The theme from "Cover Up" says, "I need a hero, give me a hero tonite..."
To many of the underclassmen at Tenafly High School like myself, Jack was a hero. A local hero that an underclassman
could look up to.
I met Jack when I joined the gymnastics club at the old junior high school when I was in sixth grade. Jack had
already developed his remarkable physical prowess to the point where he could master almost any gymnastic move that the coach,
Mr. Kirshbaum, asked him to try. To the others in the club, he was someone to emulate, a true hero.
Jack, however, was always modest and unselfish, ever looking for any sort of praise. And he liked to do all he
could to help others.
This became more evident to me as Jack and I became friends, first playing little league football together in junior
high school and then again in high school in many of the productions that we were in together.
It was in those productions that Jack's gift for acting blossomed. Jack could be given the smallest part and end
up stealing the show. Whether it was the part of a clown or a serious dance number with many difficult ballet executions,
Jack's feel for the part and his rapport with the audience would blend with his natural talent for a final product that always
I used to hang around backstage with Jack and Steve Saydah during rehearsals. Jack was the straight man of that
duo. I remember when Jack used to play the national anthem over the school PA system in the morning, and Steve would
try to get him to play "Hello Dolly" or some other song instead, but Jack's sensibilities always prevailed.
Jack's newfound fame in Hollywood could not change the thoughtful and modest person he was. He was never too busy
to answer a friend's letter. In a letter I received from Jack last Christmas when he was filming the "Bear Bryant" story
in Atlanta, he reminisced about the good times we had in school with all of our friends. He closed the letter saying,
"I had a great time at THS. I really miss it....."
Now we shall miss him.