Thursday, December 2, 2010

Loyola Academy's Link to John Lennon

Earth shattering news today. New Trier High School of North suburban Kenilworth will not be admitting Rahm Emmanuel into its Hall of Fame.

Good for them.

They did, however, today, admit former North suburban Congressman and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, over the noisy objections of several noisy left-wing alumni.

Good for them.

But nearby Loyola Academy can boast a much more colorful alumni connection which extends all the way to John Lennon -- and his assassination.

Loyola Academy (1909-1994) was a Jesuit College Prep School for boys. First located on the grounds of Loyola University in Chicago, it moved to Wilmette in 1957 -- just down the road from the New Trier West campus.

(A school using that name still exists at the same locale today, but it has only a tenuous connection to the Jesuits and now admits non-Catholics, non-Christians and females -- basically anyone whose parents can manage to pony up its gold-plated tuition.)

Loyola Academy, during its 85 year history, managed to produce one minor and 2 major movie stars.

The bona fide Hollywood superstars were Bill Murray (Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation)and Robert Ryan (The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Longest Day), both Oscar nominees. It also produced flash-in-the-pan pretty boy, Chris O'Donnell.

According to the definitive 1988 biography of John Lennon, The Lives of John Lennon, by journalist, Albert Goldman, the Loyola Academy -- John Lennon connection is this:

In 1972, Robert Ryan's wife of more than 30 years, Jessica, died. He was so inconsolably bereaved, that he could no longer bear to live at their Manhattan co-op apartment. The apartment was #72 at the famed Dakota, located at the corner of 72nd St. and Central Park West.

John Lennon and the ridiculous, Yoko Ono, had recently moved to New York City and their lawyer arranged for them to rent the apartment from Ryan at the rate of $1,500 a month with an option to buy in three years.

A year later, the Loyola Academy alumnus, Ryan, himself died of lung cancer. His estate asked Lennon if he would want to accelerate his exercise of the option to buy and he did for a mere $105,000. (It is worth more than $2 million today.)

And that is the address that John Lennon claimed when he was assassinated by Mark David Chapman at the entrance to that very building on December 8, 1980.

So New Trier can boast Ann Margaret, Rock Hudson Donald Rumsfeld and Rahm Emmanuel.

But Loyola Academy produced Robert Ryan, the movie star who sold John Lennon his most famous, and very last, domicile.


  1. That's a pretty tenuous connection!

    I am glad to hear, however, that New Trier won't be adding Rahm to it's Hall of Fame. Do they have a Hall of Shame they can put him on?

  2. Your right. Tenuous at best. But you take what you can get. And I thought it kind of interesting. Ryan's wife, incidentally, was a Quaker and she converted him into an ardent pacifist. And the crazy Yoko Ono thought the apartment was haunted by the ghost of Mrs. Ryan, who died there. So Yoko brought in 2 Rastafarian Voodoo practicioners to exorcize the place.

  3. New Trier is in Winnetka.

    When Loyola moved to Wilmette in 1957, it wasn't down the road from New Trier West because NTW hadn't been built yet.

    You are correct that Robert Ryan went to Loyola. Well done.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.