, Singer and Actress. She was Director of L.E.A.F. (Life Exists After Forty) Internationale, Ltd., which had chapters in New York and Florida and offered its members opportunities to attend theater, dances, art galleries, film screenings, concerts, sporting events and restaurants. She was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1997 until her death and served as Vice-Chair of its Advisory Committee. She worked closely with Dr. Tom Stevens, President of the Beaux Arts Society, to provide a wide array of co-sponsored events that both Beaux Arts Society and L.E.A.F. members could attend. In the year 2000 alone, those additional events included a lecture on The Benefits & Dangers Of Vitamin Supplements on March 23rd, A Poetry & Prose Open Forum on April 17th and September 12th, a Spring Fling on May 12th, a lecture on Romantic Classical Music by composer Roger Nortman on June 1st, a celebration of Space Exploration Day at Mars 2112 Restaurant on July 20th, and a lecture on the Music Industry by Michael A. Kirker, Director of Musical Theater for ASCAP, a Producer, Vice-President of the Manahattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, and a Board Member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Society of Singers. When in New York, Lonnie lived at 4 Park Avenue, Suite #12-B, New York, New York 10016. When in Florida, she resided at 491 Saxony K, Delray Beach, Florida 33446.
QUEEN ZELDA KAPLAN - Born Zelda Berkowitz on a horse farm in Flemington, New Jersey on June 20, 1916. Died in New York City on February 15, 2012 at 95 years of age. Zelda was a socialite, fashion icon, humanitarian and a fixture in New York's art, nightclub and fashion worlds. In her 20s, she was a successful ballroom dancer and women's golf pro in Miami Beach; in her 30s, she was a doctor's wife in New York City and in her 60s & 70s, she was a tireless crusader for women's and children's rights, traveling to Africa (e.g. Mali, Ethiopia, Ghana) and Southeast Asia (e.g. Indonesia) campaigning directly with local, tribal government leaders to end the practice of female genital mutilation and to support the right of women to inherit property and practice birth control. Known for wearing oversized glasses and distinctive bold prints with matching hats, Zelda almost invariably designed her own wardrobe buying cloth from local weavers during her frequent humanitarian trips and having it cut to her frame by a New York dressmaker. She once said, "So many Americans want to look like everyone else. I don't think people should be happy to be a clone." She considered herself a "Citizen of the World" and made trips on behalf of the World Culture Society, a group she founded and financed. In 1988, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball, reigning with Paul Cadmus, who was King. In 2003, HBO premiered a documentary about her entitled Her Name Is Zelda. On the issue of aging, she said, "I want to be an example for young people so they aren't afraid of growing old and a lesson to old people that you can be productive, you don't have to sit around and wait for death." Regarding her zest for life, she said, "I'm a curious person. I want to keep learning until it's over. And when it's over, it's over." The end came for Zelda Kaplan when in 2012, she collapsed at a runway show for designer Joanna Mastroianni's new collection at Lincoln Center in New York City during the city's twice yearly fashion week. Zelda Kaplan remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1988 until her death.
RAE KAREL - Born May 21, 1920. Died May 25, 1999. She was 79 years old. Rae was a retired Legal Assistant who offered her skills as a Secretary to the Beaux Arts Society. She attended a number of Beaux Arts Balls and Spring Flings and was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society until her death. She was a Yoga Teacher and a student of Modern Ballet, Acting, Classical Music and Dance. Rae was of Russian/Rumanian Jewish descent. She was a long-time resident of 351 West 24th Street, Apt. #3-A, New York, New York 10011.
ETHEL KESHNER - Born December 31, 1915. Died September 16, 2011. She was 95 years old. Ethel was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1998 until her death. She was a long-time resident of 301 East 21st Street, New York, New York 10010.
EBEN WIGHT KEYES II - Born August 6, 1932. Died March 17, 2003. He was 70 years old. Eben was a lyricist who worked on stand-alone songs and scores. He was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1999 until his death. MAC Award Winning Performers remembered him by putting together a CD entitled "Keyes To Heaven" with songs featuring his lyrics. He was a long-time resident of 16 East 96th Street, New York, New York 10128.
LADY ARLENE MARIE KIETA, G.C.S.J. - Born on July 30, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois to Bruno Charles and Marie Ester Fedro Kieta, Lady Arlene passed away after a courageous battle with COPD on January 25, 2016 in New York City. She was 82 years old. Lady Arlene was a former beauty queen, model, convention narrator, Broadway, film and television actress, game show co-host and radio disk jockey. She was an AFTRA, SAG & EQUITY member. Lady Arlene was also a successful entrepreneur, having established her own public relations firm (Kieta Enterprises) specializing in fashion, food and travel. She was admitted to the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. in 1960 and was elected to serve as a member of the Board of Directors in 1996 on the recommendation of Dr. Tom Stevens, who became President that year. She continued to serve on the Board from 1996 until her death. In 2014 and 2015, she was designated a Patron of the Arts by the Beaux Arts Society. Lady Arlene was known for her many philanthropic endeavors, which included her support for Light House For The Blind, Metropolitan Opera, Guggenheim Museum Of Modern Art, Polish Assistance League, NYC Public Library, Notre Dame High School (Arlene Kieta Communications Scholarship), and Father Wasson’s “Friends Of The Orphans” (Board Member and continuously supporting a Godchild in ten different countries). She was also a member of the English Speaking Union and The Theatre Guild. She served on the Board of Our Little Brothers & Sisters Orphanage and was elected to the Hall Of Fame of Notre Dame De Namur. She was also a “Lady Of Justice” in the Knights of Malta (Orthodox). For many decades, Lady Arlene lived at 23 Park Avenue, Apt. #1-B, New York, New York 10016-3871. Her last months were spent at the Mary Manning Walsh Home at 1339 York Avenue in Manhattan. A Memorial Mass was held for her on February 12, 2016 at Our Saviour Catholic Church. She is interred in Chicago.
QUEEN EARTHA KITT - Born in South Carolina on January 17, 1927 to a Black/Cherokee mother and a White father. Died in Connecticut on December 25, 2008. She was 81 years old. Eartha Mae Kitt was a singer, dancer, actress and cabaret star known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recording of the Christmas novelty song Santa Baby. At 16 years of age, she won a scholarship to study with Katherine Dunham, who ran America's first black modern dance company. She danced with the company until 1948 when she broke away to start a solo career in London and Paris. She sang in Paris night clubs and was cast by Actor/Director Orson Welles as Helen of Troy in his production of Dr. Faustus. Kitt became a rising star with her appearance in the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952 and received an Academy Award nomination for her role as the title character in Anna Lucasta (1959). Her former lover Charles Revson, the billionaire founder of Revlon cosmetics, created a lipstick for her, calling it Fire & Ice. In the 1960s, she appeared as Catwoman in the TV series Batman. In 1978, she appeared in the Broadway spectacle Timbuktu! (a version of the perennial Kismet set in Africa). In 1995, she appeared as herself in an episode of The Nanny on which she performed a song in French. She spoke four languages and sang in seven, which she effortlessly demonstrated in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances at venues such as the Ballroom and Cafe Carlyle. In 2003, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball. Her Royal Court included King Oleg Cassini, Princess Jennifer Miro and Prince Charles Richard Cranwell. She remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 2003 until her death. From October to December, 2006, she co-starred in the Off-Broadway musical Mimi le Duck and in 2007, she appeared in the independent film And Then Came Love opposite Vanessa Williams. Kitt became a vocal advocate for GLBT rights and publicly supported same-sex marriage. In a 1992 interview with Dr. Anthony Clare, Ms. Kitt said, "We're all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very familiar with that feeling. Nothing in the world is more painful than rejection. I am a rejected and oppressed person. That is how I understand them, as best I can, even though I am heterosexual".
QUEEN ELEANOR GAY LEE - Born Eleanor Gay in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1902. Died in New York City on August 12, 1996. She was 94 years old. Eleanor was the daughter of Pearl E. Mozley (born October 17, 1871 in Texas; died February 20, 1964 in Greenville, South Carolina) and Sanford W. Gay (born May 11, 1863 in Atlanta, Georgia to Augustus Gay & Zelemma Glass; died July 31, 1940) who were married on February 11, 1896 in Atlanta, Georgia. Eleanor had seven brothers and sisters - Sanford, Elbert Augustus (born March 22, 1903; died December 3, 1968 in New Orleans, Louisiana), Annette, Louise, Laurance, Dorothy (died at 6 months) and Clifton (died at 11 months). Eleanor Gay Lee was a student at the National Academy of Design School and is known for her portrait painting. The Smithsonian Institute maintains a file on her that shows she exhibited in March, 1962 at Studio 57 on Concord Avenue in Leonardo, New Jersey, and in March, 1964 at Studio Workshop Gallery in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. She is a Past President of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Inc. and the Eleanor Gay Lee Gallery Foundation, Inc. still presents the Eleanor Gay Lee Award and the Eleanor Gay Lee Gallery Prize to deserving students at a number of New York area colleges, including Hunter College and The Cooper Union. It has been confirmed she was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In the last years of her life, she lived as a resident in the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, New York 10003. She was a long-time member of the Beaux Arts Society and served on its Board of Directors, In 1996, the year she died, she chaired the Beaux Arts Society Nominating Committee that unanimously recommended Dr. Tom Stevens to be President of that organization. Eleanor Gay Lee was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball in 1993 presiding with Joe Franklin, who was the King.
KING PAUL LYNDE - Paul Edward Lynde (son of Hoy Coradon & Sylvia Bell (Doup) Lynde) was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio on June 13, 1926. He was an American comedian, voice artist, actor, and television personality with a distinctively campy and snarky persona. He graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1944 and studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He graduated in 1948 and moved to New York City where he initially worked as a stand-up comic. Lynde made his Broadway debut in the hit revue New Faces of 1952, which was filmed and released as New Faces in 1954. In 1956, he co-starred with Buddy Hackett and Carol Burnett in the sitcom Stanley and also guest starred that year on The Martha Raye Show. He returned to Broadway in 1960 when he was cast as Harry MacAfee, the father in Bye Bye Birdie. He also played the role in the 1963 film adaptation. Paul Lynde is well-known for his role as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and for being the regular “center square” panelist on the game show Hollywood Squares (appearing 707 times and making enough money to enable him to buy Errol Flynn’s old Hollywood Mansion on which he spent an enormous amount of money on renovations and decorations). Lynde was in great demand in the 1960s. He was a regular on The Perry Como Show and was a familiar face on many sitcoms including The Phil Silvers Show, The Munsters, The Flying Nun, Gidget, I Dream Of Jeannie, F Troop, and variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show. In 1972, Lynde starred in The Paul Lynde Show, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe Award. In 1976, he received an Entertainer of the Year Emmy Award for being voted the funniest man of the year, which he turned over to the host Jackie Gleason (who never won an Emmy Award during his life), citing him as “the funniest man ever.” From 1975-1979, Paul Lynde hosted a series of specials including The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, Paul Lynde at the Movies, and Paul Lynde Goes M-A-A-A-A-D. He was also a regular guest on Donny & Marie from 1976-78 and starred in many movies including Beach Blanket Bingo and The Glass Bottom Boat. In 1980, the Beaux Arts Society coronated Paul Lynde “King” of the Beaux Arts Ball. Kitty Carlisle Hart was coronated “Queen” that year. Mel Brooks once described Lynde as being capable of getting laughs by reading “a phone book, tornado alert, or seed catalogue.” On Hollywood Squares, he was once asked, “Paul, any good boat enthusiast should know that when a man falls out of your boat and into the water, you should yell ‘Man overboard!” Now what should you yell if a woman falls overboard?” to which he responded, “Full speed ahead!” Paul Lynde remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society until his death from a heart attack at his home in Beverly Hills, California on January 11, 1982 at 55 years of age. His cremated remains are interred at Amity Cemetery, in Amity, Ohio, next to those of his brother Johnny and sister Helen. His father and mother are buried at the same cemetery.
KING TAYLOR MEAD - Born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan on December 31, 1924. Died May 8, 2013 at 88 years of age. In Junior High School, his nickname was Star. He was born to wealthy parents and attended Gross Point Academy. Later, he was a broker at Merrill Lynch, studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse in California and at the Herbert Berghof Studio. He was an actor, poet, writer and performer. Film Critic J. Hoberman called Mr. Mead "the first underground movie star", and film historian P. Adams Sitney called Mr. Mead's performance in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief (1960) "the purist expression of the Beat sensibility in cinema." Once in New York City, he found his way to the thriving poet scene and was soon being asked to appear in plays. He won an Obie Award in 1963 for his performance in The General Returns From One Place To Another by poet Frank O'Hara. He began to keep journals of poems and thoughts, which he mimeographed and distributed. He made paintings and other visual art to accompany his poetry. Andy Warhol recruited Taylor Mead as one of his first "superstars" in what was called The New American Cinema and from 1963 to1968, Andy Warhol made 11 major films with Mr. Mead although Mead put the count nearer to 130 movies. Taylor lived for many decades at 163 Ludlow Street, Apt. #4-D, New York, New York 10022 and regularly read his poetry at The Bowery Poetry Club. He is the author of a book entitled Son Of Warhol and in 2005 was the subject of a documentary, Excavating Taylor Mead, directed by William A. Kirkley. The same year, he published a book of poems entitled A Simple Country Girl. Taylor Mead was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1997 until his death. He was a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. He also had two internet television shows, one called Pop The Top With Taylor Mead on Pseudo Online Network, and the other entitled The Convertible Taylor Mead Show. In 1998, Taylor Mead was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Royal Court included Queen Editta Sherman, Prince Tree and Princess Sigrid Sunstedt.
GEORGE A. MELDERS - Born in Ohio on February 8, 1917. Died October 1, 2006 at 89 years of age. George was a Chemist and an active member of the Beaux Arts Society. His last known mailing address was P.O. Box 1167, New York, New York 10159.
DALLWYN HAMNILTON MERCK - Born February 11, 1928. Died November 10, 2013. He was 85 years old. Dallwyn was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1990 until his death and served on its Advisory Board. He served as Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Queens County from May 13, 2006 until November 10, 2013. He was Executive Director of 14 Now!, a Youth Rights Advocacy Organization, from December 20, 2010 to November 10, 2013. He served as Executive Vice-President of Stonewall Libertarians New York from August 6, 2006 to July 27, 2009 when he became its President, serving in that capacity until his death. He was a Life Member of the Antique Airplane Club of Greater New York and served on the Governing Board of the Objectivist Party from February 2, 2008 until November 10, 2013. His Memorial Card featured a field of American flags and on the reverse side a dollar sign in place of a cross, and the following three quotations: "Do not let your fire go out. Do not let the hero in your soul perish" - Ayn Rand; "It is not the critic who counts. The credit goes to the man in the arena, Who strives valiantly and spends himself in a worthy cause" - Theordore Roosevelt; and "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul" - William Ernest Henley, Invictus.
KING SAL MINEO - Born Salvatore Mineo. Jr. in the Bronx, New York on January 10, 1939. Died in West Hollywood, California on February 12, 1976. He was 37 years old. His parents, Josephine (nee Alvisi) and Salvatore Mineo, Sr., coffin makers, enrolled him in dancing and acting school at an early age. He had his first stage appearance in Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo (1951) and also played the young prince opposite Yul Brynner in the stage musical The King and I. His screen debut in 1955 was in the Joseph Pevney film Six Bridges to Cross. Sal Mineo received two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor, the first for his performance as John "Plato" Crawford opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without A Cause and the second for his role as a Jewish emigrant in Otto Preminger's film Exodus, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. He ended up being typecast, first as a sensitive, troubled teenager, and later, after appearing as a stalker in Who Killed Teddy Bear?, as a deranged criminal. Sal Mineo recorded a pop music album that had a number of hit songs on it and was the model for Harold Stevenson's painting The New Adam, which is currently part of the Guggenheim Museum's permanent collection. In 1970, Sal Mineo was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball presiding with Queen Madeleine Le Roux. He returned to the stage to produce the gay-themed play Fortune and Men's Eye's (1971), which starred Don Johnson. In 1976, Mineo played the role of a bisexual burglar in a series of stage performances of the comedy, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead, in San Francisco. He received many positive reviews and he moved to Los Angeles along with the play. Mineo was arriving home from a rehearsal on February 12, 1976, when he was stabbed to death in the alley behind his apartment building in West Hollywood, California. He was stabbed just once but the knife blade struck his heart, leading to immediate and fatal internal bleeding. His remains were interred in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.
PRINCESS JENNIFER MIRO (a/k/a Jennifer Anderson & Mistress Jennifer) - Born Jennifer Anderson in Mill Valley, California on May 3, 1957. Died in New York City on December 16, 2011. She was 54 years old. Jennifer was a musician, writer and model. She co-founded the punk/new wave/goth band The Nuns with Alejandro Escovedo & Jeff Olener in 1975. Combining provocative lyrics and imagery with an aggressive musical style, The Nuns gathered a huge fan base and continued to perform and record (sans Escovedo) through the 1990s. Nuns members partied with David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Sid Vicious. They regularly played at the legendary San Francisco music club Mabuhay Gardens and performed at the infamous final Sex Pistols show at Winterland Ballroom. The Nuns sang songs about suicide, fat chicks, decadent Jews, child molesters, and World War III. Jennifer became a popular model within the fetish and S&M community and was known as Mistress Jennifer. The fetish and S&M world fascinated her and inspired much of the imagery for the Nuns' album art and later live performances. Jennifer was described by Jack Boulware as being "very warm and articulate, with an unexpected streak of humility." Her friend Peter Young said, "Obviously what was striking about Jennifer was her model looks, but there was a very pronounced wit and intelligence behind it...She had much broader interests in art and even in things like medicine than people realized." Jennifer Miro was coronated Princess of the Beaux Arts Ball in 2003, Her Royal Court included King Oleg Cassini, Queen Eartha Kitt and Prince Charles Richard Cranwell, Jr..
DENIS E. PADDOCK - Born May 17, 1927. Died October 18, 2006. He was 79 years old. Denis joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1990 and was a Foundation Member. From 1996 until his death, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Beaux Arts Society, Inc. Denis identified himself as White, non-religious and of Irish, Scottish & Welsh descent. During his working career, he was an Administrative Staff Analyst for the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services located at 2 Washington Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004. He lived at 56 West 65th Street, Apt. #6-B, New York, NY 10023. Denis enjoyed visiting Art Museums & Galleries and attending Concerts. He was a member of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum.
ESTELLE PASCOE - Born Estelle Rae Shapiro in Brooklyn on July 27, 1928. Died in Manhattan on November 14, 2007. She was 79 years of age. Estelle was the daughter of Benjamin & Gertrude Shapiro, Polish immigrants, who had three other children - Joseph, Henrietta and Saul. She moved to Manhattan in her teens and graduated Julia Richman High School. In the school's yearbook, she was described as "Helpful, sweet, full of fun, She does her best for everyone." Estelle took classes at the Art Students League and was married three times (Elliott Goldwag, Howard Pascoe & Joseph Ades), having two children, Alison (Goldwyn) and Jonah (Goldwag), with her first husband. Estelle was an abstract two and three dimensional painter for over 60 years. Her sculptural paintings were three dimensional wall objects. She was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1996 until her death and attended many Beaux Arts Balls with her husband Joseph Ades. They were always elegantly dressed and are remembered to this day. Estelle Pascoe was designated a Distinguished Artist by the Beaux Arts Society. She lived for over 40 years at 1085 Park Avenue, Apt. #3-A, New York, New York 10128.
ERV RAIBLE - Born October 11, 1945. Died February 19, 2014. He was 68 years old. Erv was Executive Director of Cabaret & Concert Artists International and was a cabaret coach, director, publicist, consultant and talent representative. He was Executive Director and Artistic Director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University and co-founded the Manhattan Association of Cabaret & Clubs serving eleven years as its President. Erv was Entertainment Director/Public Relations Liaison for the FireBird Cafe (1999-2001), owned and booked the legendary Eighty Eight's (1988-1999), Don't Tell Mama Piano Bar & Cabaret (1982-1989), Brandy's Piano Bar (1980-1985), and The Duplex Cabaret & Piano Bar (1978-1984); and through these venues presented over 4,000 performers to the public. He was Associate Producer of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Cabaret Symposium for seven years and a Master Teacher for twelve years. He was the recipient of the 2004 Back Stage Bistro Award for Outstanding Director, a 2000 Back Stage Bistro Award for the Eighty Eight's, a 1992 MAC and Back Stage Bistro for conceiving, producing and directing the Outstanding Musical Revue Here's To Our Friends...The AIDS Music Revue, a 1991 Back Stage Bistro Award for promoting cabaret and founding MAC, and a 1989 Piaf d'Honneur from the French government for promoting, producing and directing cabaret internationally. Erv Raible graduated Western Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and received a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. He was a Visual Art Teacher at Whittier Elementary School in Cincinnati from July, 1967 to June, 1978 and was Department Head for Studio Art and Art History at the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts from July, 1973 to June, 1978. Erv joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1997 and remained a member until his death. He was a long time resident of 111 Morton Street, Apt. #3-A, New York, New York 10014.
MAE RATNER - Born April 5, 1916. Died November 13, 2008. She was 92 years old. Mae was a Pianist, Poet, Actress and Comic who was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1998 until her death. Mae was a member of the Unitarian/Universalist Church and was of Austrian and Polish descent. She was a long-time resident of 111-55 77th Avenue, Apt. #2-K, Forest Hills, New York 11375.
BARONESS EMMA RUKAWINA - Born December 27, 1911. Died November 12, 2006. She was 94 years old. Baroness Rukawina was an Inventor who was granted U.S. Patent Number 4,244,066 for a Matress Assembly that had a recess for seating a single-use receptacle having a screened opening for receiving fluids and wastes from the body of a bed patient that could then be removed from the side of the mattress without disturbing or moving the patient. She was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1996 until her death. She was a long-time resident of 161 East 89th Street, New York, New York 10128.
JAMES OTTINGER RUSSELL - Born July 24, 1917. Died May 12, 2012. He was 94 years old. James was a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1989 until his death. A New York Times paid obituary says he was the "son of Adeleide O. and Sylvan Rosenthal" and that "he was predeceased by his parents, his sister, Claire R. Sherman, and his brother Frederick Russell. Closest living relatives include his niece, Holly Russell of Colorado and her son, Grant Willig, and his first cousin, Susan O. Friedman of New York City". It also reports "he was a life long bachelor" and "a bon vivant with a wide circle of friends both in Europe and the USA" and that "an orchestra seat at City Center in Manhattan will be named in Mr. Russell's memory". Mr. Russell was a long time resident of 225 East 73rd Street, New York, New York 10021 but passed away at Kateri Residence at 150 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.
HELEN SCAROULIS - Born in Vincennes, Indiana on February 11, 1922. Died in Gilbert, Arizona on January 3, 2011. She was 88 years old. She was a supporter of the Guardian Angels and the Queens Botanical Gardens. She attended the College of New Rochelle in her 60s obtaining a B.A. degree in English. Helen was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1998 until her death and was a good friend of Princess Jenni Egan. She was a long-time resident of 34-04 31st Avenue, Astoria, New York 11106.
MARLENE DIANA SCHER - Born December 16, 1928. Died June 9, 2015. She was 86 years old. Marlene attended Lafayette High School, and Skidmore and Brooklyn Colleges. Her life included being a translator at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, a singles’ event planner, and founder of the first video dating company in New York City. She obtained licenses in real estate, securities, and insurance. Proud of her professional accomplishments but not personally fulfilled, she turned to acting. An accomplished actress, she was a member of SAG, AFTRA, EQUITY, as well as being a voting member of AMPAS. She performed in film, television and theater, and was a Life Member of The Art Students League. Marlene was admitted to the Beaux Arts Society in 1998 and remained an active member until her death. She was a long-time resident of 12 East 86th Street, Apt. #432, New York, New York 10028-0509.
QUEEN EDITTA SHERMAN - Born Edith Rinaolo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 9, 1912. Died in New York City on November 1, 2013. She was 101 years old. She learned the art of portrait photography from her father, who had studios in New Jersey. She married Harold Sherman, a sound engineer and inventor, who was her business partner. When he became blind and later died from diabetes, she took up portrait photography full time in order to be able to bring up her five young children as a single mom. From 1949 until 2010, she lived in Studio 1208 at 881 Seventh Avenue, New York, New York 10019, one of the two towers Andrew Carnegie built alongside Carnegie Hall to provide rental income for the concert enterprise downstairs. Editta was affectionately called The Dutchess of Carnegie Hall because she reigned as the matriarch of that artists' colony of writers, actors, artists and musicians that included Mark Twain, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Katherine Hepburn. Editta used an 8 inch-by-10 inch Kodak camera to make her Portrait Photography. Some of her celebrity clients included Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, Yul Brynner, Cary Grant, Bela Lugosi, Joe DiMaggio, Charlton Heston and Elvis Presley. Critics said her big negatives, imaginative poses and subtle light-and-shadow compositions caught her subject's moods and character. Her photos were widely used in advertising, promotional literature and theater posters, and were published in magazines, newspapers and on the internet. In 1978, she modeled for photographs in Bill Cunningham's book Facades on architecture and fashion. In 2010, a show of her work was mounted at 25 CPW Gallery. Queen Editta Sherman was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1997 until her death. She was designated a Distinguished Artist by that organization and in 1998, she was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball. Her Royal Court included King Taylor Mead, Princess Sigrid Sunstedt and Prince Tree.
FRANCES SHERMAN - Born February 20, 1923. Died November 24, 2009. She was 86 years old. Frances was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1998 until her death. She was a long-time resident of 35 West 81st Street, New York, New York 10024-6045.
SIR GEORGE SHERRILL, K.R. - Born October 17, 1926. Died August 1, 2001. He was 74 years old. George joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1976, was a Foundation Member and served as Treasurer for a number of years. He was in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. George identified himself as Black, a member of the United Methodist Church and of African descent. He considered his profession to be that of an Artist with Fine Arts Proficiencies in Oil, Watercolor, Pencil, Charcoal, Pastel & Acrylics. He was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society. He lived at 2420 Morris Avenue, Apt. #6-I, Bronx, NY 10468 but in his final days, he resided at the Day Care Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs located at 423 East 23rd Street in Manhattan where one of his murals was installed. In the year 2000, he was knighted in recognition of his Artistic Achievements by the Patriotic Order of the Knights of the Republic, an American Knighthood Order.
PAUL STEINER - Born March 17, 1920. Died March 12, 2011. He was 90 years old. Paul was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1995 until his death. He was a Journalist who helped the Beaux Arts Society obtain press for its many events. He was a long-time resident of 161 West 54th Street, Apt. #402, New York, New York 10019.
DAME RUTH STEWART, K.R. - Born on April 25th, her full name was Gail Ruth Stewart. Ruth joined the Beaux Arts Society in 1988 and was a Foundation Member. From 1996 until her death, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. and as the society's Ambassador to Australia. Ruth identified herself as White, a Methodist and of English, Scottish & Dutch descent. She listed her profession as an Actress/Singer, Teacher and Executive Secretary (Retired). Her Fine Arts Proficiencies included Portrait & Landscape Painting. Her Performing Arts Proficiencies included Acting, Singing & Dancing. She lived at 22 West 75th Street, Apt. #4-B, New York, NY 10023. In the year 2000, she was knighted in recognition of her Artistic Achievements by the Patriotic Order of the Knights of the Republic, an American Knighthood Order.
LT. COL. DAVID C. STONE - Born February 11, 1921. Died November 6, 2008. He was 87 years old. David served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, worked as a Purchasing Agent and was a Photographer, Master of Ceremonies and Comedian. He was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1989 until his death and served on its Advisory Board. He offered the Society his services as a bartender and offered to help arrange and set up cocktail parties, coordinate transportation for guests, work at the door, arrange walks, offer tie-ins with other organizations and to schedule weekends at Pickwick Lodge for Beaux Arts Society members. Lt. Col. David C. Stone was a long-time resident of 410 East 6th Street, Apt. #15-E, New York, New York 10009. He is interred at New Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale, New York.
DR. JAMES E. SUITER - Born September 18, 1914. Died May 17, 2000. He was 85 years old. Dr. Suiter was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1983 until his death. He served many terms as Vice-President and was a member of the Board of Directors. He was a Life Member of the Beaux Arts Society. Dr. Suiter was a long-time resident New York City but passed away while living at 865 Gose Road, Forsyth, Georgia 31029.
JANET SUMNER - Born in Massachusetts on November 25, 1919. Died in New York City on October 31, 2001. She was 81 years old. Janet attended many Beaux Arts Balls and Spring Flings, and was an active member of the Beaux Arts Society until her death. Granddaughter of abolitionist Charles Sumner, she described herself as a "Back Bay Boston Belle" who attended Smith College in Northampton, MA and Katharine Gibbs School in New York City. Janet was a prominent figure in New York's art world and in the cabaret scene. She served as President and Executive Director of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Association, Secretary of the National Arts Club, and later as Secretary of the Amateur Comedy Club located at 150 East 36th Street in Manhattan. While she lived most of her life at 33 Fifth Avenue, she moved to become a Resident Member of the National Arts Club and occupied Apt. #6-B at 15 Gramercy Park South, which is where she died on Halloween Night after attending a Halloween Ball in full costume. She described her professional skills to be secretarial in nature but also being an Art Administrator. She had a keen interest in Art History and described her performing arts proficiencies as being "some singing, public speaking, and reading." She was a Life Member of the Knickerbocker Artists and an Honorary Member of both the Salmagundi Club and the C.L. Wolfe Art Club. Andrew Martin wrote the following about her, "It can be wholeheartedly said that she was not only a true original, but that there will never be another creature on earth to possibly resemble the bundle of energy, intelligence, compassion & fun that was she." Janet Sumner was cremated and buried in a plot she owned in Weston, Massachusetts.
KING ARTHUR TRACY - Born Abba Avrom Tracovutsky in Kamenetz-Podolsky, Russian Empire (now Ukraine) on June 25, 1899. Died in New York City October 5, 1997. He was 98 years old. He emigrated to the United States with his parents and siblings in April 1906 and settled in Philadelphia, where he graduated from Central High School. Naturalized in 1913, Tracy's parents became known as Morris and Fannie Tracy. Arthur Tracy began studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania but dropped out to become a professional singer. He began singing part-time in the Yiddish theatre, minstrel shows, Atlantic City hotels and vaudeville theaters in Philadelphia while working as a furniture salesman. After moving to New York City in 1924, he appeared regularly in vaudeville, joined the Blossom Time touring company and appeared in various New York revues, where he was seen by William S. Paley, who offered him a 15-minute CBS radio program. To avoid embarrassing his family if the show failed and to prevent being blackballed from future vaudeville bookings for having appeared on radio, Tracy decided to make his identity a mystery, calling himself "The Street Singer", a billing he may have borrowed from the title of Frederick Lonsdale's musical The Street Singer (1924). Once asked how he became known as "The Street Singer", he said it was because he had sung in the streets of Philadelphia for pennies. Listeners demanded to know his identity but it was not revealed until five months after his 1931 debut on CBS. The following year, he was off to Hollywood to appear in The Big Broadcast (1932) with other radio stars including Bing Crosby, Kate Smith and the Boswell Sisters. Arthur Tracy was one of the most famous of all recording stars of the 1930s and 1940s. He was a headliner in vaudeville with such stars as Will Rogers and W.C. Fields. On radio, he co-starred with Groucho Marx and Jack Benny. He went to London and topped the bill at the London Palladium, and while in Britain made several films. He returned to America in 1940 but gradually his style of singing had become passe and he was forced into semi-retirement. During the 1960s, he made something of a comeback and record companies in both America and Britain started to re-release most of his material. Arthur Tracy was coronated King of the Beaux Arts Ball in 1978 presiding with Queen Hope Hampton. He remained a member of the Beaux Arts Society from 1978 until his death. His 1937 recording of Pennies From Heaven was featured in the 1981 movie of that name with Vernel Bagneris lip-synching to Tracy's voice. The film brought Tracy out of retirement, and at age 82, he returned as a cabaret singer at The Cookery in Greenwich Village in 1982. This brought a favorable review in The New York Times from John Wilson, who wrote that his vocalizing had "a delightful patina of period charm", adding that Tracy was "a spellbinder, setting a mood and scene, disarming the doubters by admitting that 'I always put all the schmalz I had into my songs.'" He went on to act in the touring company of Andrew Berman's play Social Security and was in the movie Crossing Delancey (1988). In 1996, Arthur Tracy was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and a gold CD to mark the huge sales of his records over 60 years. Upon his death, Tracy's former wife Blossom, remembered his radio debut: "The announcer would say, 'Down the corner and round your way comes the Street Singer to sing to you his romantic ballads of yesterday and yore.' After Mr. Tracy sang, she said, the announcer returned: 'And there he goes, the Street Singer...back again tomorrow night to serenade you.'"
QUEEN JAN WALLMAN - Born Janet Jacob in Roundup, Montana on May 14, 1922. Died in New York City on October 8, 2015. She was 93 years old. After studying theater at the University of Minnesota, Ms. Wallman went to New York to pursue a career in public relations and promotion. She was married twice, briefly. Her first husband was killed in World War II. She divorced her second but kept his surname. She became friends with Nina Simone and her husband Donald Ross. In 1959, she and Mr. Ross decided to take over Upstairs-at-the-Duplex. Three weeks later, Ross left and she was on her own. Ms. Wallman ran it from 1959 to 1962 and again from 1964 to 1968. (In between, she ran the Showplace on West Fourth Street.) Ms. Wallman closed the Upstairs room in 1968. She then worked as a hospital recreation director, a restaurant manager, a bartender, and a hat checker. In the mid-1970s, she opened her own cabaret club, which she called Jan Wallman’s. By 1986, the rent became prohibitive and she closed it. But her many friends and a group of performers rallied to her side and hosted a “Celebration of Jan Wallman” at Carnegie Hall. The proceeds of the event (starring Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara, Joan Rivers, Dick Cavett, Bert Convy, Marcia Lewis, Linda Lavin and Judy Kreston, as well as a pair of her friends who never performed in her rooms, Kaye Ballard and Margaret Whiting) enabled Jan to reopen Jan Wallman’s, this time in the Hotel Iroquois on West 44th Street. Regarding the benefit concert, she said, “I’m glad they are doing it while I’m alive. Send me the flowers now.” The room closed in 1998, when it lost its lease. Jan Wallman was affectionately called the Godmother of Cabaret. She continued to promote, produce and direct the shows of many cabaret artists and was a well-respected critic for Applause! Applause! in the late 1990s. She was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs. She resided at 14 Washington Place, Apt. #4-A, New York, New York 10003. In 2000, Jan Wallman was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball. Her Royal Court included King Barry Farber, Princess Jenni Egan and Prince John Flynn. Queen Jan Wallman remained an active member of the Beaux Arts Society from the year of her coronation until her death.
PRINCE DAVID WEST - Born in Syracuse, New York on December 14, 1952. Died April 7, 2006 in Manhattan with his mother Mitzi at his side. He was 53 years old. After Hurricane David hit in 1979, David West became known as "Hurricane Dave" who was said to "dance up a storm". He was an actor, singer, model, dancer and innovative entertainer who was in constant demand because of his "singing telegram" theatrical routines. In his composite headshot, he is shown as a pimp, policeman, body builder and construction worker. David's creative costumes and captivating characters also included, but were not limited to, Indian Chief, Leprechan, Easter Bunny, Hippie, Biker, Court Jester, Monk, Convict, Ringmaster, Bellhop, Cupid, Doctor, Cowboy, Ghoul, Pirate, Doorman, Angel, Gypsy, Knight, Clown, Spaceman, Baseball Player, Admiral, Priest, Gorilla, Disco Dancer, Gangster, Elf, Fireman, Drag Queen, King, Rabbi and Judge. David West was a Beaux Arts Society member for many years and in 2001, he was coronated Prince of the Beaux Arts Ball. His Royal Court included King Huntington Hartford, Queen Hildegarde and Princess Jenni Egan.
JULIE WILSON – Born in Omaha, Nebraska on October 21, 1924. Died in New York City on April 5, 2015. She was 90 years old. She began singing with local bands, including “Hank’s Hepcats” at age 14. A stunningly gorgeous young woman, she won the title of Miss Nebraska but had to give it up because she was three days short of 18, the minimum age. Ms. Wilson briefly attended Omaha University but left to join “Earl Carroll’s Vanities” in the early 1940s which led to work as a chorus girl at the Copacabana and the Latin Quarter. After a USO tour in Europe, she was promoted to singing spots at the Copacabana and earned club dates in Miami and Hollywood, as well as in Los Angeles at the famous Mocambo. In 1946, she made her Broadway debut in the revue Three To Make Ready. Cole Porter personally offered her the role of Bianca in the London production of Kiss Me, Kate. She remained in London for four years, appearing in shows such as South Pacific and Bells Are Ringing, and enrolling in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. She returned to Broadway in 1955, appearing in Kismet, and then touring in such shows as Show Boat, Pajama Hattie, Silk Stockings, and Hi Fidelity. She appeared in two 1957 movies, The Strange One, a dark psychological drama, and This Could Be The Night, in which she played a saloon singer. She later had roles in Jimmy and Park, two Broadway musicals, and in 1988, she received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her work in Peter Allen’s Legs Diamond. Julie Wilson’s reputation as an elegant and gracious entertainer was forged in the finest rooms of the finest hotels of the 1950s and later, when smaller cabaret venues opened, you could find her performing at Michael’s Pub, The Russian Tea Room, The Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room, and Rainbow & Stars, often wearing her signature, slinky, silky, sequined gowns with a scarlet, feather boa flung around her shoulders and a white gardenia, her personal tribute to Billie Holiday, tucked behind her left ear. She recorded several albums including Julie Wilson at the St. Regis, Julie Wilson Sings the Cy Coleman Songbook, My Old Flame and Live From The Russian Tea Room. She was designated a Distinguished Artist of the Beaux Arts Society in 1996 and remained an active member of the Society until her death in 2015. She was a long time resident of 20 Cottage Street, Jersey City, New Jersey 07306 and in recent years lived at 65 West 55th Street, PH-C, New York, New York 10019-4913.
QUEEN FAY WRAY - Born Vina Fay Wray in Cardston, Alberta, Canada on September 15, 1907. Died in New York City on August 8, 2004. She was 96 years old. Fay Wray had an acting career spanning 57 years but is most noted for playing the female lead in King Kong. Her parents were Mormons, Elvina Marguerite Jones, who was from Salt Lake City, and Joseph Heber Wray, who was from Kingston upon Hull, England. Her family moved to Utah and eventually to Hollywood, California where she attended Hollywood High School. In 1923, she appeared in her first film at the age of sixteen, a role in a short historical film sponsored by a local newspaper. In 1925, she landed a major role in the silent film The Coast Patrol and in 1926, the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers, selected Wray as one of the "WAMPAS Baby Stars", a group of women who they believed to be on the threshold of movie stardom. Fay Wray was under contract with Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and ultimately signed with RKO Radio Pictures, Inc., the company that produced King Kong. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1933 and married three times - to the writers John Monk Saunders and Robert Riskin, and to the neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanford Rothenberg. She had three children: Susan Saunders, Robert Riskin Jr. and Victoria Riskin. In 1988, she published her autobiography, On The Other Hand: A Life Story. In 1989, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Fay Wray was coronated Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball in 1991. She presided with King Herbert Huncke. She was a special guest at the 70th Academy Awards, where the show's host, Billy Crystal, introduced her as the "Beauty who charmed the Beast". In January, 2003, she appeared at the Palm Beach International Film Festival to celebrate the Rick McKay documentary film Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, where she was honored with a "Legend in Film" Award. Wray is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Two days after her death, the lights of the Empire State Building were extinguished for 15 minutes in her memory.