G. David Schine

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G. David Schine
G.-David-Schine 1954.jpg
Schine at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954
Born Gerard David Schine
(1927-09-11)September 11, 1927
Gloversville, New York
Died June 19, 1996(1996-06-19) (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California
Cause of death
Airplane crash
Resting place
Westwood Village Cemetery
Nationality United States
Education Phillips Academy
Harvard University (1949)
Known for Army-McCarthy hearings
Religion Jewish
Spouse(s) Hillevi Rombin 1957–1996
Children F. Berndt Shine (1962–1996)
J. Mark Schine
Vidette Schine Perry
Kevin Schine (twin of F. Berndt)
Alex Schine
Lance Schine
Parents Junius Myer Schine
Hildegarde Feldman
Relatives Renee Schine Crown (sister)

Gerard David Schine, better known as G. David Schine or David Schine (September 11, 1927 – June 19, 1996), was the wealthy heir to a hotel chain fortune who became a central figure in the Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954 in his role as the chief consultant to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.[1][2][3]

Early years[edit]

Schine was born in Gloversville, New York to Jewish parents, hotel magnate Junius Myer Schine and Hildegarde Feldman.[4][5] He attended Phillips Academy and graduated from Harvard University in 1949.[6] He entered Harvard in the summer of 1945, took a leave of absence in the spring of 1946, and returned in the fall of 1947 after a year working as an assistant purser for the Army Transport Service. Though it was a civilian position, he wrote on his application for re-admittance that he was a "lieutenant in the Army," and other students resented him calling himself a veteran. Said one: "We were all veterans and his pretending to be one went over like a lead balloon."[7] At Harvard he conducted the university band and served as its drum major.[8] He lived, according to a later Harvard Crimson portrait, "in a style which went out here with the era of the Gold Coast,"[7] the years before World War I when wealthy Harvard students lived apart from their classmates in private accommodations.[9] College administrators denied his requests to use his dormitory room as an office and to allow a female secretary to visit outside of regular visiting hours.[7]

Anti-communism and Army-McCarthy hearings[edit]

In 1952 Schine published a six-page anti-communist pamphlet called Definition of Communism,[10] and had a copy placed in every room of his family's chain of hotels.[11] Although the pamphlet contained many errors,[2] it won Schine an introduction to Roy Cohn through newspaper columnist George Sokolsky, and the two became friends.[12] Cohn at that time was Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel, and he brought Schine onto McCarthy's staff as an unpaid "chief consultant". McCarthy era opponents of Communism sought to stamp out pro-Communist material. Schine and Cohn conducted a much-criticised tour of Europe in 1953, examining libraries of the United States Information Agency for books written by authors they deemed to be Communists or fellow travelers.[13][14] Die Welt of Hamburg called them Schnuffler or snoops.[15] Theodore Kaghan, Deputy Director of the Public Affairs Division in the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany and a target of the Committee, called them "junketeering gumshoes."[16]

In November 1953, Schine was drafted into the United States Army as a private.[17] Cohn immediately began a campaign to obtain special privileges for Schine. Cohn met with and made repeated telephone calls to military officials from the Secretary of the Army down to Schine's company commander. He asked that Schine be given a commission, which the Army refused due to Schine's lack of qualifications, and that Schine be given light duties, extra leave and not be assigned overseas. At one point, Cohn was reported to have threatened to "wreck the Army" if his demands were not met.[18] During the Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954, the Army charged Cohn and McCarthy with using improper pressure to influence the Army, while McCarthy and Cohn counter-charged that the Army was holding Schine "hostage" in an attempt to squelch McCarthy's investigations into Communists in the Army.

The hearings were broadcast live using the relatively new medium of television and were viewed by an estimated 20 million people. Just prior to the hearings, Schine and Cohn appeared on the cover of TIME on March 22, 1954, under the banner "McCarthy and His Men".[19]

Schine and Cohn were rumored to have a sexual relationship, although there has never been any proof of this. More recently, some historians have concluded that the two were merely friends, and that Schine was heterosexual.[20][21] During this period, Schine was linked romantically with some actresses, including Rhonda Fleming and Piper Laurie.[22] Cohn's homosexuality later became public and he died of AIDS in 1986.[23]

The Army-McCarthy hearings absolved McCarthy of any direct wrongdoing, blaming Cohn alone. The exposure of McCarthy and his methods before a television audience, however, is widely considered the beginning of the end of his career.[24] Roy Cohn resigned from McCarthy's staff shortly after the hearings.[25]

Later years[edit]

After the hearings, Schine left politics and refused to comment on the episode for the rest of his life. He remained active in the private sector as a businessman and an entrepreneur, working in the hotel, music, and film industries. He was for a time a member of the Young Presidents' Organization.[26] On October 22, 1957, he married Miss Universe of 1955, Hillevi Rombin of Sweden.[27][28] They had six children, including Frederick Berndt Schine (1962–1996), and were married for nearly 40 years until their deaths in 1996.[27] Also in 1957, Schine's father named him head of Schine Enterprises, though in 1963 Schine's father resumed his position as head of the company.[29] In 1977, Schine described himself as "retired."[1]

Schine made a cameo appearance as himself on a 1968 episode of Batman.[30] Schine was executive producer of the 1971 film The French Connection, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture.[1][6] In 1977 he produced That's Action!.[1] Shortly afterwards, Schine was involved with music by The DeFranco Family that achieved Billboard gold and platinum and Cash Box #1. Schine's company, Schine Music, also provided songs to Lou Rawls and Bobby Sherman, among others. A musician himself, Schine had music he composed published. He once conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra in place of Arthur Fiedler at a concert celebrating his Harvard University 25th reunion in a performance of Sibelius' Karelia Suite. Some of the musicians refused to play for him and one commented later: "That man ruined my father's life. No way I was going to play for him."[31] Schine's post-production video house in Hollywood, Studio Television Services, handled clients such as HBO, Disney, Orion, and MGM/UA. His publicly traded research and development company, High Resolution Sciences, endeavored for years to bring high definition to broadcast television.

Death[edit]

Schine was killed on June 19, 1996, at the age of 68, in a private airplane accident in Burbank, California along with his wife and his son, Berndt, who was piloting the plane.[6][17][27] They were buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Later references[edit]

A documentary film, Point of Order! (1964), was edited by Emile de Antonio from the kinescope recordings of the Army-McCarthy hearings.[32]

Following Schine's death, playwright Tony Kushner, who had previously authored the Pulitzer-prize winning Angels in America, wrote a one-act play, G. David Schine in Hell. The play takes place on the day Schine died and portrays Schine as he arrives in hell and is reunited with Roy Cohn, Richard Nixon, Whittaker Chambers, and J. Edgar Hoover.[33]

In the 1992 HBO original film, Citizen Cohn, Schine is portrayed by Jeffrey Nordling.[34]

In the 2012 comic novel Nick & Jake, by Tad Richards and Jonathan Richards, Schine is presented as a boyish innocent who accompanies Roy Cohn to Paris.[35]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "G. David Schine". New York Times. June 5, 1977. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b Richard Halworth Rovere (1959). Senator Joe McCarthy. University of California Press. p. 194. ISBN 0-520-20472-7. "[Schine] confused Stalin with Trotsky, Marx with Lenin, Alexander Kerensky with Prince Lvov, and fifteenth-century utopianism with twentieth-century Communism...." ; TIME called the pamphlet "remarkably succinct." TIME: National Affairs: The Self-Inflated Target," March 22, 1954, accessed March 7, 2011
  3. ^ Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. United States Congress. "G. David Schine, chief consultant" 
  4. ^ "J. Myer Schine, 78, Hotel Man, Dead". New York Times. May 10, 1971. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  5. ^ "J. M. Schine, Hotel Chain Founder, Dies". Los Angeles Times. May 9, 1971. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  6. ^ a b c Lawrence Van Gelder (June 21, 1996). "Crash Kills G. David Schine, 69 [sic], McCarthy-Era Figure". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  7. ^ a b c Harvard Crimson: "Schine at Harvard: Boy With the Baton," May 7, 1954, accessed March 7, 2011
  8. ^ Harvard Crimson: "Band Will Play for New York Alumni," November 6, 1945, accessed March 7, 2011; Harvard Crimson: "University Band Revamped," October 19, 1945, accessed March 7, 2011
  9. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard: 1636-1926 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936), 419-21; Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005), 44, 51
  10. ^ Schine, Gerald David (1952). Definition of Communism. 
  11. ^ Olson, James C. "Stuart Symington: A Life", via Google Books, 278
  12. ^ TIME: "The Man in the Middle," May 24, 1954, accessed March 7, 2011
  13. ^ Fred J. Cook (1971). The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy. Random House. pp. 411–413. ISBN 0-394-46270-X. 
  14. ^ "Roy Cohn". American Heritage Magazine. 1988. Retrieved 2008-03-12.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ TIME: "Schnuffles & Flourishes," April 20, 1953, accessed March 7, 2011
  16. ^ TIME: "Germany: Verboten Volumes," June 22, 1953, accessed March 6, 2011
  17. ^ a b "Plane Crash Kills McCarthy Aide". Los Angeles Times. June 20, 1996. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  18. ^ "The Self-Inflated Target". Time. March 22, 1954. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  19. ^ "Cohen and Schine. The Army Got Its Orders.". Time. March 22, 1954. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  20. ^ Neil Miller (1999). "Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present". Vintage Books. "Ironically, it was the inordinate concern on the part of McCarthy and his chief counsel, Roy M. Cohn, regarding the military [service] of McCarthy committee aid G. David Schine — a concern that may or may not have had a homosexual element to it — that was to precipitate the Army-McCarthy hearings that finally brought down the Washington senator." 
  21. ^ See for example:Tom Wolfe (April 3, 1988). "Dangerous Obsessions". New York Times. "But so far as Mr. Schine is concerned, there has never been the slightest evidence that he was anything but a good-looking kid who was having a helluva good time in a helluva good cause. In any event, the rumors were sizzling away ..."  ;Randolph Baxter (November 13, 2006). "An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture". glbtq, Inc. "Tall, rich, and suave, the Harvard-educated (and heterosexual) Schine contrasted starkly with the short, physically undistinguished, and caustic Cohn." . On the other hand, Tom Wicker refers to Schine as "Cohn's boyfriend:" Tom Wicker (1995). Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy. Harcourt. pp. 127, 138, 166. ISBN 0-15-101082-X. 
  22. ^ "Piper Laurie". Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen. 
  23. ^ Nicholas Von Hoffman (1988). Citizen Cohn: The Life and Times of Roy Cohn. Doubleday. pp. 127, 183–190. ISBN 0-245-54505-0. 
  24. ^ See, for example:David Oshinsky (2005). A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy. Oxford University Press. pp. 464–465. ISBN 0-19-515424-X. ; Thomas C. Reeves (1982). The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography. Madison Books. pp. 639 et seq. ISBN 1-56833-101-0. 
  25. ^ "Mr. Cohn Resigns". New York Times. July 21, 1954. Retrieved 2012-10-19. "The only valid explanation of Roy Cohn's resignation as chief counsel of the McCarthy committee is that he wished to beat the gun to avoid a certain dismissal. ..." 
  26. ^ Aline B. Saarinen (June 6, 1954). "Business and Art". New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2011. 
  27. ^ a b c Barnes, Bart (June 21, 1996). "G. David Schine Dies at 68. Key Figure in McCarthy Era.". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  28. ^ "G. David Schine Is Married". New York Times. October 23, 1957. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  29. ^ "A Towering Empire.". Time. July 30, 1965. Retrieved 2008-03-15. 
  30. ^ "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra". TV.com. March 7, 1968. 
  31. ^ Thomas Urquhart, For the Beauty of the Earth: Birding, Opera, and Other Journeys (Shoemaker & Hoard2004), 76n
  32. ^ Internet Movie Database: Point of Order (1964), accessed June 12, 2011
  33. ^ Fisher, James (2002). The Theater of Tony Kushner: Living Past Hope. Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 0-415-94271-3. . An excerpt is available: New York Times: Tony Kushner, "A Backstage Pass to Hell," December 29, 1996, accessed March 8, 2011. For the full text: Tony Kushner, Death & Taxes: Hydriotaphia & Other Plays (Theater Communications Group, 1998)
  34. ^ Internet Movie database: Citizen Cohn (1992) (TV), accessed June 12, 2011
  35. ^ Arcade Publishing

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