One of the most recognized names in the entire western world, Larry King, will be the honoree for the next LA reunion of the noted New York Alumni. Every year the spirit of Brooklyn bursts forth in a gathering of people from greater Los Angeles for a celebration founded by Lou and Fran Zigman. Because many LA-based celebrities have cherished Brooklyn roots, the Zigmans have always found notable personalities to accept the role of honoree at the annual show that fills the auditorium of Beverly Hills High School to its capacity of 2,000.
Larry King, born Larry Zeiger, has made appearances at numerous past LA reunions of the New York Alumni, which most often consisted of a daytime street fair with stickball, chocolate egg creams and registration tables for each of the Brooklyn high school alumni groups. But the real LA glitz happens in the evening when a high quality show of comedy and music is staged by celebrities recruited by Fran Zigman to celebrate New York roots. Sometimes performers with little or no connections to Brooklyn or New York will perform just to help the Zigmans.
The New York Alumni was founded a quarter century ago by Lou Zigman, a lawyer, circuit judge and Lincoln High School alum. He realized that he simply missed his home borough. One day in 1979 he decided to gather a few friends and walk in LA’s Israel Independence Day Parade wearing T-shirts that read “ Lincoln High Graduates,” with a phone number where they could be reached. The group also posted signs with the same info at a Nathan’s Famous restaurant in the San Fernando Valley.
“If there was anybody Jewish or Italian out here in LA 50 years ago, they were from New York or Chicago,” Zigman said, “mostly New York.”
Just as he predicted, Zigman received so many phone calls over the following few days that he put together a Lincoln High reunion that brought together more than 1,000 people, reminiscing with each other more than 3.000 miles from Brooklyn.
Today, with a mailing list of some 15,000 alums from all over Brooklyn, the Zigmans continue to host one of the greatest annual shows on earth every fall at the Beverly Hills High School. This year, Larry King will be the honoree. Showdate: Saturday, September 24. (Go to www.nyalumni.com for the alums’ website.)