February 18th, 2009

Dear Friends and Relatives,

On Valentine's Day morning, February 14th, 2009, my Father, Jim Green, passed away. He had been in failing health for awhile and, as many of you know, last year I moved him from N.Y. to Southern California to live with me. We had a great 10 months work-shopping our unique take on THE ODD COUPLE. For that reason he's leaving an even larger hole in my life now than he would have just a year ago.

For those who didn't know him, my Dad was a surgeon for over 60 years and also had a general practice in New Jersey from the 1950s until the 1980s. He and my Mother then moved to Los Angeles to follow me and my then-wife, Ellen, to California where my brother, Steven, was also living at the time. Twelve years ago after the almost concurrent deaths of my Mother, Benji, and my son, Gideon, my Father moved back to his hometown of NYC.

Along with being a stellar physician, my Father was a serious composer and musician. Not only did he love playing the Ragtime and Dixieland Jazz his professional musician Father, Sol, taught him, he excelled at improvising in the style of Monk, Art Tatum and especially Errol Garner.

But my Father's first love was Musical Theater and for over 20 years he studied with Lehman Engel at the BMI Workshop in Manhattan writing several full-length musicals. Two “kids” in his class whom he spoke about with enthusiasm turned out to be the magical partnership of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken who wrote the the best words and music ever for Disney. I knew there had to be something special about these guys as my Father was stingy with his praise. He held people to the same exacting standards that he held himself.

That's not to say that he was cold or distant – my Mother held the market on that – he was warm and friendly but somehow, at core, oddly unemotional and completely devoid of sentimentality which is, perhaps, what made him such a respected surgeon. It wasn't people who excited my Father, it was ideas. Big ideas. This was a kid who, while a student at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, took 19 math courses one summer just for the fun of it. Pushed by the US Army to get into WWII my Father attended both Columbia College of Columbia University and Columbia Medical School concurrently graduating in time to be a surgeon in the German theater. He truly was one of those men that gives the label “The Greatest Generation” the ring of truth.

He was also a wonderful raconteur and dinner companion. Even though I had to hear the same stories over and over during this last year they were always told with the same passion and timing. I will miss him forever.

There will be a grave-side service on Friday, February 20th, 2009 at Harbor Lawn – Mt. Olive Memorial Park at 1625 Gisler Ave., Costa Mesa, Ca. @ 11am. My Father is being interred next to his Father, Sol. Both of their wives are buried in N.Y.

Now there's a story in itself.