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The Best of Brooklyn Annual Gala

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

Rainbow Room

30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

The Brooklyn College Foundation Honors

Don Buchwald '59

President, Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc.







Roast produced by the
Friars Club



Barry R. Feirstein '74

Founding Donor,
Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School
of Cinema

Murray Koppelman '57

Founding Donor,
Murray Koppelman School
of Business

Don Kramer '58

Chairman and CEO,
ILS Capital Management Ltd.
American Ballet Theatre

Leonard Merrill Kurz

Kurz Family Foundation


Don Buchwald '59

President, Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc.

Don Buchwald '59 attributes his good fortune to many things, and high on that list is being born in Brooklyn and graduating from Brooklyn College.

As one of the nation's top talent agents, he heads a bicoastal agency, Don Buchwald & Associates (DBA), that serves the needs of many diverse artists in all areas of the entertainment industry. Don is personally responsible for a small list of long-term clients, including radio superstar Howard Stern, who he has represented for more than 30 years.

Don enrolled at Brooklyn College as a 16-year-old graduate of Lafayette High School, served in the U.S. Army, and then returned to major in theater and take some of the very first television and radio classes offered by the college. Upon graduation he went to Los Angeles to work as an actor. He returned to New York two years later and began focusing on theater management and producing at summer and regional theaters. In 1964 he joined fellow Brooklyn College graduate Monty Silver '57 at his eponymous talent agency. In 1977, he formed Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc., and within two years the company had moved into its own building on East 44th Street. The DBA Los Angeles offices are on Wilshire Boulevard.

Don funded a theater scholarship at his alma mater in 1986 and has been a member of the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees since 1998. In 2002, he started the Don Buchwald Internships, a program that provides stipends for up to 15 Brooklyn College undergraduate and graduate students each semester, enabling them to take unpaid internships at various New York City–based entertainment firms, including DBA. He is a major supporter of the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, and the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, which will include the Don Buchwald Theater. He was the first recipient of the Brooklyn College Theater Alumnus Award, the Alfred Drake Award. At the 2009 commencement he received the Brooklyn College Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Don has been a member of the Friars Club since 1972 and served on the board of governors of the famously irreverent show-business club. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Maggie, and they relax at a weekend home he has dubbed "Bensonhurst." The couple has two daughters and two grandchildren.

Barry R. Feirstein '74

Founding Donor, Barry R. Feirstein
Graduate School of Cinema

Barry R. Feirstein founded Feirstein Capital Management Corporation, a private investment management firm, in 1993. He graduated from Brooklyn College summa cum laude with a B.S. in economics and earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1978. He started his career in finance as a technology analyst for Equitable Capital Management Corporation of New York, and managed the firm’s aggressive growth portfolio from 1984 to 1992. He joined the Brooklyn College Foundation in 2005 and served as chair from 2009 to 2013. In 2011 his gift provided the foundation for the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, which opened in fall 2015. The school, housed in Steiner Studios in Brooklyn's Navy Yard, is the first comprehensive public graduate cinema program in the state of New York and the only film school to be located on a working film lot. He is chairman of the Anderson Foundation for Autism, and a trustee of the New York Film Society at Lincoln Center.

Murray Koppelman '57

Founding Donor, Murray Koppelman
School of Business

After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1949, Murray Koppelman spent two years on a kibbutz in the Negev Desert in the newly founded State of Israel. Returning home to Brooklyn, he served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War and then, at age 23, enrolled in Brooklyn College, where he would earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, cum laude, in 1957. He rose rapidly in the world of finance and banking, first becoming a certified public accountant and then executive vice-president and chief operating officer of D.H. Blair and Co., Inc. In 1984, he became president of Eastlake Securities, Inc., which merged into J.P. Morgan. He recently retired from his position there.

Koppelman sat on the board of governors of Hillel International and has served as president of Brooklyn College Hillel. The Koppelman Professorships, which Koppelman endowed in 1994, recognize outstanding service by members of the Brooklyn College faculty. Koppelman was named Brooklyn College Alumnus of the Year in 1994 and was awarded a Presidential Medal in 1995. In 2011, his generous support made it possible for the Brooklyn College Foundation to purchase a 24,000-square-foot property adjacent to the college.

In 2015 his generous giving, combined with additional gifts by his friends on the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees, made it possible to name the Brooklyn College School of Business in his honor.

Don Kramer '58

Chairman and CEO, ILS Capital
Chairman, American Ballet

Donald Kramer, chairman and CEO of ILS Capital Management, has a long history of participation in the insurance and reinsurance business. He was the founder and CEO of several successful reinsurance companies in both the United States and Bermuda. He also leads several nonprofit organizations, including the American Ballet Theatre in New York, where he was elected chairman in 2011; the National Dance Foundation of Bermuda; and Bermuda First, a think tank dedicated to providing thoughtful insight into Bermuda's society and economy. Kramer earned an M.B.A. from New York University, and both a B.A. in economics and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Brooklyn College. He is also a CFA (charted financial analyst). He has been a trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation for more than three decades. In 2011, Kramer received the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour of the British Empire for both his work and philanthropy in Bermuda. Most recently, he received the Free Enterprise Award from the Insurance Federation of New York, Inc., and he will be a 2016 inductee into the Insurance Hall of Fame, an honor awarded by the International Insurance Society.

Leonard Merrill Kurz

Director, Kurz Family Foundation

Leonard Kurz was born in Brooklyn and later moved to Rockland County, N.Y. Kurz serves as a director and officer of the Kurz Family Foundation. He played a significant role in establishing the two endowed professorships at Brooklyn College — the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, and the Herbert Kurz Chair of Finance and Risk Management — as well as the program that assists black and Latino male Brooklyn College students. He is the president and creative force of Forest Creatures Entertainment, a motion picture, television and new media production company established in 1993. In 2007, Forest Creatures Entertainment produced Kitka & Davka in Concert: Old & New World Jewish Music, which has been broadcast extensively on the PBS network. He was a founding director (United States board) of Free the Children, an international organization that has the unique mission of creating a global network of children helping children through education. Kurz is making a feature-length documentary, Free the Children; is a co-producer of Maangamizi: The Ancient One, the first film from Tanzania to be considered for an Academy Award; and has been a script reader for Francis Ford Coppola. Kurz is a founding member of the SUNY Chancellor's Society and has received awards for his philanthropic work. He graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in history and from Stanford University with an M.A. in film and television production.


6:30 p.m. — Cocktail Reception

7:30 p.m. — Live Auction With One-of-a-Kind Prizes

8:00 p.m. — Dinner and Presentation of Best of Brooklyn Award
Brooklyn College President Karen L. Gould will present the Best of Brooklyn Award to Don Buchwald '59.

9:00 p.m. — Roast of Don Buchwald '59
Produced by the Friars Club, with actor Kathleen Turner, media star Robin Quivers, comedian Lisa Lampanelli and actor George Takei.

Business or Festive Attire

Contributions are tax deductible under the full extent of the law. Proceeds to benefit the Brooklyn College Foundation Annual Fund.

Photo Gallery

Maggie and Don Buchwald ’59 in the famed Rainbow Room, prior to the evening’s events.

The Best of Brooklyn Award, featuring Coney Island’s iconic Parachute Jump.

Andrew Koss, Maxine Linehan, Bob Willumstad, and Brooklyn College Foundation Trustee Marge Magner ’69.

Charles Haldeman, Laura Buchwald, Don Buchwald, Barbara Haldeman, and Bryan Smith.

Paul Shaffer and Vinnie Favale ’82, vice president of CBS Late Night Programming.

Gala emcee Alan Zweibel, a one-time deli-meat slicer in Queens who became a writer on Saturday Night Live thanks to Don Buchwald.

Leslie L. Clarke Sr. and former Councilwoman and current CUNY Trustee Una Clarke.

Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera meets legendary Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton.

Don Buchwald receives the Best of Brooklyn Award from Brooklyn College President Karen L. Gould, wearing a jaunty fedora in his honor.

Howard Stern sidekicks Fred Norris and Gary Dell'Abate roast their long-time agent, Don Buchwald, as "the most interesting man in the world."

Ethel Garil looks on while BCF Trustee Bernie Garil ’62 places his auction bid.

Brooklyn Borough Historian Ron Schweiger ’70 and Geraldo Rivera.

President Karen L. Gould with Brooklyn College Foundation Trustee Florence Cohen Rosen ’59 and Doug Steiner, chairman of Brooklyn-based Steiner Studios.

Geraldo Rivera with Robin Quivers, long-running news anchor and co-host of The Howard Stern Show.

Best of Brooklyn honoree Don Buchwald with Paul Shaffer, former Late Show With David Letterman musical director.

Don Buchwald with Mary and Gary Dell'Abate.

Actor Kathleen Turner, one of the evening’s roasters.

Comedienne Lisa Lampanelli scorches the room during the Buchwald roast.

Robin Quivers takes a shot at Don Buchwald during the Friars Club roast.

Bensonhurst’s own Don Buchwald, star of the 2016 Best of Brooklyn gala.

Alan Zweibel and daughter Lindsay.

Julia Buchwald, president of the West Coast division of Don Buchwald & Associates.

Brooklyn College Foundation Trustee (and past Best of Brooklyn honoree) Don Kramer ’58 and his sister Gail Kramer Needleman ’68, M.A. ’73.

Don Buchwald and violinist Boyd Tinsley from the Dave Matthews Band.

Dr. Richard Simon (left) and President Karen L. Gould with honoree Don Buchwald.

The Buchwald family (from left): Julia, Don, Maggie, and Laura.

Don Buchwald with Brooklyn College Foundation Chair (and 2015 Best of Brooklyn honoree) Ed Cohen ’62.

Don Buchwald and Brooklyn College Vice President Andrew Sillen ’74.

Video Dedication


  • Patrons

  • Don '59 and Maggie Buchwald

  • Barry R. Feirstein '74

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Murray '57 and Ellen Koppelman

  • Don Kramer ‘58

  • Leonard Merrill Kurz

  • Howard Stern

  • Partner

  • Edwin H. '62 and Doris Cohen

  • Don Buchwald & Associates, Inc. Employees

  • City University of New York (CUNY)

  • Roy L. Furman '60

  • Marge Magner '69

  • Robert A. and Florence Cohen '59 Rosen

  • Sirius XM

  • Steiner Studios

  • Friend

  • Deloitte

  • Discovery Communications

  • Martin and Ahuva Gross

  • Hank Lane Music

  • Lola Jaffe

  • Ted '79 and Sara '79 Liebowitz

  • Pryor Cashman LLP

  • Zev Rosenwaks ‘68

  • Martin '63 and Barbara '63 Sass

  • Schmulman Lobel

  • Sponsor

  • Barnes & Noble College Booksellers

  • Ed and Barbara Haldeman

  • Scott '80 and Beth '80 Herman

  • Adam and Jenny Hersch

  • Abbe and Dan Klores

  • NBC Entertainment

  • Tim Sabean

  • TD Bank

  • Vicki and Ron Weiner

  • Richard A. Wilpon '72

  • Eric Wittenberg, UBS

  • Carol '61 and Larry Zicklin

  • Premier

  • Gary and Mary Dell Abate

  • Alltype Printing

  • Louise Barzilay and Stephen Berenson

  • Ante ‘90 and Maria ‘92 Basic

  • Larry Becsey and Devra Wasserman

  • Sam E. '59 and Eva R. Beller

  • Llyod Braun

  • Julia Buchwald

  • Laura Buchwald

  • Citi Commercial Bank

  • Cathy Cole

  • Celia D. Costas

  • The Estée Lauder Companies

  • Ilene '62 and Stanley Gold

  • Karen L. Gould and Richard M. Simon

  • Jay Gregory and Rory Hayden

  • Rob Jacobson and Julie Cho

  • Dave Johnson

  • Myron '52 and Thelma '54 Kandel

  • Stuart '50 and Isabel Kessler

  • Martin B. Klein

  • Samuel Kopel and Sari Scheer

  • Michael Lynne ‘61

  • Metropolitan Food Service Inc.

  • Fred and Allison Norris

  • Jeffrey Schick

  • Steinway & Sons

  • John and Katherine Stookey

  • Bruce Tindal

  • Leonard Tow ’50 and Phyllis Mailman

  • Pawel Walczuk ’10 and Christina Chinnici

  • Supporter

  • Brooklyn College Alumni Association

  • Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

  • Brooklyn Navy Yard

  • Harriet L. Brathwaite '59

  • Stu Cantor

  • Ron Carner

  • Maria Ann Conelli '80

  • Vinnie P. Favale '82

  • Agnes Ford ‘69

  • Gesco Ice Cream

  • Liz and Alan Jaffe

  • Kingsborough Community College

  • Claudia Latorre

  • Beth Farryn Levine

  • Arlene Lichterman ‘53

  • Loeb & Troper

  • Marty '70 and Jamie Markowitz

  • McCanliss & Early, LLP

  • Charles Mirotznik

  • Ana Mouradian, Delene Copeland and Joanne DePersia

  • Pepsi Cola Bottling

  • Prestige Printing

  • RVK, Inc.

  • Ruth Joy Schwartz ‘63

  • Ron '70 and Phyllis Shanken '69 Schweiger

  • Roy Seidenberg and Christina Shen

  • Semel Media

  • Andrew Sillen '74

  • Charles J. Thomas

  • William A. Tramontano and Deborah Buonagurio

  • Mimi Strongin Turque-Marre '59

  • Rochelle Udell'Turshen

  • Roberta Rose Wallach '53

  • Michael '61 and Ella '62 Weiss

  • Special thanks to the supporters of this evening’s auction

  • Greg Bernarducci

  • Roy L. Furman '60

  • Howard Stern-Sirius XM Satellite Radio

  • Donald Kramer '58

  • Michael Lomonaco ‘02

  • New York Mets

  • Porter House Bar and Grill

  • Rao’s Restaurant Group LLC

  • Phillipa Soo

  • Special thanks also to Erin Ward of Star Benefit Auctions, our auctioneer for this evening.