Mark Fleischman, Studio 54’s Last Impresario, Dies at 82

Mark Fleischman, the man who hosted the crazy, drug-crazed protest of the famous Manhattan Studio 54 dance floor in the early 1980s, died Wednesday in Switzerland. He was 82 years old.

His wife, Mimi, said the cause was suicide.

Since 2016, Mr Fleishman has been limping due to an unexplained degenerative disease that has left him unable to walk or dress on his own and has impaired his ability to speak. He died at a clinic near Zurich run by Dignitas, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with terminal illnesses or serious physical conditions end their lives.

“At the age of 82, I decided, why keep it a secret? I am not afraid of anything. Not even death,” he said in an interview with The New York Post last month, in which he described his decision to go to Dignitas.

“I’m looking for a gentle way,” he said.

Mr. Fleischman, a hotelier and restaurateur, acquired Studio 54 from its founders, old college friends. Steve Rubella and Ian Schrager, who forged sex, drugs, and fame to turn an old TV studio on West 54th Street into a legendary disco. They opened it in 1977 and ran it until 1980, when they were convicted and jailed for tax evasion and Mr. Fleischman took over.

“The reality was that I was completely captivated by the idea of ​​controlling the most important nightclub in the world,” Fleischman wrote in his memoir, “Inside Studio 54” (2017), “and I proceeded in a way. quickly and recklessly to achieve that goal.”

“I became the owner of Studio 54 in 1980,” he wrote, “and from the first night we opened, in 1981, I was drawn into a world of celebrities, drugs, and celebrities. , power and sex. Studio 54 was part of a journey I was about to take and one that almost killed me.”

Three years after the reopening of the disco, with the outbreak of AIDS and the rise of crack cocaine, the novelty has gradually thinned and Mr. Fleischman, who describes himself as the circus’ “banner” all night, exhausted. He took himself to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, for drug rehab and sold the club in 1984. (The new owners closed it down two years later.)

Mark Harvey Fleischman was born on February 1, 1940, in Manhattan and grew up in Great Neck, on Long Island. His father, Martin, a Romanian immigrant, is a driver and hotel manager. His mother, Sylvia (Zausner) Fleischman, is a homemaker.

Mark was 10 years old when his parents brought him here Copacabana nightclub in Manhattan. “It colored my world forever,” he wrote.

After graduating from Great Neck High School, he earned a degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management in 1962. He served two years in the Navy managing an officers’ club and with a loan From his father, he purchased the Forest Hills Inn, a historic early 20th-century hotel in Queens.

He also runs restaurants in Manhattan, A Quiet Little Table in the Corner and Robata, as well as ski resorts in Vermont.

Mr. Fleischman then opened Tatoua dinner club in Manhattan, whose success led him to establish branches in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, and Aspen, Colo.

Then he moved to California. He and Daniel Fitzgerald ran the Century Club (a disco with many restaurants) in Los Angeles starting in the 1990s; Later, with his wife, he opened several fitness clubs. The couple live in Marina Del Ray, Calif.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Fleischman is survived by a daughter, Hilary, from his first marriage; two stepchildren, Adam and Juliet; and a grandson. His first marriage, to Laurie Lister, ended in divorce.

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