The Friars Club Commemorates the Passing of Its Dean, Larry King

A graduate of the Texas A&M University Mays Business School in College Station, Texas, Harvey Bell found professional success with a number of firms in New Jersey. A longtime resident of West Orange township, Harvey Bell is an active member of the Friars Club across the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Established in 1904 as a gathering place for entertainers, the Friars Club has become world-renowned as a comedic institution. Evolving far beyond a mere meeting place, it is perhaps most widely recognized today for its celebrity roasts. In addition to handling other responsibilities, the dean of the Friars Club helps to preside over these legendary roasts.

Until his death on January 23, 2021, the Friars Club’s sitting dean was the seasoned television and radio broadcaster Larry King. In a public statement about his passing, the executive committee, board of directors, and the entire membership of the Friars Club announced that they were “deeply saddened” by King’s passing and extremely grateful for their opportunity to “bask in his reflection.”

King became the sixth Friars Club dean when he replaced comedian Freddie Roman in 2014. He also served as abbot of the now-defunct Friars Club Beverly Hills chapter.

Friar’s Club Children’s Holiday Film Event

New Jersey resident Harvey Bell is a long-time affiliate of several tri-state area organizations. Harvey Bell maintains an ongoing membership with the Friar’s Club, a legendary private comedy club that boasts a star-studded membership list, including comedians Jimmy Fallon and Jerry Seinfield.

The club hosts several high-profile philanthropic events through its Sunshine Committee. The committee has been dedicated to improving the lives of the elderly, the hospital-bound, and the young for more than fifty years. The Sunshine Committee is currently overseen by talk radio host, Larry King.

During the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons, the Sunshine Committee organizes a film festival to bring joy to hundreds of disadvantaged children and families across New York City. The event takes place at the historic Village East Theatre, located in Manhattan. Families are invited to an exclusive screening of a newly-released movie. Following the film, every child receives a gift bag from Friar’s Club members dressed as Santa Claus.

Early History of the Friars Club Roasts

Harvey Bell, a longtime resident of New Jersey, is actively involved in several New York-based organizations. One of the more well-known groups to which Harvey Bell possesses a membership is the legendary New York Friars Club.

Started as an informal gathering for New York press agents, the Friars Club quickly gained popularity among celebrities, Broadway stars, and other industry insiders. In 1950, comedians Joe E. Lewis and Sam Levison were the first targets of the club’s legendary roasts, a private event where the guests of honor are mercilessly ridiculed by their closest friends.

While the club followed the motto, ‘We only roast the ones we love,’’ many of the jokes involved taboo topics and crude language. Due to the vulgar nature of the roasts, women were not allowed to attend until 1988, though actress Phyllis Diller managed to sneak into a 1983 roast dressed as a man.

Eventually, the private roasts involving famous names attracted the attention of the public. Between 1998 and 2002, the club’s annual roasts were aired on the cable network Comedy Central. Some of the most high profile guests of honor included Hugh Heifner and Jerry Stiller.

About the Friars Club’s Celebrity Roast

Harvey Bell - Friars Club

Harvey Bell is a longtime New Jersey resident who enjoys the music of Frank Sinatra and follows the New York Knicks in his spare time. In addition to these endeavors, Harvey Bell belongs to the Friars Club. A members-only organization for the entertainment community and those pursuing other career paths, the Friars Club fosters social and professional relationships and hosts various luncheons, honorary dinners, and other activities.

One of its hallmark events is the Celebrity Roast, a public event wherein top entertainment- industry names make unrestrained yet comedic barbs at the guest of honor. A raucous tradition, the event is filled with witty remarks. Since its inception more than a century ago, the event has brought laughter and enjoyment to guests and audiences alike. Furthermore, the Friars Club ensures that it upholds the event’s motto: “We only roast the ones we love.” Guests have included an assortment of celebrity figures beloved by the club, including individuals such as Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg, Quentin Tarantino, Jack Black, and Lucille Ball, among many others.