Which Celebrities Would Have Gone/Did Go to Virtual/Actual High School with You?
My cohort includes those born between about 1951 – 1957 (our “high school” had only grades 10, 11, 12 in the building), those who would have been/were in high school in the USA between 1968 – 1972.
Imagine us all in one building during one of my four years: sitting together at the same lunch table, being on the same teams, dancing at proms, singing in choirs, acting in plays, studying together and attending the same classes, sharing bus rides, going to pep rallies and games, getting high together, dating, arguing, ignoring each other and perhaps, remaining friends.
It is entertaining to imagine, isn’t it?
By “celebrities,” I mean that these are people who have:
- been on the covers of national magazines and/or featured speakers/presenters at national/international events/conferences;
- won national or international awards or positions of great importance;
- invented/started something significant;
- wrote/starred in/produced something significant in the way of art/music/books/movies/plays;
- achieved a high level of renown in their chosen field;
- are known by many others as “great” in their field;
- been stars of series TV shows and/or featured on popular talk shows;
- are known by and hang out with other celebrities.
These individuals encourage(d) me by their example, inspire and motivate me to be better, dare to dream bigger, do and try things I might not have, and enjoy life more. I am proud to “be” with them on my virtual or actual campus.
First, the famous people whom I know/knew personally:
D. Scott Bassinson, J.D., one of my first serious boyfriends and long-time friend, is an Attorney who has argued at the USA Supreme Court, now a Judge and always, a Musician/Composer. It is due to Scott and his brother, Kevin Bassinson (also a celebrity)’s resignations that I became Ladue High School’s rehearsal and performance accompanist and a professional accompanist for musicals, choruses and performances. http://www.albanyjazz.com/musicians/scottbassinson.html
Karen S. Raskin Kleiman, MSW, LCSW author of several books, founder of The Postpartum Stress Center, and leading researcher in Postpartum Depression and its treatments (featured on many TV talk shows, including OPRAH, in magazines and websites), was my award-winning partner in Duet Acting, for which we won 4th place for the state of Missouri and first or second in many local and regional competitions in 1971-1972. http://postpartumstress.com/karen-kleiman-msw-lcsw/
Rich Rubin, journalist, playwright, Founder/Producing/Artistic Director, Quince Productions and GayFest! (Philadelphia), was my first piano-playing duet partner under Deborah Rosenblum in the early 1960s, and we graduated from Ladue together in 1972. “Rich Rubin has written about travel for over twenty years now. He’s thrilled to be back in touch with the team behind ManAboutWorld, having been an early contributor to OUT&ABOUT. He has served as travel editor for Genre and is currently Food and Wine editor for Passport Magazine. His stories have appeared in Saveur, Caribbean Travel & Life, Bride’s, Modern Bride, Travel & Leisure, and many other publications. In his copious free time, he is Producing Artistic Director of Quince Productions, which produces Philadelphia’s only LGBT Theater Festival, GayFest!. He serves on the board of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus.” http://www.quinceproductions.com/about.html
Craig Pomranz, singer, recording artist, live cabaret performer, children’s book author of Made by Raffi, was another one of my high school “more than friends” that I’m still in touch with and regard highly. http://craigpomranz.com/
Dr. Alice Conway, J.D., Ph.D., AB ’76, MA ’79, JD ’83, PhD ’83, is a trained vocalist, fluent in multiple languages (including Braille), and a trusted commercial and employment attorney for Monsanto. She holds four degrees from Washington University and is a committed volunteer and donor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeXcPa4bAV4attorney and philanthropist, blind since aged three, first blind Board Chair of the The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Alice and I had many classes together in junior and senior high school.
Dr. Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at UMASS Medical Center in Gene Function and Expression, Director of the Cancer Center since 2015, the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Award and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Michael R. Green received his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1981. He was awarded a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship to perform postdoctoral work at Harvard University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He became a faculty member in that department at Harvard in 1984, where he remained until he joined the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1990. He has been the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, the McKnight Neuroscience Award, and in 1993 was invited to deliver a Harvey Lecture. In 1994, Dr. Green was made an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.” Michael was my second serious high school boyfriend and I went to the first college I attended partly because he was there (sorry, feminists). I knew his little brother, Eric, as well (see below). http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2015/04/michael-green-appointed-director-of-umass-cancer-center/
Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, recipient of numerous awards and author of many scholarly articles. https://www.genome.gov/27535200/director-eric-d-green-md-phd/
Joel Meyers, longtime sports broadcaster (currently play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association). Joel and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school, but we weren’t exactly friends. Host of Above The Rim, weekdays from 10-1pm ET, Joel is a multi-time Emmy award-winning broadcaster with over 25 years of experience that includes calling games for both the Lakers and the Spurs on TVas well as the St. Louis baseball Cardinals (our home team). Joel is a graduate of the University of Missouri.
Fran(ces) Ginsberg, Opera Singer (deceased) with the New York City and Spanish operas before her death several years ago sang in our high school’s Chorale (select show choir) and annual musicals. I accompanied her solos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Ginsberg
And, of course, my brother, Dr. Jonathan D. Fleischmann, M.D., MMS, FACS,
a urological oncologist who has created/patented medications, usages and surgical techniques in his field for decades. “Dr. Fleischmann received undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Brown University. During residency training at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, he was a National Kidney Foundation Fellow specializing in kidney cancer research. Between 1985 and 1992, he was on faculty at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, during which time he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In 1992, he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine faculty as the chief of service at the Weiler Hospital division and director of urologic oncology. In 1997, he entered private practice in the Bronx and has maintained a continuing interest in specialized cancer care, particularly of the prostate, kidney and bladder. He has privileges at Montefiore Medical Center Hospitals, Westchester Square Medical Center, Calvary and Morningside House.” https://www.google.com/patents/US5145859
Want to see more about some of these Ladue alums and more? In 2012 (the year of my 40th high school reunion), Ladue held its 60th “Distinguished Alumni” Awards Ceremony and it is on YouTube: http://bit.ly/10vTEaP
From Camp Hawthorn (the St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association’s Missouri Ozarks overnight camp, until 1969):
Sheldon Mirowitz (also from Ladue Schools), soloist musician, producer/arranger and sideman, professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and conductor/arranger of the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (which tours!), film and TV composer, winner of awards at the Sundance Film Festival and other accolades for his music, including three Emmy nominations and one Peabody Award. I met Sheldon in 8th grade at camp and then we we re-met in high school and have been friends ever since. https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-silent-film-orchestra-has-secret-weapon
Chuck Blitz, became independently wealthy in the first dot.com boom and turned that to opportunities to be a philanthropist, environmentalist, social/environmental activist, particularly in the Santa Barbara, CA, area; with Ram Dass and the White Lotus Foundation, he has been doing ecological, social community and world service—SEVA—programs and yoga teacher training), and recently, he is an author http://biography-ebooks.com///693266/five-years-in-five-months. I went to camp with Chuck; his sister, Judy (“Jay”) was my first counselor, but he and Glenn Savan were/are my brother, Jon’s, age, so we weren’t really friends.
Glenn Savan, (deceased in 2002), author of White Palace, a semi-autobiographical novel turned into the film in 1987, starring James Spader in Glenn’s role and Susan Sarandon as the love interest, using the local “White Castle” hamburger joints as the setting. I knew Glenn from camp, but we weren’t exactly friends. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/17/arts/glenn-savan-49-the-author-of-white-palace.html
Colleges and New England living (University of Wisconsin/Madison and University of Bridgeport/Connecticut (undergrad) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (graduate)
Dr. Rahima Wade, Ph.D. (deceased, 2012), almost single-handedly brought “service learning” into public schools in the 1990’s. She also introduced me to the idea of returning to school as a parent of young children and we both attended UMASS/Amherst at the same time. I first met her in Keene, NH, since we belonged to several of the same community groups. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/recorder/obituary.aspx?pid=156772652
Dr. Mary Kalantzis, Ph.D. http://education.illinois.edu/faculty-finder (b 1949, so an “age outlier,” really, but I include her because of her husband, Dr. Bill Cope, Ph.D. (b. 1957) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cope_(academic) . Both are Professors, authors/researchers in Multicultural Education and Workplace Diversity globally. I met them when Mary came to Keene State College in New Hampshire as a Fulbright Scholar from Australia in 1990-91 with her husband and colleague/co-writer, Bill, and son, Philip. I traveled with my then-partner to visit them in Australia in 1996. Mary and Bill are now at the University of Illinois/Champagne, where she has been the Dean of the College of Education, until recently.
Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, medical clairvoyant, teacher. I met Caroline in 1983 in New Hampshire and we became close friends, seeing each other almost weekly until she moved to back to Chicago in 1992. Since then, we stayed in touch, sporadically, but she travels internationally and is unusually busy even when she “lands” somewhere. She mentions me and our friendship in several of her books’ dedications/acknowledgements. https://www.myss.com/
Other notables from the Antioch/New England Graduate School in Keene, NH: Faculty members/authors/ researchers, David Sobel, Rick (Youst) van der Poll,
From Camp Med-O-Lark (in Washington, ME)
Bari K. Willerford, actor in the National Deaf Theatre and star of MathNet children’s TV show on PBS as well as continuing to appear in many other TV series, movies (American Gangster) and TV episodes. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0929780/bio
Allegra Broughton and Sam Page, singers/songwriters, musicians, founders of Solid Air, members of The Wild Catahoulas, also play/have played in many other duos and bands. Solid Air has many great CDs available. http://www.solidairmusic.com/bio.html
Dennis Hadley, musician, singer, member of The Hot Frittatas, The Wild Catahoulas, also plays/has played in many other duos and bands, including Gator Nation. Legally blind since birth, Dennis is one of the best accordion players and enthusiastic vocalists in northern California. http://www.gatornationband.com/about/about.html
From Chagdud Gonpa, my Buddhist Community (Sangha):
My teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (born Alwyn Fischel, known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (born Lisa Leghorn, known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars. They and I were students of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche before his passing in 2002.
Iron Knot Ranch, on the border of Arizona and New Mexico near Duncan, AZ, is led by Lama Shenphen: http://ironknot.org/about-iron-knot-ranch/
Lama Drimed teaches in California and Oregon and works from his home in the Bay Area, guiding students.
Among our sangha members whom I know personally are several authors, but only one is in my cohort, that I know of: photographer/teacher, Cary Groner. http://www.carygroner.com/
Now, all of these (still living) celebs can brag that they know ME!
Next, the celebs I only know from afar:
Athletes I paid attention to and admired…
Chris Evert (whose brand of tennis shoes I wore proudly during the years they were available, which coincided with the years I played tennis, myself, albeit mediocrely.
Cathy Rigby and Olga Korbut, who inspired me to become a gymnast, but injuries sidelined me in 10th grade. Oh, well.
Mark Spitz, a great swimmer( before Michael Phelps was even born!).
Dorothy Hamill (figure skater, actor), , who inspired millions to skate.
Theatre/Music Folks I noticed all along, whom I wish(ed) I could have (had) lunch with at least once… (culled from this list, first, from “my” class, 1953 & 1954 birth years starting on these pages: http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1954 and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1953 ), then from 1952 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1952, and 1955 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1955, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1956, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1951, and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1957
These are listed alphabetically by first name, but I considered grouping them by “lunch table,” according to what combos would make for great conversations with/around me….Cool idea, huh? YOU do it!
David E. Kelley
Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Michael Clarke Duncan
Orson Scott Card
Pamela Sue Martin
S. Epatha Merkerson
And, some age “outliers” I would invite to my high school cafeteria table (or beg to go to theirs…):
Holly Hunter (b 1958)
Jamie Lee Curtis (b 1958)
Cybill Shepherd (b 1950)
Billy Joel (b 1949)
Jessica Lange (b 1949)
Meryl Streep (b 1949)
Sigourney Weaver (b 1949)
Sissy Spacek (b 1949)
(WOW! Look at the class of 1949!)
I love the idea of running into these folks from my cohort in some virtual hallways, study halls, parking lots, playing fields, locker rooms and classrooms of “our” high school, getting together for a class reunion (45th is coming up for me this year), and being able to chat with them (even if they’ve already passed).
Who are in YOUR cohort?