CHS Hall of Fame to Induct ‘Die Hard’ Producer Joel Silver, ‘Vogue’ Editor-in-Chief Grace Mirabella, and More

On June 8, the Columbia High School Hall of Fame will induct four other notable graduates into its impressive ranks: Grace Mirabella, Class of 1946, former editor of vogue; and the three founders/inventors of Ultimate Frisbee: Joel Silver, Class of 1970, famed film producer with credits including The matrix, lethal weapon and the die hard series; Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring, ’70, transformer andeditor of The Colombian died in a car accident during his freshman year at Princeton University; and Jonathan Hines, 70, a graduate of Princeton University Law School and the University of Virginia, who practiced international law in Russia for 22 years before recently moving to Manhattan.

The induction ceremony is open to the school community and guests, not the general public.

Over the past few years, the CHS Hall of Fame has inducted superstars like Grammy Award-winning artist SZA (Solana Rowe), actor and director Zach Braff, world-renowned quilter and artist Bisa Butler, actor and singer Rotimi, Grammy Award-winning producer and musician Eric Hudson, YouTube powerhouse Marques Brownlee and Olympic bronze medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

In the mid-1980s, the CHS “Hall of Fame” committee was created as part of the student council, to recognize the vast achievements of its graduates. In 1985, the Hall of Fame inducted its first two alumni – senior U.S. circuit judge Amalya Kearse and actor Roy Scheider (“Jaws”). Other notable Hall of Famers include: Grammy Award winner Lauryn Hill, Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs, mathematician Erna Schneider Hoover, Daily Show head writer David Javerbaum, drummer of The E Street band Max Weinberg, actress Teresa Wright, actors Andrew and Elisabeth Shue, scholar Alfred Kinsey and PEN Literary Award-winning author Paul Auster, among many others.

2022 Columbia High School Hall of Fame Inductee Biographies

Grace Mirabella (’46)

Grace Mirabella was born in Newark, NJ on June 10, 1929 to Italian immigrant parents. When she was in college they moved to Maplewood where she attended Maplewood Junior High School and Columbia HS, graduating in 1946. While at Columbia HS she participated in many clubs such as the Committee of MIrror Publicity, the Class Secretary and Treasurer, and the Drama Club. . After Columbia HS, she attended Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY.

Grace Mirabella, as editor, transformed vogue magazine from 1971 to 1988. During his time there arehe grew the magazine from a circulation dwindling to around 400,000 copies in 1971 to over a million and a half in 1988. Ms. Mirabella then founded Mirabelle pluma magazine for women who are as interested in culture and travel as they are in clothing and home decor.

In November 1974, she married William G. Cahan, thoracic surgeon. Grace Mirabella became the first person to remove tobacco and nicotine ads from magazines. Notably, while at Vogue, she was the first person to put a black model on the cover of a magazine – supermodel Beverly Johnson.

Mrs. Mirabella died at the age of 92 on December 23, 2021. She is survived by her two stepsons, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

She also co-wrote a book by Judith Warner about her life in the fashion industry called “In and Out of Vogue”. Grace Mirabella was a trendsetter and trailblazer who helped bring style to the ever-changing world of fashion.

Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring, Jr. (’70)

Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring, Jr. (1952 -1971) was one of the co-creators of the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and was responsible for the “Spirit of the Game” concept, which prioritized the spirit sportsmanship and fair play in the emerging sport.

Along with his close friends, Jonny Hines and Joel Silver, Hellring created Ultimate in the Columbia High School parking lot and went on to codify the rules of the sport. Together they encouraged other students to play their new game. They refined and rewrote the rules, and published and distributed a pamphlet called “Ultimate Frisbee Rules”. From the start, they called themselves the “Columbia High School Varsity Frisbee Squad” despite the school’s lack of academic recognition. The rules they crafted over 50 years ago underpinned the transition from a simple game of wrestling to the highly athletic and competitive sport played around the world today.

Hellring was the son of Sally and Bernard Hellring and lived on Harding Drive in South Orange.

At CHS, Buzzy was editor of The Columbian for 2 years. He was dedicated to the newspaper and worked tirelessly to expand its coverage, length and frequency of publication. In the spring of his freshman year at Princeton, Hellring died in a car accident. He was posthumously elected to the Ultimate Hall of Fame. After his death, funds were raised to realize his dream of producing The Columbian entirely within the school, through the purchase of a compugraphic headliner for CHS.

Buzzy was first and foremost much loved by his family and wide circle of friends and colleagues as a super considerate, engaging, intelligent and accomplished human being – and he will always be remembered as such.

Jonathan H. “Jonny” Hines (’70)

Jonathan H. “Jonny” Hines was born in Newark in 1952 and lived on Mayhew Drive in South Orange since age 2 – then went to South Mountain School, South Orange Junior High and graduated from high school in 1970 While here he was sports editor of The Columbian, and was one of the three original developers of Ultimate Frisbee.

He went to Princeton University, where he majored in international affairs and Russian studies (including intensive study of the Russian language) – and in his spare time he organized the Ultimate team of Princeton and co-hosted the first Ultimate intercollegiate game between Princeton and Rutgers.

After that, Jon graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and then spent a year in a graduate law scholarship program at Moscow State University in Russia (where he met his wife, Olga Dyuzheva, who remains a law professor there). He then returned to New York – first as a federal judge’s clerk in Manhattan, then launched his career as an attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton, a leading international law firm based in New York during almost 20 years.

In 2000, Jon joined another firm in Moscow, where he practiced for the next 22 years – specializing in large-scale oil and gas joint ventures in Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union. He is also a long-time member of the Presidium of Russia’s main commercial arbitration court and of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

Jon recently moved to his Manhattan home, in connection with the Ukrainian-Russian crisis, while continuing his active legal practice.

In addition to his wife Olga, Jon has two sons, and two grandchildren with another on the way.

Joel Silver (’70)

Joel Silver was born in South Orange in 1952. He attended kindergarten through 8th grade in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, before attending Columbia High School, from where he graduated in 1970. While at CHS, he wrote for the Columbian and also started a film festival, which was a one-day event. Along with his close friends, “Buzzy” Hellring and Jonny Hines, Joel also established and developed the rules for Ultimate Frisbee – which was originally planned as a frisbee competition between the student council and the school newspaper. Ultimate Frisbee has become an international sport.

Joel then studied film production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Joel then began working at Lawrence Gordon Productions, where he first served as associate producer on the 1979 film, “The Warriors.” Joel would later become president of the film division. While working with Gordon Productions, Silver produced “48 Hours” (1982), “Streets of Fire” (1984), and “Brewster’s Millions” (1985).

In 1985 Joel formed Silver Pictures and produced a number of action films, including “Commando” (1985), the “Lethal Weapon” franchise (1987-1998), the “Die Hard” franchise (1988-2020 ), as well as the first two films in the “Predator” series (1987) and “The Matrix” franchise (1999).

Joel directed “Split Personality” (1992), an episode of the HBO horror anthology “Tales from the Crypt.” He currently runs two production companies, Silver Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment, co-owned by Robert Zemeckis.

In 2005, Joel was inducted into the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization that serves as the governing body for the sport of Ultimate Frisbee in the United States, along with co-founders, Bernard “Buzzy” Hellring, Jr. and Jonathan H. “Jonny” Hines.

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