Julien J. Studley

October 20th, 2015 § 3 comments

The day started by HG reading the New York Times obituary of Julien J. Studley, a prominent, super successful New York real estate broker. Julien died of brain cancer, age 88. He was HG’s public relations client for many years and HG contributed a great deal to Julien’s prominence. He was also a friend, a dining companion, a partner in a theatrical venture. He made a lot of money (he sold his company to his employees for $20 million dollars and made many more millions through real state ventures and astute securities investments). However, he did not worship money. His early experiences gave him an insight into the impermanence of material wealth. Julien and his Belgian family escaped from the Nazis through following a meandering path through France to Cuba and then the United States. Julien had only a high school equivalency certificate (He often said his real American education was his U.S. military service.) Nevertheless, he not only amassed financial sophistication, he read widely, collected art (had some very good Le Corbusiers), cultivated excellent taste in architecture, furniture and design (He built a superb arts and crafts home in the Hudson River Valley which was featured in Architectural Digest). He was fluent in many languages–English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Russian and Yiddish. The Times obit said (incorrectly) that his Yiddish helped him obtain his first real estate job, operating in the garment district. It was the fur district where Julien leased lofts to Yiddish speaking furriers. In later years, Julien married Jane, who was Chinese, and became immersed in Chinese culture (HG never knew if Julien spoke or read Chinese). HG and BSK partnered with Julien in producing an off-Broadway play, “World War Two and a Half” by Roger Hirson (He later wrote “Pippin”). Good two person cast: Robert Loggia and Kathleen Widdoes. New York critics loved the play except for but the all important Times. Closed swiftly. Beneath his welcoming and civilized exterior, Julien was a very tough guy. He was a young member of the Irgun and smuggled guns to Israel during the 1948 war. A dangerous activity where he had to deal with unsavory characters. Many years later, Menachem Begin, then the premier of Israel, awarded Julien with an Israeli decoration in a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Julien visited Paris every year and brought back a haul of excellent cheeses which HG, Julien’s late brother, George; Julien’s real estate colleagues would devour with many bottles of wine. Julien loved poker. Played poker all over the world. Lost more money than he won (he played against professionals). HG asked Julien about his love for poker: “It is one of the best ways to learn a great deal about human character.” HG introduced Julien to Peter Hellman the brilliant journalist, wine critic, author of many books. Hellman wrote Julien’s biography: Shaping the Skyline: The World According to Real Estate Visionary Julien Studley. It’s a fascinating book that captures the essence of a unique individual.

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§ 3 Responses to Julien J. Studley"

  • Charles Curran says:

    I would really like to read this book, but the used hardcover sells for $30.56. I’ll have to pass on this one.

    • I believe that I bought a carton of Shaping the Skyline. Will head down to the storage room in my building to try to uncover it this weekend. Will be glad to let you know.

      Meanwhile, HG, you have covered all the important bases in your personal memories of Julien. Really effortlessly excellent!

    • Gerry says:

      Charles: I will try to find you a copy at a more modest price. E-mail me your address, please.

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