Smokey Robinson Takes Friars Down Memory Lane

Freddie Roman, dean of the Friars Club, said that “Helen Thomas wanted very much to be here tonight but she’s getting a Woman of the Year Award from B’nai B’rith.”

That brought the house down at the Waldorf where he emceed the annual Friars Foundation Applause Awards on Tuesday. The $2 million raised from the event provides scholarships for the next generation of performers and musicians, among other Friars initiatives.

Freddie presented an Applause Award to David S. Steiner, a major developer of industrial and office parks in New Jersey and 13 other states. His first big project in the New York area was Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, where such movies as “The Producers,” “Across the Universe” and “Spider-Man 3” were filmed.

Lewis Black and Stewie Stone kept everyone amused with robust one-liners. “I’m 70 years old,” Stewie revealed. “Sex is not on my list; regularity is.”

“Stewie,” Freddie said, “you were never funnier — and isn’t that a shame!”

Then Freddie announced: “Will the lady who lost a seven-carat diamond ring please form a double line at my right.”

Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s music conductor on CBS, presented an Applause Award to Smokey Robinson, the legendary singer/writer/producer of Motown Records.

“The best group of my generation was the Temptations,” Shaffer announced. “And the best song was ‘My Girl,’ which Smokey composed.” That was the cue to bring out the Temptations, still spry after all these years, to hop down memory lane.

Needless to say, “My Girl,” the Temptations’ signature song of 1965, was a huge smash among the 800 guests in the grand ballroom.

Tim Boxer is editor of

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About the Author
Tim Boxer is a former New York Post columnist, and is longtime columnist for the New York Jewish Week. He is also editor of, is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.