Ah, leave it to Turkish heartthrob Onur Tuna to inspire us (me) to honor him as our 2019 “Most Fascinating Man” as well as to do an entire edition on men who fascinate us.
Onur is the tall, dark-haired, hazel-eyed star of “Filinta,” a Turkish TV series shown on Netflix that follows police officer Filinta Mustafa as he battles crime in 19th-century Istanbul — valiantly overcoming challenges, fighting for his country and upholding what was right and just.
It was my absolute infatuation with Onur — and the stars of “Resurrection: Ertugrul,” another Turkish series I’m thoroughly engrossed in — that sparked the idea to name him our “Most Fascinating Man.” That turned into the launch of this, our first “Fascinating Men” issue, which will become a tradition along with an annual issue devoted to “Fascinating Women.” (“Resurrection: Ertugrul” reveals the compassion and devotion that the Nomadic tribes of the 13th century showed one another. They worked and fought hard for peace, family and land. They were besieged by the Mongols and Crusaders, among others, but remained resolute in pursuing justice.)
But back to Onur. Tuna’s Filinta brilliantly encapsulated many of the criteria for our “Most Fascinating Man” — courage, which Aristotle said was the first of all virtues; intelligence; generosity; confidence; dignity; grace; humor; humility; sensitivity; strength; accomplishment; likability; social consciousness; and creativity. Oh, and good looks doesn’t hurt.
Lest we forget the female of these species, use these criteria to send us your suggestions for the most fascinating women, who’ll be featured in our July issue.
And it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2020 fascinating men and the “Most Fascinating Man” of them all.
Tom Bergeron (Greenwich) – What has made him the perfect, Emmy Award-winning host of such TV shows as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and, now, “Dancing With the Stars”? Maybe it’s that he’s just like us, or the us we’d like to be – dryly amusing in the face of pratfalls and faux pas de deux.
Salvatore Campofranco (Westport) – With 30 years in commercial real estate, he stayed the course during the recession of the early 1990s and the dot.com bust of 2000. Now the founding managing partner of Westport-based Luzern Associates, Campofranco oversees a company that has through affiliated entities invested in millions in real estate assets and raised millions more of equity.
Louis Cappelli (White Plains) – He is Mr. Downtown, having developed more than 10 million square feet of mixed-use space in White Plains, including City Center and Renaissance Square, anchored by The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, through his Cappelli Organization, which has a portfolio exceeding $3 billion.
Bill Clinton (Chappaqua) – The 42nd president of the United States. Arkansas governor. Rhodes scholar. Husband of Hillary. Father of Chelsea. Charismatic speaker who draws you in and can outtalk and outthink you. ’Nuff said.
Harry Connick Jr. (New Canaan) – New Orleans meets New York in one of the best-selling jazz vocalists of all time and a quadruple threat as an actor, composer and TV host as well. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005), he teamed with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and Habitat for Humanity to found Musicians’ Village to provide affordable homes in the Big Easy.
John J. Connolly (Waccabuc) – When you need the 411 on physicians, you may very well turn to this Waccabuc resident. The former president of New York Medical College and co-founder of the American Lyme Disease Foundation, Connelly is also the co-founder, with John K. Castle, of Castle Connolly, which is designed to help consumers find the best doctors for their needs.
Ray Dalio (Greenwich) –Founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds and himself one of Bloomberg’s wealthiest 100, this Greenwich resident and wife Barbara have pledged to give away half of their fortune in their lifetimes as part of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge.
Anthony Davidson (Queens) – A lifelong soccer player and former dean of the School of Graduate & Professional Studies at Manhattanville College, this Queens resident and former WAG subject (October 2013) is dean of Fordham University’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, making strides in the school’s online learning programs.
Jaime Dimon (Manhattan and Bedford) – He is the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest of the big four banks, and a perennial on Time’s list of most influential people. He’s also one of the few bankers to become a billionaire.
Michael Douglas (Bedford) – The son of legendary actor-producer Kirk, Douglas himself grew up to be a legendary actor (“The China Syndrome,” “Fatal Attraction”) and producer (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”). He’s also a prominent peace activist.
Andrew Economos (Formerly of Yonkers) – Is there anything this entrepreneur, wood carver and favorite WAG subject cannot do? Today, he is striving to eradicate the noxious red algae that plague Florida’s Gulf Coast – including his native Sarasota, to which he has returned – with his new Red Tide Institute.
Ari Fleischer (Pound Ridge) – When you’re making a comeback, who ya gonna call? Maybe this Pound Ridge native, who served as President George W. Bush’s press secretary. The head of Ari Fleischer Communications, he is media consultant to the NFL and a contributor to Fox News on which he often champions President Donald J. Trump.
Richard Gere (Pound Ridge) – The It Guy of 1980s Hollywood, this self-possessed movie star – who began singing and dancing in musicals, talents he used to great effect in the ingenious, electric, Oscar-winning “Chicago” – has spent much of his life championing Buddhism, Tibet and AIDS research. For a time, the multifaceted actor added innkeeper to his résumé as co-owner of The Bedford Post.
Tony Goldwyn (New Canaan) – The scion of Hollywood’s Goldwyn family, this nice-guy everyman (WAG December 2018) is known for his star turn as a brilliant but damaged U.S. president on the ABC hit “Scandal” and for his work as ambassador for Americares and Stand Up to Cancer.
Timothy L. Hall (Dobbs Ferry) – Since he became the 12th president of Mercy College, the school has been recognized by the White House as a ‘Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.” But Hall, who has been both a trial lawyer and law professor, is also a scholar with several books on religion and the law on his résumé. Despite all this, he makes time to meet with students each week.
Chris Halliburton (Rye Brook) – Looking to “take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, too,” as the song says? Halliburton has a ton of experience, from launching a sales office in Harlem in 2004 to selling the land upon which 200 West End Ave. was built. The broker as educator, he also prides himself on listening to what his clients want.
Edward C. Halperin, MD (Greenwich) – A true Renaissance Man, this chancellor of New York Medical College and radiation oncologist has a wide range of interests that embraces everything from pediatric cancers to Jewish history. But as we wrote in July 2016 WAG, he has done for the college what Jacqueline B. Kennedy did for the White House – restored hidden treasures to life as a way of feeding the students’ souls.
Leighton Jordan (Greenwich) – His is a most gracious presence summer Sundays at Greenwich Polo Club, which he has overseen along with club founder Peter M. Brant and players Mariano Aguerre and Nick Manifold. As we noted in August 2017 WAG, Jordan has been playing since his freshman days at Skidmore College. The pluck he showed on the field led him to contact Brant and the rest is polo history.
Robert Klein (Pelham) – The comedian’s comedian – one who has inspired the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart – Klein was the subject of a 2017 documentary by film critic and historian Marshall Fine (as well as a March 2017 WAG profile).
Ralph Lauren (Bedford) – The Bronx-born Ralph Lifshitz reinvented himself and then reinvented America with a clothing and cologne empire that celebrates the rugged elegance of masculinity on the go as exemplified by the cowboy and the polo player. An avid auto collector, Lauren is also well-known for his support of breast cancer research and the preservation of Americana.
Stew Leonard Jr. (Westport) – This second-generation member of the grocery store chain owners has expanded the family business through his marketing savvy and ebullient personality while taking time to teach underserved youngsters to swim through the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities.
Henrik Lundqvist (Manhattan) – This star goalie for the New York Rangers is known to fans as “The King,” in part for his style on and off the ice. The Swedish-born Olympic gold medalist (December 2012 WAG) devotes much of his free time to philanthropy and teaching hockey to New York-area youth.
Sean Patrick Maloney (Cold Spring) – The Canadian-born congressman (February 2015 WAG) represents New York’s 18th congressional district. Friendly, accessible and devoted to public service, the Cold Spring resident is the first openly gay person elected to Congress from this state.
Jack Mitchell (Westport) – Part of the second generation of luxe retail store owners, the dapper Mitchell (September 2012 WAG) is known for his devotion to customer service and employee well-being as illustrated in two books, “Hug Your Customers” and “Hug Your People.”
Brendan Naughton (Newtown) – General agent at Charter Oak Insurance and Financial Services Co., Naughton focuses on recruiting and developing talent and is co-founder of the Charter Oak Fund, which supports small grassroots organizations benefiting children.
Richard Ottinger (Mamaroneck) – An eight-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and dean emeritus of the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, Ottinger has been most passionate in recent years about the environment. At Pace, he founded an environmental law program.
Chazz Palminteri (Bedford) – One of WAG’s first covers (May 2011), Palminteri has enjoyed great success as an actor, writer and producer, particularly with his “A Bronx Tale,” which has made the journey from movie to Broadway musical.
Bradley Porche (White Plains) – Hearing impaired, Porche has devoted much of his career to improving education of others who are similarly challenged. He serves as superintendent of the New York School for the Deaf.
Will Reeve (Bedford) – The son of the late Christopher and Dana Reeve, this young man continues their legacy of surface and grace in adversity through their eponymous foundation for spinal cord injury recovery while building his own career in sports broadcasting.
Mariano Rivera (Harrison) – The closer on the New York Yankees during the team’s glorious run in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rivera (January 2016 WAG) is now pitching for the education of Hispanic youth with his eponymous foundation. A Pentacostalist, he also renovated the Refugio de Esperanza church in New Rochelle where wife Clara is pastor.
Anthony Scarpino (Bedford) – A former special agent for the FBI and a Westchester County-area judge, this Bedford resident now works to promote justice as the county’s district attorney.
Leonard Schleifer (Tarrytown) – A neurologist by training, Schleifer is the founding president and CEO of Regeneron in Tarrytown. Together with George D. Yancopoulos, MD, the chief science officer, he has turned the company into a pharmaceuticals giant.
Fred Schwam (Mount Vernon) – He was the second-generation owner of American Christmas – the company that lights up Rockefeller Center and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as many local venues, including our own – from 1988 to 2017, when he sold it and its Mount Vernon headquarters to MK Illumination. He is now its chief business development officer and CEO emeritus.
Robert Scinto (Fairfield) – Over several decades Bridgeport native Robert “Bob” Scinto (January 2016 WAG) has built a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate empire that spans millions of feet of office space in eastern Fairfield County. He’s also known for his philanthropy and love of the arts, which grace his buildings.
Joseph Simone (Purchase) – President of Simone Development Companies, he has known success in the automotive salvage and commercial real estate industries, working with daughters Patricia and Joanna and family patriarch Pat.
Hari Sreenivasan (New York City) – PBS’ go-to tech guy, Sreenivasan (October 2017 WAG) is anchor of “PBS NewsHour Weekend” and host of its “SciTech Now.” Recently, he joined Christiane Amanpour’s “Amanpour & Company” as a correspondent based out of Thirteen-WNET in Manhattan.
Martin St. Louis (Greenwich) – This former right-winger for the New York Rangers was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. A Greenwich resident, he runs hockey camps and clinics for local youths.
Paul Tudor Jones (Greenwich) – The founder of the Greenwich-based Tudor Group of hedge fund holding companies, Jones is also the creator of the Robin Hood Foundation, designed to address the problems caused by poverty in New York City.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Waccabuc) – The former WAG cover guy and Waccabuc resident is the Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur behind a dozen eponymous restaurants. These include The Inn at Pound Ridge, which hosts yearly literary luncheons, where the chef is always a gracious host.
Dinyar Wadia (New Canaan) – For more than 40 years, Wadia and his team at Wadia Associates have built luxury homes, gardens and interiors in Fairfield County in a style that is known as the New Classicism. As he says on his website, “It is traditional architecture for the modern world.”
Robert P. Weisz (New York City) – The president and CEO of RPW Group Inc., Weisz is a visionary developer who has transformed the Westchester County commercial landscape while also participating in many of its charities. His is the classic immigrant’s tale as well, as he came from Uruguay to start his career here in the furniture business some 40 years ago.
Stuart Weitzman (Greenwich) – The shoe designer and creator of the eponymous multimillion-dollar company now owned by Coach, Weitzman transformed the way women thought about footwear and themselves everywhere from the Oscar red carpet to the pavements of New York. An avid tennis player and stamp collector, he’s also designed shoes for such charitable endeavors as Pencils of Promise.
Bruce Willis (Bedford) – One of the biggest action stars since the 1980s, Willis has led a quiet life in Westchester County, patronizing local museums and continuing his support for America’s servicemen and women at home and abroad.