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February 11, 2007

Hy Yablonka and Tom Burr

Hy Yablonka.jpg
Hy Yablonka

Tom Burr.jpg
Tom Burr

In April of 2006, I got an email from Chuck Phillips wondering if anyone knew the whereabouts of Hy Yablonka and Tom Burr, two of the founding employees of Chiat/Day. I duly posted the request on this website.

A few weeks ago, Hy's son, Mike, posted a comment on Chuck's all-points-bulletin. He said that his dad "didn't do email" but would enjoy hearing from some of the people he used to work with. So Chuck flew down to LA and now we have this breaking news. Hy and Tom have been found! Thank you so much, Chuck, for this news and the photos.

I remember Hy distinctly!

Chuck Phillips, who was, quite literally, the first employee of Chiat/Day and ultimately opened our Toronto office, has been one of THE best boosters of this site. Thank you so much, Chuck, for your support and contribution! Here's the email I just got from Chuck ...

Thanks to Hy's son Mike's recent response to my April APB on his Dad (and Tom Burr), I met Hy last week at his home in Manhattan Beach and found him as onery and quick-witted as ever. I asked him about fellow minority founder Tom Burr's whereabouts and he said he thought he had "an old phone number" but hadn't seen Tom in years. But Hy had orchestrated a surprise, because after 20 minutes of chatting in walks TOM BURR! The three of us spent the next 4-plus hours reminiscing about those earliest Olympic Boulevard days. We tossed names about I hadn't heard in years (Ken Sidley, Hal Pawluk, Steve Garey, Tom Groener, Mike Zucker, Marilee Cass, etc.) It was the first time in recent memory I had been the youngest guy in any room. Hy (who I remind you found and hired Lee Clow) retired about 12 years ago after eight years as Bozell's Executive Creative Director on Chysler in New York and Detroit. After closing his LA agency (Abert Newhoff & Burr) Tom spent the last 14 working for Hakuhodo in New York. He recently moved to Irvine and is still doing some limited consulting. Joining us by telephone from Seattle (also orchestrated by Hy) was another C/D pioneer, Roger Livingston. It was a blast. Here's a couple of snaps for your blog (which made this all possible). - chuck p.s. the guy on the other end of the phone in Burr's shot was Roger Livingston.

Leslie Engel on stage!

That's Leslie, second from the left in the second row.

From the multi-talented Leslie Engel (formerly Leslie Cicurel) who worked at HR at C/D NY:

Hope you are well. I'm currently at Digitas heading up Human Resources for the New York office. I've continued to be involved with the St. Bart's Players - the oldest community theater in Manhattan and serve on the Board of Directors. I'm currently an understudy for the lead role of Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo which opened last night and runs through the 18th of February. Chiat/Day alumni can catch me on stage Saturday evening February 10th and at the 2 PM matinee on Saturday February 17th.

Moon Over Buffalo was originally produced with Carol Burnett on Broadway; it's a rollicking farce about a once famous acting couple performing repertory in Buffalo New York. Hope to see some familiar faces in the audience. The link below will take you to a picture of me in the cast (you'll need to click on the Moon Over Buffalo link a few times to get to it) and ticket information.