Gary Goldberg’s biggest score
The Archer School is getting a gym. Thanks to a Brooklyn connection.
The Archer School for Girls is an innovative learning environment that develops girls into purpose-driven leaders of the future. What makes Archer extraordinary is not only the diversity of the student body – 41% students of color, 157 feeder schools, 76 zip codes – or the percentage of graduates who go on to college: 100%.
Many students move on to elite “Ivies” or highly competitive public colleges like UC Berkeley and UCLA. The Archer School has an impressive roster of accomplished alumnae – the oldest of whom is only 39 – who are NASA engineers, physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, singers.
All of this culminates into its excellence, plus the fact that they are engaged in doing good work, supportive of one another. In other words, team players.
One problem, though, the teams at Archer never had a gym.
The girls have had success in team sports. Volleyball, basketball, soccer and track and field. Five-hundred girls attend the Los Angeles-based Archer School, no gym.
The girls must be bussed to practice and some even change in the hallways. A gym is not a luxury but a basic component of other schools.
So, the process is underway to construct a gymnasium for The Archer School.
Gary David Goldberg, a stellar basketball performer at Lafayette High School, and father of Cailin and Shana – both Archer alumni – and partner of co-founder, Diana Meehan, started the ball rolling by giving a sizable donation because he believed sports were as important to girls as it was for boys.
Goldberg grew up in Bensonhurst, and captained Gil Fershtman’s first Lafayette basketball squad in 1962.
“He was not only a great player, but a tremendous leader,” the coach told the Eagle from his Florida home. “I’m not at all surprised by Gary’s successful career.”
After graduating from Lafayette, Goldberg studied at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass and San Diego State University, ultimately deciding to become a writer.
In 1969, he met the woman who would become his partner and wife, Diana Meehan.
In the 1970s, they ran a daycare center in Berkeley, Calif., but show business was to follow.
In 1976 he was a writer for CBS’ The Bob Newhart Show; this was followed by The Dumplings, The Tony Randall Show and later CBS’ Lou Grant, for which he was also producer.
In 1982, he formed his own company, Ubu Productions, named after his Labrador retriever Ubu Roi who died in 1984. He created Family Ties in 1982, which ran for seven seasons and was a tremendous ratings success.
In fact, it helped launch the career of Michael J. Fox.
He later produced “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Spin City.” In 1989, he produced and directed the feature film with a marquee cast starring Jack Lemmon, Ted Danson and Olympia Dukakis. This film was followed by “Bye Bye Love” which he produced, but did nor direct starring Matthew Modine, Paul Reiser and Randy Quaid; and “Must Love Dogs,” starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.
Goldberg received two Emmy awards – 1979 for Lou Grant, 1987 for Family Ties – and four Writers Guild of America Awards (1979, 1988, 1998, 2010) for his work. He also received the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of excellence and innovation in creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television in 1994 and the Austin Film Festival’s Outstanding Televisión Writers Award in 2001.
And now, perhaps the biggest award for Goldberg – the soon-to-be Gary David Goldberg Gymnasium.
In 2013, the Archer School Board of Trustees decided the gym should be named after Gary.
“Archer started a campaign to raise money, found an architect, applied for permits,” Gary’s long-time friend, and another former Lafayette High basketballer, Ben Cardinale, told the Eagle. “And we have progressed. We now have a city approved set of architectural plans, a campaign goal of 37 million dollars, of which we’ve already received donations of seven million.”
Cardinale says we need to reach our goal, hire a reputable general contractor and everything will be in place. “We should be ‘shovel ready’ for a start in early 2024.”
Gary Goldberg, a Hollywood superstar, never forgot his Brooklyn buddies, according to Fershtman.
“Every Columbus Day Weekend we would be invited to Gary and Diana’s Vermont home for the weekend,” Goldberg’s high school coach recalled. “Gary had the Hollywood guys as well as the Brooklyn boys as guests.”
And wouldn’t you know it. The common bond: basketball.
“We’d play Hollywood vs. Brooklyn all weekend long,” Fershtman said. “They never beat us.”
How could they?
That Brooklyn team led by Goldberg had rebounding machine Mike Pollack and star Freddie Grasso. In fact, that was the nucleus for Fershtman’s 1962 rookie season as coach. A season which saw him lead those Frenchies to a 14-4 record and a PSAL city semi-finals 52-51 loss to Wingate High School in Madison Square Garden.
For those who need a refresher course: the score was tied at 51 with :01 left on the score clock. A foul at half-court was called on Grasso and Wingate won it by a point.
“Gary was a great player, tough as nails, a tremendous shooter, when there wasn’t a three-point shot,” Fershtman said. “But more than that, he never forgot his roots and was just a good person.”
Case in point. In 1999, Fershtman was inducted into the Lafayette High School Hall of Fame.
“I was permitted one speaker,” he said. “Gary came back from Los Angeles for me. I’ll never forget it.”
Larry King – another Lafayette alum – served as emcee for the event. He asked Goldberg why he came back for his high school coach.
“I would have come from the moon to speak for Gil,” he said.
Gary David Goldberg is no longer with us, he died of a brain tumor in Montecito, California, June 22, 2013 at the age of 68.
The 10-year anniversary of his death is the target date for The Archer School and ground-breaking for the Gary Goldberg Gymnasium.
As a player, teammates depended upon Goldberg for his scoring. He’s scored the biggest basket for his life with the gals at The Archer School.
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Donations may be received online at: archer.org/GDGym, or make checks payable to the Archer School for Girls (memo: Gary David Goldberg Gym) and mail to: 11725 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR
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