Famous
Great Neck Alumni
From the
1950's

 

Famous Great Neck Alumni Pages include those graduates who have achieved success and prominence in their chosen field of endeavor. They are role models to past, present and future students because of their intellect, talent, creativity, skill, diligence, and commitment to excellence. They exemplify the capacity in all of us to aspire to greatness, follow our dreams and make a contribution to society. Their distinguished careers and lives are both a source of community pride and an inspiration to our individual and collective potential.

Dr. David Baltimore, Biologist
Class of 1956
Great Neck High School

Links
CalTech President
Winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize
Francis Ford Coppola, Director
Class of 1956
Great Neck High School

Links
Francis Ford Coppola: A Profile
Salon Brilliant Careers

David Baltimore graduated from Great Neck High School in 1956, received a Bachelor's Degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate from Rockefeller University. At the age of 37, he won a Nobel Prize in 1975 for the discovery of an enzyme which has expanded the understanding of retroviruses like HIV. Dr. Baltimore has published more than 500 peer-reviewed articles, taught at MIT and Rockefeller Universities, headed the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee, and became president of CalTech University in 1997.

Francis Ford Coppola was fascinated by microphones and machines as a child and created and edited 8mm home movies while growing up in Great Neck. He graduated from Great Neck High School in 1956 and attended Hofstra University where he founded the Hofstra Cinema Workshop and worked with fellow student James Caan. He received a MFA from UCLA film school. As his career evolved, he became one of the most talented and successful movie directors in the country with such hits as "Apocalypse Now," and the "Godfather" trilogy.

Hal Richman, Game Inventor
Class of 1954
Great Neck High School

Links
Strat Stretches Board Game History to 50 Years
Strat-O-Matic More Than A Game For Its Founder and Devotees
David Seidler, Playwright
Class of 1955
Great Neck High School

Links
David Seidler Winning Best Original Screenplay for "The King's Speech"
Interview: The King's Speech writer David Seidler
Hal Richman, a 2011 inductee in the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, tried out and failed to make the winless basketball team at Great Neck High School. Less than a decade later, he perfected a game he invented when he was 11 years-old that jump-started baseball's statistical revolution and made Strat-O-Matic Baseball an icon of sports history. Hal created the game at his parent's home. It uses dice and baseball player cards to recreate entire baseball seasons. He started a company in 1961 to produce the game and it spawned board games and online versions in other sports, including basketball, hockey, and football. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. Hal is a graduate of Bucknell University where he majored in Mathematics. David Seidler is a British-American playwright and film and television writer whose family resettled in Great Neck after the bombings in London during World War II. A stutterer as a child, he grew up to overcome a speech impediment, went on to Cornell University, and had a successful career as a writer. He wrote The Quest for Camelot, The King and I, and Tuck: The Man and His Dream for Francis Ford Coppola, another Great Neck alumnus. His greatest achievement which earned him global recognition and accolades was when he wrote the play and the screenplay for the film, The King's Speech, for which he won the Academy Award and a BAFTA for best original screenplay. David was the oldest winner of the best original screenplay Oscar.
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Bob Simon, TV Correspondent
Class of 1958
Great Neck High School

Links
Bob Simon a Great Neck Grad: Island Now

Remembering Bob Simon: 60 Minutes
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Bob Simon was born in the Bronx, raised in Great Neck, but belonged to the world. Simon graduated from Great Neck High School in 1958 and was a Phi Betta Kappa honors student at Brandeis University. He graduated from college in 1962 with a degree in History and went on to become a Fulbright Scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson Scholar. His career as a correspondent for CBS News took him from London to Saigon to Tel Aviv and other locations around the globe. He was a war correspondent during conflicts in Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, and Israel, but his capture by Iraqi forces and 40 day imprisonment brought the most notoriety of all. Perhaps he was most well known for his tenure on 60 Minutes. Simon was killed in an automobile accident on February 11, 2015. He is survived by his partner, Francoise Simon, their daughter, Tanya, and his grandson Jack.

 



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