September 11, 1931 – April 11, 2019
Alan H. Bomser – Obituary
Alan H. Bomser passed away early Thursday morning, April 11th. Alan was born in Brighton Beach, September 11th, 1931, to Sol and Heny Bomser. Sol was a musician at Tamiment’s and after touring the south, accompanied by Heny who home-schooled Alan on the road, worked his way to playing in Xavier Cugat’s orchestra, where Alan became the “band boy,” which meant going to “Cugy’s” suite, and bringing down his toupee and the sheet music for the evening. One of young Alan’s many baby sitters on the road was a young Hugh Casey, who went on to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was in those early years when he was around nine that his dad bought him his own trumpet. The same one he started playing again, seven years ago, after not playing for fifty years
After Sol finished Cugat’s tours, Alan finished high school in Long beach, and attended Columbia University. As an undergrad, he had his own radio show, a small band, and was class president. After his junior year, Columbia refused to renew his wrestling scholarship, so he graduated in three years under a special program and went on to Columbia Law School. After law school, he was drafted into the Korean War, and spent his time in the army as a correspondent stationed in London, riding all over Europe on his motorcycle writing stories of interest for the troops.
Alan began his legal life at Paul Weiss. Early on, he was asked to represent his childhood friends Albert and David Maysles, who were embarking on a career as documentary filmmakers. During high school, Alan and The Maysles Brothers (as they famously came to be known) had waited tables together at a Catskills resort. This friendship launched Alan’s 60-plus-years career as one of NYC’s top entertainment lawyers. Alan did pioneering work in the field of documentaries, including helping Albert and David secure the films rights to the Woodstock Concert (which Alan negotiated as the concert was ongoing). Alan worked with the Maysles on many seminal films, including “Gray Gardens” and, for The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter.” Working for the Maysles Brothers enabled Alan to strike out on his own. He was a name partner in a series of law firms, including Weiss Meibach & Bomser, Barovick Konecky & Bomser, Bomser & Oppenheim, Marshall Morris Vagoda & Bomser (where the clients in the 1960’s included The Beatles), and (most recently) as the senior partner at Winslett Studnicky McCormick & Bomser. Alan’s practice encompassed every aspect of entertainment law: film, theater, television, recorded music, music publishing, book publishing, and the arts. His client roster is a testament to his skills and to the high regard in which the industry held him. Alan represented – often at the peaks of their careers –Joe Papp (founder of the Public Theater), Carly Simon, her sister Lucy Simon (composer for the musicals “The Secret Garden” and “Doctor Zhivago”), Iggy Pop, Laura Nyro, and Andy Warhol (who offered to pay Alan with paintings, which, to his regret, Alan rejected). Other notable clients included the estate of Lorraine Hansberry, which involved Alan in every modern revival of her play “A Raisin In The Sun,” and book publishers such as Farrar Straus & Giroux. Alan’s legal colleagues over the decades universally treasured him for his wise counsel, but more for his playful irreverence and his willingness to assist complete strangers seeking to learn about the world of entertainment law. Few lawyers will be remembered more fondly for making the practice of law a joyful experience.
Alan was truly a Renaissance man who loved exploring the world, riding his 750 BMW everywhere, including the fjords of Norway. He always loved design and was an excellent furniture maker, having made numerous pieces of furniture in his Woodstock and lake houses, for the barn he designed. In the late sixties, he and his wife hired three architectural students from Yale, along with a local contractor to design and build their barn in Columbia City. The barn made the cover of House beautiful. In his later years, he took up the trumpet again and loved jamming with his lake and city friends, playing golf, driving his beloved Saab turbo convertible through the Hudson Valley and ending his day on his ‘martini rock’ watching the sun set on the lake. He was a devoted husband to his wife and best friend, Betsy, and loved his children, Michael and Jennifer, stepchildren Jordan, Adam, Perri, and Andrew; his ten granddaughters, his brother Richard, and his beloved dog Lucy. Alan’s motto was, “You live life to the fullest, and then you die.” And that’s exactly what he did.
- Funeral Service Sunday, April 14, 2019
- Committal Service Sunday, April 14, 2019
November 14, 2019
I shared so many great times with Alan. I miss you and I love you man.
July 8, 2019
I was privileged to work for Alan after my second year of law school. He was a charming, funny man who taught me so much. In all of the years after I graduated he was always available for advice, lunch, small talk, and for a long time a yearly "Happy Birthday" call. I valued my friendship with Alan, and I will never forget him. My deepest sympathy to all who mourn his passing.
Anne K Johnson
June 10, 2019
I met Allen when he so generously took my God son under his wing and helped him get what was rightfully his from his mother's a state. He had been cheated out of it by some unscrupulous people including a famous lawyer. Allen called that lawyer and told him if he didn't make things right Alan would have him disbarred and things were made right. Allen very generously helped my God son get what he deserved and did it with hard work and very little compensation for himself. He was indeed a wonderful generous human being and I was very lucky to have met him.
May 4, 2019
I met “Bomser” in Woodstock when he became an unbelievable supporter of a theater company there that I was lucky to be a part of . He was the voice of reason, the humor when there was drama off the stage and just so much fun!! We crossed paths again in Nee York with his long time friend and mine Justin Hoy. Great times with him and Betsy.
One of a kind. He will really be missed on this planet.
Blessings, Love and Joy Wilhelmina aka Willie
April 14, 2019
I am really sorry to be writing this. But I am grateful that I had lunch with Alan and Steve Sultan a few months ago. He was a great man in so many ways. And a great mentor to me and many other younger entertainment lawyers (I just turned 67!).
In 1976 I was in my third year of law school (then at NYU). It was summer and I was clerking for Beldock, Levine & Hoffman (Elliot Hoffman and Alan knew each other well). I was on Nantucket on my motorcycle (1969 Triumph 650) and I pulled up in front of The Camera Shop on Main Street.
At the same time, another rider pulled up on his BMW 750. We both rocked our bikes onto their kickstands and took off our helmets. And stuck out our hands and shook. That was the start of my 43 year relationship with Alan. He was living in Weston; I was from Westport. He was in his mid 40's and at the height of his very successful career in "the biz". He was who I wanted to be when I "grew up". Well, I never did grow up. Nor, for that matter, did Alan. Which is why we stayed in touch for the rest of his life.
I am blessed and honored to have known him. So I have an idea of how much you will miss him.
You are in my thoughts. So is Alan.
Warm Regards, Marc
April 11, 2019
I was so sorry to hear about Alan .
You are in my thoughts, Barbara