Mark Fleischman, who presided over the noisy, drug-obsessed denowment of Manhattan’s disco studio 54, studded with celebrities in the early 1980s, died Wednesday in Switzerland. He was 82 years old.
His wife, Mimi, said the cause was aiding suicide.
Since 2016, Freishmann has been suffering from an unidentified degenerative disease that eventually prevented him from walking and dressing, impairing his conversation. He died in a clinic near Zurich. Dignitas is a non-profit organization that supports the lives of people suffering from terminal illness and severe physical condition.
“At the age of 82, I decided why I kept it a secret. I’m not afraid of anything, even death,” he said in an interview. New York post Last month he explained his decision to go to Dignitas.
“I’m on a calm road,” he said.
Hotel owner and restaurant owner Freishmann purchased Studio 54 from its founder, former college classmates Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. They opened it in 1977, were convicted and imprisoned for tax evasion, and carried it out until 1980, when Freishman took over.
“In reality, I was completely fascinated by the idea of managing the world’s most important nightclubs,” Fleischman wrote in his memoir “Inside Studio 54” (2017).
“I became the owner of Studio 54 in 1980,” he writes. “And from the first night we opened, in 1981, I was swept into the world of celebrities, drugs, power, and sex. Studio 54 is part of the journey I should take, Almost killed me. “
Three years after resuming disco, the onset of AIDS and the influx of crack cocaine diminished the novelty and exhausted the circus self-proclaimed “mastermind” all night long. He checked himself in at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California for drug rehabilitation and sold the club in 1984 (the new owner closed it two years later).
Mark Harvey Freishman was born on February 1, 1940 in Manhattan and grew up on the Great Neck on Long Island. His father, a Romanian immigrant, Martin, was a fur shop and hotel owner. His mother, Sylvia (Sausner) Freishmann, was a housewife.
Mark was 10 years old when his parents took him to Copacabana Nightclub in Manhattan. “It colored my world forever,” he writes.
After graduating from Great Neck High School, he earned a degree in 1962 from Cornell University’s Graduate School of Hotel Management. He ran an executive club in the Navy for two years and purchased Forest Hills Inn with a loan from his father. A historic early 20th century hotel in Queens.
He also ran Manhattan’s restaurants A Quiet Little Table in the Corner and Robata, as well as a ski resort in Vermont.
Freishman later opened the Supperclub Tato in Manhattan, and his success led to the establishment of branches in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Aspen, and Colorado.
Then he moved to California. He and Daniel Fitzgerald have been running Century Club (a disco with multiple restaurants) in Los Angeles since the 1990s. Then, with his wife, he opened several fitness clubs. The couple lived in Marina del Rey, California.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Freishmann has survived by his daughter, Hillary, from his first marriage. Two stepchildren, Adam and Juliet. And grandchildren. His first marriage to Laurie Lister ended with a divorce.