Past Advisory Board Member and Associates of American Film Studios

EDWARD R. STAVITSKI - Board Member - Mentor:

Edward R. Stavitsky was one of the original key associates to AFS and served on the Board and played a key role in almost all of the Group's ventures. His record of achievements spanned over fifty years in business, in diverse sectors which included science and technology, real estate, financing, development and management, operations and financial consulting, and the entertainment industry, as well as philanthropic enterprise. He was a biochemist and a member of the New York Stavitsky family.

The Stavitskys headed the largest real estate, insurance brokerage and management firm in New Jersey and built, owned and operated the largest office building in the State of New Jersey at the time - the Military Park Building, 60 Park Place, Newark.

Ed pioneered Bank/Insurance Company/Developer Joint Ventures in Commercial Development; he pioneered and pragmatized Mixed Use Concept Development in New York and introduced it to Los Angeles; he was the first developer of multi-unit housing in Houston, Galveston and Pasadena, Texas - resulting in the development of over 25,000 garden apartment units and 15,000 single family residences. He was the first Realtor to actively implement the G.I. Bill Home Mortgage Program (U.S. Service Veteran Program) in significant numbers (over 15,000) for non-white and minority applicants.

Ed was an owner, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of the Maxwell Company-Straus-Duparquet, the oldest, most prestigious and largest furnishing, decorating and design firm in the United States at the time. He also added another dimension to the company - financing - and the ability to issue its own Stand-bys, backed by Franklin National Bank.

Ed in fact was a pioneer in the use of Stand-by Letters of Credit to fund real estate development projects, conceiving this idea in late 1953 and working directly with Franklin National Bank from 1954 to 1970 - over which period he personally placed many billions of dollars of development funding and contributed to the growth of Franklin National Bank from the 24th largest to 11th largest bank in the USA. In accordance with his father's teachings, was issued the First Savings & Loan Charter for the State of New Jersey. Ed achieved a remarkable zero foreclosure rate over this period.

Ed’s involvement in the Film and Entertainment industry is legendary. His uncle, Mike Hollander (the Hollander Fur Company), had financed several of his Salesmen into the motion picture industry in the 1920's and 30's - people such as Samuel "Goldfish" Goldwyn, Marcus Loew (hence the theatre chain), and Adolph Zukor (founder of Paramont Studios). Theatre-goers will recognize “Hollanderizing” in the Broadway hit “Guys & Dolls”, which in fact refers to a process invented by the Hollander Fur Company. Ed Stavitsky grew up with this legacy and long involvement with the film and entertainment industry to it.

Ed and his brother Albert also owned Bronston Studios in Madrid, Spain together with Sam Bronston, where they were responsible for movies such as King of Kings, 55 Days at Peking, Circus World, The Fall of the Roman Empire and El Cid.

For a period of some 25 years, Ed worked hand in hand with Chase Manhattan Bank to provide a substantial component of the total financing for 20th Century, Universal and United Artists.

A pianist, conductor and composer, Ed was a Principal, along with "Bumps" Blackwell, of Entertainment Management International, which received over 37 Gold Records for Production & Arranging for Feature Film Songs. Ed’s motion picture experience included positions as Principal in the firms of: Capra Associates, Totacom, and Worldwide Creative Artists which collectively functioned in all phases of financing, producing, distribution and promoting film vehicles.

Multi-Award Winner

In memory of, Jerry Goldsmith, a former AFS Advisory Board Member - a legend - an Oscar and Emmy winning composer whose memorable music embellished movie and television through decades of industry entertainment, ranging from his scores for such films as, Chinatown; Planet of the Apes; Patton; The Omen; and, Alien on to wonders like the magical theme from, The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

JIM ROHN - Mentor:
For more than 40 years, Jim Rohn honed his craft like a skilled artist—helping people the world over sculpt life strategies that expanded their imagination of what is possible. Those who had the privilege of hearing him speak can attest to the elegance and common sense of his material. It is no coincidence, then, that he is still widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of our time, and thought of by many as a national treasure. He authored countless books and audio and video programs, and helped motivate and shape an entire generation of personal-development trainers and hundreds of executives from America’s top corporations.

Jim Rohn shared his message with more than 6,000 audiences and over 5 million people all over the world. He received numerous industry awards including the coveted National Speakers Association CPAE Award and the Master of Influence Award. Jim’s philosophies and influence continue to have worldwide impact.

Jim focused on the fundamentals of human behavior that most affect personal and business performance. His is the standard to which those who seek to teach and inspire others are compared. He possessed the unique ability to bring extraordinary insights to ordinary principles and events, and the combination of his substance and style still captures the imagination of those who hear or read his words.

BERYL J WOLK - Board Member - Mentor:
Passed away age of 85. Staying loyal to his Philadelphia roots, he helped bring a new age of marketing and national prominence to the Delaware Valley area.

He was engaged in multiple business enterprises throughout his career including Goodway Printing, Goodway Marketing, The Cable Guide, The Video Shopping Mall, Robins Lecocq, Inc. and the International Monetary Fund.

He was a former president of the Technical Writers and Editors Association.

He was the man behind many next-generation ideas such as the first newspaper insert ever published, the Cable Guide custom programming directory, free-standing carts in malls (Cartcade), the Video Shopping Mall including some of the first infomercials ever produced.

The Fax Directory and the list goes on. During his final years he was committed to “Better World” which enabled inner city and global entrepreneurs to pursue their business dreams. He also has 100’s of active joint ventures with other global entrepreneurs.

JOHN GAUDIOSO - Assistant Director:
Having worked alongside legend Director, John Ford in numerous motion pictures Assisting, Director-Writer- Producer, George Stevens, and (the late) famed cinematographer, Wm. Mellor in, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Mr. Gaudioso is indeed a Hollywood legend himself. More recent is his work on, Johnny Cool; Kolchak: The Night Stalker; The California Kid; and, Newman's Law.

Actor; Unit Production Manager; Writer; Producer:
Multi-Award Winner

Unit Production Manager - Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer. Also, Purple Rain; The Hindenberg; Airport '79/Concerd; and, Sword of Heaven.

Mr. Lomond brings a vast experience of successes from all sides of the entertainment industry during his long, propitious life - from acting in such classics as, De Crissac in the 1956 version of, The Count of Monte Cristo; Death Valley Days; The Zane Grey Theater; Perry Mason; The Virginian; I Spy; to Captain Monastario in Disney's, The Sign of Zorro.

ED FOSTER - Publishing:
As a writer, producer, planner and manager, Mr. Foster has more than forty years experience in publishing, advertising, marketing, television and motion pictures.

His personal list of commercial clients has included Sears, Ford Motor Company, The Reader's Digest, Ralston Purina Cereals, Kenner Toys, and Heilmann Breweries.

Known for his innovative programming ideas and ability to "doctor" scripts and entertainment packages, Ed worked for Paramount Pictures and TV on major motion pictures and successful television projects like, Gunsmoke, Seven Keys, The Dakotas, Stump the Stars and many other special projects.

MARTIN N. LEEDS – Mentor – Attorney – Desilu Executive:
Martin N. Leeds was one of Joseph J. Randazzo first entertainment attorney and mentor who inspired Joseph by way of serving as executive vice president of Desilu Productions, a company founded by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. As an attorney and second in charge at Desilu Productions Inc., Leeds negotiated contracts for Desilu that made it one of the world's largest television production companies.

Martin N. Leeds, entertainment attorney and executive who was instrumental in building Desilu Studios into the largest independent Hollywood television production operation of the 1950s and '60s, has died. He was 82.

Leeds died Thursday at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, where he had been hospitalized for three weeks after a heart attack.

Born April 6, 1916, in New York City, Leeds graduated from New York University School of Law. He came to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s and joined CBS in 1946 as business manager of the network programs department, where he became the first CBS representative to negotiate radio talent contracts from the West Coast.

When elevated to director of business affairs, Leeds got involved with the budgets for the nascent TV network's West Coast-based programs. He helped negotiate the start-up of "I Love Lucy" and the then-innovative deal through which stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's Desilu Productions would retain ownership of the filmed program.

In 1953, with "I Love Lucy" established as TV's top-rated program and a second CBS series, "Our Miss Brooks," also in production at Desilu, Arnaz hired Leeds away from CBS to serve as the growing production company's second-in-command, executive vice president in charge of running the studio on a day-to-day basis."That [SOB] had given me so much trouble arguing about the CBS money we were spending on 'I Love Lucy,' I figured it would be better to have him fighting on my side," Arnaz later said.

In addition to negotiations, Leeds' role at Desilu included the acquisition of properties on which to base series pilots, and the sale of pilots to advertisers and networks.

His professionalism, tight business relationships and savvy at negotiation and sales proved formidable in combination with Arnaz's innate showmanship and knack for nurturing talent. The company flourished in the mid- to late '50s with such additional programs as "December Bride," "Whirlybirds," "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse" and "The Untouchables."

As Desilu acquired property, including the RKO Studios lots in Hollywood and Culver City in 1957 (in a deal in which Leeds represented Desilu), it also became the largest provider of production facilities and services to the TV industry.

At its peak, Desilu owned 36 sound stages and 500 offices on three lots totaling 63 acres, and employed 800 permanent employees and an additional 2,500 craft workers.