Famous
Great Neck Alumni
From the
1960'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.

Jon Avnet, Producer/Director
Class of 1967
Great Neck North High School

Links
Fried Green Tomatos
USC: Red Corner Interview
Dr. Mary Cleave, Astronaut
Class of 1965
Great Neck North High School

Links
Astronaut Bio: Mary Cleave
Mary Cleave, Great Neck
Mary Cleave Joins Hall of Fame

Jon Avnet graduated from North High School in 1967 along with future entertainer, Andy Kaufman. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Jon went on to become a successful film producer and director. His directorial credits include "Red Corner" with Richard Gere in 1997, "Up Close and Personal" with Michele Pfeifer and Robert Redford in 1996 and "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy in 1991. His production credits include "George of the Jungle" in 1997, "Tango and Cash" in 1989 and "Risky Business" in 1983.

Dr. Mary Cleave grew up in Great Neck and graduated from North High School in 1965. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences from Colorado State University, a Master's Degree in Microbial Ecology and a Doctorate in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Utah State University. An astronaut since 1980, she has logged 262 hours in space including two space shuttle flights. She is currently assigned to the Johnson Space Center as a Special Assistant for Advanced Programs and was recently elected to the Hall of Fame.

Jamie S. Gorelick, Lawyer
Class of 1968
Great Neck South High School

Links
Jamie S. Gorelick, Commissioner
Jamie Gorelick Receives Wickersham Award
Mark Green, Politician
Class of 1963
Great Neck South High School

Links
About Mark Green
Candidate Profile: New York: Mark Green

Jamie Gorelick, a 1968 graduate of South High School, has had an accomplished career in the public and private sector. A Harvard College and Law School graduate, Jamie served as a Washington, D.C. litigator from 1975-1979 and 1980-1993 when she joined the Department of Defense as general counsel. In 1994, she became the U.S. deputy attorney general under Janet Reno. She joined Fannie Mae in May, 1997 and later became vice chair. She is currently a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and is serving as one of the ten members of the 9/11 Commission investigating the terrorist attacks.

Mark Green graduated from South High School in 1963, Cornell University in 1967 and Harvard Law School in 1970. He worked as Ralph Nader's top aide in Washington for the next decade and later served as New York City's Commissioner of Consumer Affairs. He has written or edited sixteen books, including a #1 bestseller, "Who Runs Congress?" and was the city's first Public Advocate. Mark made unsuccessful bids for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 1988 and New York City Mayor in 2001, losing to Charles Schumer and Michael Bloomberg respectively.

Andy Kaufman, Entertainer
Class of 1967
Great Neck North High School

Links
Andy Kaufman Home Page
Andy Kaufman: A Tribute
Graduation
Photo
Not
Available
Dr. Louise Mirrer, University Administrator
Class of 1969
Great Neck South High School

Links
Women, Jews and Muslims in the Texts of Reconquest Castile
The Merrow Report - College for All?

Andy Kaufman grew up in Great Neck, attended Saddle Rock and Baker elementary schools and graduated from North High School in 1967. He went on to become an eccentric comedic entertainer, getting his big break as Latka on the hit TV series Taxi. He gained notoriety on Saturday Night Live, doing Elvis impressions, wrestling with women, lip synching to the Mighty Mouse theme song, and for becoming his alter ego, lounge singer Tony Clifton. Andy's fame lives on even after his tragic death from lung cancer at the age of 35 in 1984.

Dr. Louise Mirrer, 1969 graduate of South High School, is a widely published scholar in the fields of Spanish and Sephardic language, literature and women's studies. She is currently the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the City University of New York. In the 1990's, Dr. Mirrer served as the Vice Provost for Arts, Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and was also Chair of the Humanities Division at Fordham University. Dr. Mirrer has written numerous articles, presented scholarly papers at conferences and has published several books.

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Neil Portnow, Music Producer
Class of 1967
Great Neck South High School

Links
Neil Portnow Wikipedia

From GN South to Grammy Prez
Graduation
Photo
Not
Available
Talia (Coppola) Shire, Actress
Class of 1964
Great Neck South High School

Links
Movie Times: Talia Shire
E! Online - Fact Sheet - Talie Shire
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Neil Portnow grew up in Great Neck and attended South HIgh School, where he was elected student body president and played bass guitar in a rock band, The Savages. He graduated in 1967 and matriculated to George Washington University where he was elected as program director and student body president. He graduated in 1971 and began his career as a music supervisor for RCA, Arista and EMI America. He became Vice-President of the West Coast division of Jive Records and speerheaded the careers of many famous performers in the 1990s. In 2002, he became the president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) which organizes the Grammy Music Awards. He is a recipient of the United Jewish Association Federation of New York's annual Music Visionary of the Year Award. Talia (Coppola) Shire graduated from South High School in 1964 and attended the School of Drama at Yale University on a scholarship. She achieved acclaim as a successful film actress and is best known as Adrian, the wife of prizefighter Sylvester Stallone in the "Rocky" movie series, and also the volatile daughter of Marlon Brando in the "Godfather" trilogy. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Godfather: Part II and the original "Rocky." She has also been nominated for Golden Globe and Tony awards. Talia is the sister of director Francis Ford Coppola, another famous GNPS alumnus from the 1950s, and the aunt of actor Nicholas Cage. With her late second husband, Shire cofounded a production company called Taliafilm II.
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Dawn Steel, Producer
Class of 1964
Great Neck South High School

Links
E! Online: Dawn Steel Dead at 51
Dawn Steel Fund
steel

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Roger Tilles, NYS Board of Regents Member
Class of 1964
Great Neck North High School

Links
NYSED: Roger Tilles Bio
Don't Link Teacher Evaluations to Test Scores
tilles

Dawn Steel graduated from South High School in 1964 and attended New York University. In 1978, she went to work for Paramount Pictures, where she planned marketing tie-ins for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was responsible for the making of Fatal Attraction. She oversaw production of the 1983 hit "Flashdance" which established her standing as a producer. In 1985, she was named head of production at Paramount, only the third woman in history to assume that title, and in 1987 she became head of Columbia Studios, the first woman ever to hold that position. She hired many female executives, directors and producers during her tenure and produced many hit films, including Top Gun, The Accused, When Harry Met Sally, Awakenings, and Flatliners. In 1989, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who helped expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. She died in 1997 at the age of 51 of brain cancer. Her film, City of Angels, was dedicated to her memory.

Roger Tilles, a 1964 graduate of North High School, went to Amherst College and earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1971. His career spans education, law, and politics. He was a professor of education and law at several universities in Michigan, the Director of Law and Legislation for the Michigan Department of Education, a member of the Michigan State BOE, Exceutive Secretary to the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, and a candidate for U.S. Congress. He practiced law in Washington, D.C. for many years. He was a founding member of the Association for a Better Long Island, chair of the LI Regional Planning Board, chair of the LIU Board of Trustees, and served on the Boards of WNET and WLIW. He has been the Director of Tilles Investment Companies, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Tilles Center for the Perofrming Arts, and is currently a regent for the NYS Education Department.

yurmanhs

David Yurman, Artist and Jewelry Designer
Class of 1960
Great Neck South High School


Links
David Yurman Reveals Fall Campaign
100 Most Influential People in Fashion

yurman

 

 

 

David Yurman first began his design and business career in the Great Neck South High School cafeteria selling sculptures. Following a year at NYU, he hitchhiked to California and spent time in the artist colony of Big Sur. At the end of the decade, he returned east to work with sculptor Hans Van de Bovencamp in Greenwich Village and met Sybil. a talented painter. She wore one of David's pieces to an art opening and was asked if it was for sale, which triggered their future career. In the early 1970's, they moved to the countryside and formed Putnam Art Works where they displayed their designs and paintings at craft fairs throughout the decade and layed the groundwork for founding their own company. They married in 1979, and in 1980, they founded David Yurman, the brand and the company. In the mid-1980s, David made a name for himself with his signature design -- the cable bracelet -- which became iconic in the industry. His company produces various jewelry and watch collections for men and women, as well as his own signature fragrance and eyewear collection.




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