Passing of General Cinema Manager Israel (Izzy) Strier

posted by dennehypr on May 19, 2006 at 6:33 am

A wonderful human being and dedicated theater manager for General Cinemas in Massachusetts, I just got word that Izzy Strier passed away on Thursday, May 18th, 2006 and his graveside service is planned for Sunday in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Hundreds of employees will remember his quick laugh, sharp wit, accented humor and ability to relate to anyone… CEO to cleaning staff. He managed the busy General Cinema in Shopper’s World, Framingham and was a legend there. Customers will remember the short, fiery, “can do” manager who somehow juggled a busy six theater complex and 100 young employees (like me, once!) with ease and humor. A legend in his own time, and he will be missed.

I’d clean the stickiest theater floor for you Izzy, any day.

— Julie “would you like butter with that” (Ferer) Dennehy
GCC Framingham 1982-1990

Comments (7)

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on May 20, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Izzy was a legend, admired by everyone, including every theatre manager who worked for GCC. Over the years, whenever a manager came to Boston for a meeting, and whenever managers traveled to other cities, everyone wanted to meet “Izzy”. He began his career working for Ben Sack at several Boston theatres, including the Music Hall during their busiest years, with films like Goldfinger selling thousands of tickets a day. He helped open the Cheri, then was lured over to GCC by Mel Wintman and Richard Smith to help them open their newest theatre, the Northshore Peabody Cinema in 1963. In 1966, General Cinema wanted their best to open the Cinema being planned for the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. Izzy went, and became a legend. When he left Braintree in 1976, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declared the day “Izzy Strier Day” and a grand dinner was held in his honor at the Jordan Marsh Restaurant in the South Shore Plaza. Many will remember his promotions, and relationships with Town Clerk Bob Brunell, as well as many merchants and government officials. When General Cinema wanted their best manager to open the new Home Office Theatre at Chestnut Hill in 1975, they picked Izzy. He managed that one until 1986, when they wanted him to handle one of their top ten theatres in Framingham. From being their top salesman in VIP tickets, to number one Concessions Manager, to Manager of the Year, Izzy was the manager that everyone wanted to be like. But nobody ever came close.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of kids grew up working for Izzy at those theatres, and will never forget what was usually their first job. Izzy would say “please do me a BIG favor” and everyone wanted to help him do whatever it took. And he made everyone who worked for him, proud of their theatre.

cinema15 on May 23, 2006 at 1:50 am

Ah Izzy Strier…a legend in his time! I was employed by GCC for 12 years (1985-1997)as a General Manger at various theatres in NJ. Not sure if I had the chance to meet him at some the the manager meetings but his “legend” did make it to NJ locations. Rest in Peace Mr. Strier in the big booth in the sky!

BillGlazer on May 24, 2006 at 3:07 pm

A very sad day in the history of a company that self destructed itself. Years ago when I was working in Framingham, I called at the end of an evening when the picture AIRPORT had opened to compare grosses. It was about 10:15 pm and the cashier in Braintree informed me that Mr. Strier was dealing with the intermission. Intermission, I questioned??? Yes, Mr. Strier had spliced in an intermission in AIRPORT to increase the concesion gross!!! That was Izzy!!

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on May 24, 2006 at 6:03 pm

Izzy was one of the most competitive managers around, and comparing grosses was one of his favorite things. It’s also a part of what made the business fun for everyone in the Boston Division. I think I remember that night. When you told Joe DiCarlo about Izzy’s strategy, I’m sure he nearly had a stroke because he knew that even though Framingham’s boxoffice gross was higher, Braintree’s concession per person would beat him. And the concession commission was where they really made the money.

garydwyer on June 26, 2006 at 4:38 pm

The two best lines that I remember from Izzy were “go get me a cup of poison” from Dunkin Donuts and the unforgettable “how can I make you happy?” when a patron wasn’t happy about something. I can’t imagine anyone being more dedicated to the job than he.

bwintman on August 1, 2006 at 4:01 pm

I was saddened to hear Izzy Strier passed away. Izzy was a kind person and one of the best managers GCC ever had. My father, Mel Wintman, felt the same way. When a regional manager would complain about the huge volume of Mr. Strier’s VIP ticket sales, my father would tell them that they could take the same initiative and sell VIP tickets if they wished.

I had the privilege of working for Mr. Strier while he was manager of the Chestnut Hill Cinema. I will always remember him fondly. He was extremely good at dealing with customers as well as employees. I can still remember his favorite phrases, his mannerisms and his sense of humor. One could hear the glee in his voice as he announced over the loudspeaker on Saturday night, “Eh…All shows are sooold out!” He will be missed by all those who knew him.

Bruce Wintman
Chestnut Hill Cinema, 1980-1984

FungYee on August 1, 2006 at 4:31 pm

I remember sitting in his office for endless hours stamping the expiration dates on each ticket of the 50 page VIP booklets. He would take them out of the safe like they were the Hope diamond. He would make you count every tube of drink cups BEFORE you opened them in case there were less than 50 so as to not shortchange his concession inventory.
When he summoned me he would say, “Eh, Y2…” (his nickname for me). General Cinema was my first real job and Izzy set a great example of what hard work was and we often joked that the theatre was his wife (and life).
I was sorry to hear the news (thanks, Kevin for letting me know). RIP, Mr. Strier. You will be missed.

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