George Maksian

Obituary: George Maksian, Longtime Entertainment Reporter

121
0

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — George Maksian, 94, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on May 23, 2024.

He was the uncle to Robert (Donna) Maksian, Carol Maksian, David Gadarian (Natalie Hutton), Daniel Gadarian, Kap (Christine) Maksian, and Linda (Allan) Tossoonian. And many grand and great-grand nephews and nieces.

He was the son of the late Krikor and Esgoohe Maksian. He was predeceased by his siblings Anna Maksian, Robert Maksian and Aza Gadarian, and nephew Richard Maksian.

George Maksian’s father and mother, Krikor and Esgoohe, were married in Armenia and his father immigrated to the United States in 1909 as a teenager leaving his wife and family behind temporarily. Krikor enlisted in the US Army, thereby gaining citizenship. In 1915, during the Armenian Genocide and World War I interruption, his parents were separated as his mother fled Armenia to escape the genocide. Through the assistance from the American Red Cross, his father was able to track his mother and brought her to New York in 1921.

Krikor and Esgoohe settled in New York City. The family consisted of four children, all born and raised in New York in the neighborhood then known as Hell’s Kitchen. George was born in 1929. He grew up and helped in his parents’ grocery store business and sang in the choir at St Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral.

After graduating from Manhattan’s High School of Commerce, George obtained a job at the New York Daily News, the largest circulated newspaper in the country, as a copy boy when he was 17 years old.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

George continued his education, studying at City College and New York University. George moved to Englewood Cliffs in 1967.

He worked his way up to becoming a TV and radio columnist, covering the stars of film and television, and his colorful columns would be nationally syndicated. He was regularly featured on a radio program at WOR. He interviewed celebrities including Ed Sullivan, Mark Simone, Howard Stern, Johnny Carson, Danny Aiello, Barbara Walters, David Letterman, Bette Midler, etc. George also got to know many famous Armenians, including William Saroyan, Charles Aznavour, Anita Darian, Lucine Amara, Loren Toolajian, Mike Connors, etc.

He often supported the Armenian community, notably the AGBU, the Antranig Ensemble Dance Group and various Armenian newspapers. In 1974, George participated in the news announcement about the Armenian State Dance Ensemble from the Soviet Union for its first tour of the United States at Carnegie Hall. Its outstanding performance was reported in the New York Times.

George was known as a tireless supporter of many important Armenian causes. He had an ability to proudly promote Armenian American artists using his vast network throughout the arts, culture, and entertainment world.

He had a great affinity for travel and photography, and would always return with fascinating stories, gifts, and photos from his journeys around the world.

George retired in 1992 after 44 years with the New York Daily News. His passion for the entertainment world continued long after his retirement.

Topics: Obituary

He volunteered and did sold-out shows for two years for the Eastern Diocese. In 1993, he staged a performance called “Live at the Diocese” in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Saint Vartan Cathedral.

George loved to write letters to all his family and friends, keeping in touch with them and sharing interesting stories and pictures.

The funeral was held at Saint Thomas Armenian Church of Tenafly on Thursday, June 6. Interment followed at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. For condolences, visit www.frankpatti.com. In Lieu of flowers donations may be made to either St. Thomas Armenian Church of Tenafly or The Eastern Diocese Armenian Cathedral Restoration

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: