Marian Seldes, Eli Wallach to Receive CCNY Alumni Finley Award

Alumni Association Presents Townsend Harris Medals to Seven Prominent GraduatesMarian Seldes 

Veteran actors Marian Seldes and Eli Wallach will receive the 63rd John H. Finley Award for exemplary service to the city from The Alumni Association of The City College of New York at its 130th Annual Dinner, Thursday, October 28 at the New York Hilton. The Finley award, named for CCNY’s third President, is presented annually to deserving New Yorkers.

Ms. Seldes is a Tony Award-winning actress elected to the American Theatre Hall of Fame. Her illustrious stage, film and television career has spanned six decades. 
Mr. Wallach, ’38 MSE, also a Tony Award winner, is an icon of the stage and screen whose credits include classics such as “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Misfits” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” His latest film, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” was released last month.Eli Wallach

Previous Finley honorees include: former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; civil rights leader Roy Wilkins; playwrights Neil Simon and Terrence McNally; realtor and philanthropist Jack Rudin; actor Tony Randall; actor/activist Harry Belafonte; opera diva Beverly Sills and playwright Arthur Miller. 

The Townsend Harris Medal, given in recognition of outstanding post-graduation achievements, will be presented by the Alumni Association to seven distinguished CCNY alumni, including Brock Peters, ’49, who is being honored posthumously:

Patricia Black, ’65 E, ’67 MSE, international educator; a former superintendent of Manhattan high schools and past president of the National Council of Administrative Women in Education and of the City College Alumni Association.

Margaret Chin, ’75, first Asian-American woman elected to the New York City Council. She represents District 1 in Lower Manhattan, including Chinatown, TriBeCa, parts of the Lower East Side and the South Village.

Mark Clements, ’44, one of the nation’s leading marketing researchers for over 60 years.

Dr. Edward A. Kravitz, ’54, world-renowned neuroscientist and endowed professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. 

Seymour Moskowitz, ’54 BME, co-founder of CoVant Management, Inc., a leader in power generation and aircraft engines.  

Brock Peters, ’49, award-winning actor of theater, television and film, who portrayed Tom Robinson in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and appeared in more than 120 other productions over his six-decade career.

Irwin Zahn, ’48 ME, founder and chief executive officer, Autosplice, Inc., an international electronic component design, product development, manufacturing and distribution company. 

Alumni Association President Jon Paul DeLise, ’71, will emcee the event. City College President Lisa Staiano-Coico and award-winning actor Richard Schiff ’83, will be the special guest speakers. The program also includes the presentation of 75 scholarships and cash awards to deserving CCNY students.  

Tickets for the dinner, which cost $175 per person, are available through the Alumni Association office at (212) 234-3000. The New York Hilton is located at 54th Street and Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan.  Brief profiles of 2010 John H. Finley Award recipients Marian Seldes and Eli Wallach follow:

Marian Seldes
Marian Seldes has been an elegant presence on the stage, film, radio and television for decades. She made her Broadway debut in 1947 in “Medea” and has over the years garnered honors and accolades from critics and peers alike.  Ms. Seldes won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance” (1967). She’s received five Tony nominations during her career and was presented with the 2010 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement to the Theatre. Among her other honors are the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance in “Father’s Day” (1971) and election in 1996 to the American Theatre Hall of Fame.  Ms. Seldes also claims a unique accomplishment that’s earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for most performances in a Broadway play. This is after she made 1,809 consecutive appearances in the production “Deathtrap.”  Her filmography, dating back to 1958, includes movies such as “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965), “Home Alone 3” (1997) and “Mona Lisa Smile” (2003). On television, she has been seen on “Perry Mason,” “Sex and the City” and “Murphy Brown.” She has been as consummate on radio, appearing in 179 episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater between 1974 and 1982.  A native New Yorker, Ms. Seldes has taught at the Juilliard School of Drama and at Fordham University, Lincoln Center.  

Eli Wallach, ’38 MSE
Hailed as one of Hollywood’s finest method actors, Mr. Wallach has worked alongside the motion picture industry’s biggest stars. His cast mates include: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood and Al Pacino.  Born in Brooklyn to Polish immigrant parents, he was nurtured among stars. Mr. Wallach performed drama with life-long friend Walter Cronkite at The University of Texas, and attended Parsons New School for Social Research with Marlon Brando.  An alumnus of the Actors Studio and the Neighborhood Playhouse, he made his Broadway debut in 1945 after serving in the Army’s Medical Administrative Corps during World War II. Also debuting in the same play, “Skydrift,” was Rita Moreno, then 13-years old.  Mr. Wallach continued to hone his acting skills in rarefied company. In 1947, he appeared in William Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” with Charlton Heston, Maureen Stapleton and Joseph Wiseman.  He won a Tony Award in 1951 for portraying Alvaro Mangiaco in Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” and made his screen debut in “Baby Doll” in 1956. What followed was a memorable film career. “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Misfits,” “How the West Was Won” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” are some of the classics that established Mr. Wallach as a master of method acting.   He remains in demand and his acting remains first class in his senior years as seen in the critically acclaimed “Mystic River” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” In 2005, Mr. Wallach released his much anticipated autobiography, “The Good, The Bad And Me: In My Anecdotage.”

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