By Aram Arkun
NEW YORK — As a columnist for the New York Daily News, which used to be the newspaper with the largest circulation in America, George Maksian, for decades, covered the stars of film and television, and the networks and corporations which showcased them. At one point he also was regularly featured on a radio program. Despite putting in long hours every day, and even on weekends, Maksian made it a point never to be too busy to help his fellow Armenians.
Like many Armenians starting with little, he patiently worked his way up to success. Maksian was born in Manhattan, in the neighborhood then known as Hell’s Kitchen. His parents suffered greatly as a result of the Armenian Genocide, but were eventually reunited.
Maksian recalled, “My mother and father both came from a little village called Isabeg, which was part of the Palu district in the Ottoman Empire. My mother was 12 when she married my father.”
His father, two years the elder, was then sent to the US in 1909 to earn money. He was about 16 then. Maksian continued, “My mother fled during the chart [Genocide] and ended up somewhere in Russia — she did not remember the name of the town. One day, she was told her name was listed on the American Red Cross bulletin board and that there was a man in the US looking for her, in 1921. My mother then was able to come to the US. My father had joined the US army so he already was an American citizen, and my mother became a citizen by being the wife of one.”
Maksian’s father ran various grocery stores. Maksian pointed out that although it was a tough life, growing up in the Depression, at least the family had food because of the store. He said, “I had one brother and two sisters and we all helped out in the store after school.”