The New York Friar’s Club

NY Friar's BldgFounded in 1904 and located in New York City, the Friars Club is essentially a private organization that primarily caters to individuals within the entertainment industry.  Additionally, the membership at Friars includes affluent individuals from other professional fields.  To become a member of Friars, an individual has to receive sponsorship from two members who are in good standing.

The roots of the organization can be traced back to a period in which representatives of Broadway theatres, who worked with New York publicists, structured the Press Agents’ Association as a means of exchanging lists of individuals who were fraudulently getting free passes to shows.   Before long, the club started its dinners in tribute to theatrical celebrities and in 1908, Friars changed its location to a club house on West 47th Street.  The location was nicknamed the Monastery, which is a name that has been used for to all the subsequent Friars clubhouses.  The Monastery enabled its members to have the freedom to come together, greet each other, party at clubs in Queens, Manhattan and a few of the other boroughs, and pretty much do anything that the flexible rules of the club allowed.

Over the years, the NYC clubs has had a number of different homes.  As its membership expanded, so did the events held at the Friars.  They raised funds through shows that were called the Friars Frolic and in 1916, the money was used to build a new clubhouse on West 48th Street.  The new location was as grand as any upscale hotel and it was outfitted with suites for sleeping, a dining room, a ballroom, a gym, a poolroom, meeting rooms and bars.

In 1957, the Friars Club relocated to its current headquarters at East 55th Street between Madison and Park Avenues.  The building is an English Renaissance mansion that was built in 1908 by architects Levi and Alfredo S. G. Taylor for Martin Erdman, an investment banker with Speyer and Company.  The Friars Club is known for its Roasts, which were televised initially during the decade of the 1960s.  The Roasts were originally a component of the Kraft Music Hall series; however, the Roasts later became a part of The Dean Martin Show.  For the period between 1998 and 2002, Comedy Central carried the Roasts as a part of its programming package.

To demonstrate and effectively carry out its corporate social responsibilities, the club established the Friars Foundation in 1977.  The purpose of the foundation is to foster the growth and development of the performing arts and to date, Friars has raised in excess of $5 million dollars to propel individuals and groups who have the talent and desire to be a part of the entertainment industry.  In essence, the mission of the Friars club is to assist small performing arts groups in creating excellent affordable and innovative programs that will enrich, educate and entertain diverse participants and audiences.  In addition, the Foundation also assists in preparing the next generation of musical artists and performers by way of scholarship programs for individuals who are formally studying the performing arts.

The members of the Friars club can find something brewing in the clubhouse at all times.  Whether it is a show, a drink or a meal, there is a guarantee that its membership will always haveFriars Conference a great time.  Drama, music and comedy are presented in cocktail party gatherings and theater-like settings at the Monastery. Whether it is an after-hours comedy club extravaganza in the Milton Berle Room or a prime time comedy show, barrels of laughter are always in vogue.  Frequently, music is the order of the night and singers, at all stages of their respective careers and from all musical genres, entertain audiences at Friar. The Lucille Ball Room plays host to Thursday Night Café and along with Jazz nights, it is seasoned winner at the Monastery.  The Frank Sinatra Dining Room is a salute to the major musical maven and it is a hit with members in any season.

Throughout its century of mystic, the revolving door of personalities that have traversed the Monasteries has truly been a timeline of rich show business history.  The list of notables includes George M. Cohan, Al Jolson, Irving Berln, Oscar Hammerstein, Victor Herbert, Mayor Jimmy Walker, George Jessel, Jimmy Durante, President Calvin Coolidge, President Woodrow Wilson, Bob Hope, George Burns, Jack Benny, Sophie Tucker, Sammy Davis, Jr., Humphrey Bogart, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte, Elizabeth Taylor, Dean Martin, Kirk Douglas, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Johnny Carson, Buddy Hackett, Lucille Ball, Phil Silvers, Phyllis Diller, Sid Caesar, Redd Foxx, Barbra Streisand, Neil Simon, Red Buttons, Candice Bergen, Diana Ross, Clive Davis, Barbara Walters, Billy Crystal, Liza Minnelli, Robin Williams, Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Hefner, Richard Pryor, John Travolta, Donald Trump, Kelly Preston, Drew Carey, Chevy Chase, Matt Lauer, Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and a myriad of others who have all had the distinction of being members of this exceptional fraternity called the Friars Club.

The Friars Senior Society – Everything You Need To Know

Friars

The Friars Senior Society is a proud identity symbol of the University of Pennsylvania, with the members of the group eagerly looking forward to what’s in store during the upcoming annual event. The society is not just inclusive of undergraduates, but also has an active network base comprising the alumni.

History

While there is little obscurity as to when exactly the Friars was founded, the society got its official recognition as a group in the university’s yearbook in 1901. The original group comprised 15 charter members, led by Daniel S. Keller, a ’01 Jr. The group was primarily set up to exhibit their protest against cliques and work hard against snobbery and caddishness, and also to establish firmly the uncompromising democracy in all university, college, and class activities.

An all-male institute originally, women students were allowed only during the spring batch of 1971. While the early decades saw classes numbering about 20, every new undergraduate Friars class now is close to the 35-number mark. Those considered for membership are outstanding members and leaders of their class in roles like team captains, class officers, sorority and fraternity presidents, university and community service group officers, student publication editors, dramatic groups’ presidents, government leaders, etc.

Undergraduate Friars, in their senior year, become an active close knit team, lending their support to their respective organizations and their fellow members, making and participating in unique social functions off and on campus, besides offering community support and service to the university every semester. The camaraderie or the bond created throughout the senior year in the role of a Friar continues even after graduation. As per 2010 statistics, the members representing the Friars Alumni Association are spread across the planet – 23 countries to be precise. The total number of members goes beyond 1900, which includes members from many family generations. In fact, the association is considered one of the most active units or associations on Penn’s campus. National Friars graduate and on-campus events have become customary every year, with a biannual newsletter keeping the members in touch or connected. In fact, the newsletter is the reason why Friars has been able to maintain tremendous undergraduate and graduate level of participation at Penn. The Graduate Board at Friars looks over the organization and is responsible for many events conducted over the year.

Graduate Events

Some of the events held at the association for graduates include the Friar Homecoming Reception, Penn/Princeton Basketball Game, Annual Friar Spring Dinner, and Alumni Day Friar Reception, to name a few.

 

Friar's Alumni

Undergraduate Events

Similar to the diverse makeup of each class, the calendar of events also keep changing. However, even if the schedule for each year is not the same, every Friar class attends and supports other events, besides holding several community and social service events all through the year. They also participate in several joint Friar undergraduate/graduate activities.

A normal week would offer quite a few opportunities for the Friars to come together. Along with the Friars social night that’s scheduled regularly, the Friars could be seen at a minimum of a dozen sporting events and performing arts shows every year, besides being found at one community service event and a single non-Penn project every semester. The week is not over yet as there is a luncheon at the President’s house with Dr. Gutmann during the spring, and also quite a few opportunities to get to know the Friar alums better.

Besides the events for the alumni listed on the website, the Friar undergraduates have a meeting with the alumni every semester at events or activities that have been designed to assist the alumni grads pass on the culture and the history of Friars. This allows the undergraduates to get acquainted with the Friar alumni in a more casual and fun setting.

True to their name, Friars is also about giving it back to the society and every class proudly takes ahead the tradition of rendering community service. In the past few years, the Friars have been able to raise above $400 and several hundreds more for a nearby West Philadelphia school. They even set up a Friarside Coffee House for highlighting Penn’s contribution towards raising money for several humanity causes. In fact, a single event called ‘Habitat for Humanity’ managed to raise more than $1300 within a couple of years. Other classes of Friars have participated in walks for AIDS and MS, donated food to the poor and homeless, and gave orphans an opportunity to witness the sporting events held on campus.

This makes it quite clear that Friars is certainly active with its pursuits and takes to heart its promises and goals. They believe that the only reason for human existence is not what one manages to achieve in life, but what is that they have provided to their fellow beings. Thus, it would be very hard to pick out a Friar who has not indulged in these activities at least once during his/her stay on campus.

The Friars Club Of Beverly Hills

Friar's Club Beverly Hills

The Friars Club of Beverly Hills has a lot of history behind it. If you are interested in learning more about the history of this club, then continue to read the rest of this article, as you will learn quite a few things about it.

The Current State Of The Friars Club of Beverly Hills

Before we go into the history of the club, let’s discuss briefly the current state of it. As of 2011, the building was demolished, so the Friars Club no longer exists. Also, in 2007, the club had to change its name after it lost a court battle with New York Friars’ Club, and then it closed down for business shortly afterwards, but the actually building was torn in 2011.

What Was The Friars Club

The Friars Club of Beverly Hills was a club, a private show business one, that got its start back in 1947. Milton Berle, who was an actor and comedian, as well as other celebrities, started the club. These celebrities moved from New York to California. The person who designed the club’s building was Sidney Eisenshtat, who was a modernist architect.

The History

It is said that Berle gathered a group together, and they all met at the Savoy Hotel located right on Sunset Boulevard. Some of the members of the group included Robert Taylor, Jimmy Durante, George Jessel, as well as Bing Crosby.

When the club first opened up for business, it was a membership only club, a non-profit one. It was also established as a spin-off of a club named the New York Friars’ Club in NYC. The club eventually relocated to a windowless building that was located at 9900 Santa Monica Boulevard, and this is where the club remained until its closing.

Notable Members

The club had many members, and many of them were celebrities or very well-known people.

Some of these people included Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Other people such as Judy Garland, Al Jolson, Johnny Carson, the Marx Brothers and Jerry Lewis were all members of the club at one point in time. These are just a few of the celebs who were members of the club, which was also known as a club where ‘Roasts” occurred. In matter of fact, Judy Garland was the very first woman to be roasted at the club.

Other Information About The Friars Club

Eventually Irwin Schaeffer became the president of the club. This was back in 1992. During this time the club was known as the Friars Club of California. However, in 2004 Irwin sold the club’s assets to his son, Darren, who owned a for-profit corporation. The reason why Irwin sold the club’s assets is because membership started declining throughout the years. Once the sale was completed, the club went from being the Friars Club of California to the Friars Club Of Beverly Hills.

The club continued operating under the name until 2007. However, the lawsuit by the New York Friars’ Club was commenced in 2005. The club sued the Beverly Hills Club because they claimed they were infringing upon their trademark under what was known as the Lanham Act. Eventually the lawsuit succeeded, and the California Club was not allowed to run as the Friars’ Club of Beverly Hills.

At one point in time, the club operated under the name “Club 9900,” but it only stayed open for a few months. In 2008, the club closed its doors and the building was advertised as being available for lease.

There was also a time when the club was open to the general public. Guests used to flock to the club, and they were able to dine on food, as well as have a few drinks at the bar. However, a part of the club was open for members only, and this part of the club was where comedy shows took place, as well as live music venues. It was no secret as to why many celebs became members. If people wanted to be entertained and be seen at one of the hottest spots in Beverly Hills, then the Friars is where they wanted to go. It was open often, and it didn’t matter what day of the week people went there on, as there was a point in time when it was always busy and there was always something going on there.

As you can see, there was a lot of things to know about the Friars Club of Beverly Hills, and there was a lot of history surrounding it.