Before Rhea Perlman made us laugh on Cheers or Sandy Koufax became one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, they attended Lafayette High School in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn. The school is shown during the chase scene of the Academy Award-winning movie The French Connection (you’ll see the location on our Pizza Tour).
Before closing down in 2010, Lafayette High School educated some celebrities you just might recognize…
Larry King recalled that Lafayette high school bred a lot of talent.
“Sandy Koufax went to the same school as me. I graduated two years ahead of Sandy. Vic Damone went to that school; John Franco; A lot of writers, painters. Lafayette has a distinguished Alumni.”
With encouragement from a teacher, Rhea Perlman began acting in Junior High and continued in high school.
“In high school, I auditioned for the drama club. We did skits and plays. In ‘Jane Eyre,’ I was the maid. My parents were proud of me, but where I grew up, no one thought you could actually become an actor.”
Before writing the classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak was art editor for the 1946 Lafayette High School yearbook.
“I was an art major in high school, but we had no real instruction—I just sat and did what I wanted to.”
In high school Sandy Koufax was better known for basketball than baseball.
The school didn’t have sports teams when he first started attending, so he joined a local youth basketball team for the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst baseball league known as the “Ice Cream League.” At 17 he was recruited to pitch for the Coney Island Sports League’s Parkviews.
Speaking of baseball
Major League Baseball, left-handed relief pitcher, John Franco is married to his high school sweetheart. They met at age 17.
Vic Damone dropped out of school at age 16 to support his family.
He worked as an usher at the Paramount Theater in Manhattan. But he did return to get his high school diploma in 1997.
Paul Sorvino attended Lafayette High School too.
Before he was in Goodfellas or Law & Order, actor Paul Sorvino went to Lafayette High with artist Peter Max.