Login |  Register |  help

Five inducted into Stepinac Hall of fame

Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 by Lohud.com
Jon Voight and two brothers inducted into Stepinac Hall of Fame


By GARY STERN
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: April 26, 2007)
NEW ROCHELLE - The Voight brothers of Yonkers - a movie star, a "wild thing" and an expert on eruptions - have come home to Stepinac High School.


The all-boys Catholic high school last night welcomed to its hall of fame Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, along with his brothers, musician James Voight (better known as Chip Taylor), who wrote the rock anthem "Wild Thing," and geologist Barry Voight, one of the country's leading volcano experts.


Hundreds of members of the extended Stepinac family watched as the three alumni embraced their old classmates at the VIP Country Club.


"Being here really brings back memories of when we were all just chumps, sent to detention hall," Barry Voight (class of '55) said.


Of course, most of the cameras were pointed at Jon (class of '56), one of Stepinac's most famous alumni. He was not close to the Stepinac community for many years after he starred into 1969's X-rated "Midnight Cowboy," playing the hillbilly gigolo Joe Buck.


But after Voight played Pope John Paul II in a 2005 television miniseries - attending a screening at the Vatican and getting a thumbs up from Pope Benedict XVI - the Stepinac family and the TV pontiff began to connect.


Before last night's program, he reminisced about his Stepinac days, when he started as a stage designer but took the comedy lead in "Song of Norway." A few hours earlier, he had visited Stepinac and given an impromptu pep talk to students rehearsing for "Thoroughly Modern Millie."


"When we were at Stepinac, we were in a real safe place to be creative, experiment," he said. "I think the kids today have the same thing. It's a safe atmosphere with a good moral grounding. We had a lot of laughs, me and my brothers, but we had the safety to enjoy ourselves."


He looked especially touched when he embraced the Rev. Bernard McMahon, Stepinac's longtime drama teacher, now retired.


Stepinac also inducted two others into its hall of fame: Frank Liotti, a math teacher and department chair who served the school from 1965 to 2006; and Monsignor Charles J. McManus, principal of Stepinac from 1965 to 1971.


Reach Gary Stern at gstern@lohud.com or 914-694-3513.


Jon Voight and two brothers inducted into Stepinac Hall of Fame


By GARY STERN
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: April 26, 2007)
NEW ROCHELLE - The Voight brothers of Yonkers - a movie star, a "wild thing" and an expert on eruptions - have come home to Stepinac High School.


The all-boys Catholic high school last night welcomed to its hall of fame Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, along with his brothers, musician James Voight (better known as Chip Taylor), who wrote the rock anthem "Wild Thing," and geologist Barry Voight, one of the country's leading volcano experts.


Hundreds of members of the extended Stepinac family watched as the three alumni embraced their old classmates at the VIP Country Club.


"Being here really brings back memories of when we were all just chumps, sent to detention hall," Barry Voight (class of '55) said.


Of course, most of the cameras were pointed at Jon (class of '56), one of Stepinac's most famous alumni. He was not close to the Stepinac community for many years after he starred into 1969's X-rated "Midnight Cowboy," playing the hillbilly gigolo Joe Buck.


But after Voight played Pope John Paul II in a 2005 television miniseries - attending a screening at the Vatican and getting a thumbs up from Pope Benedict XVI - the Stepinac family and the TV pontiff began to connect.


Before last night's program, he reminisced about his Stepinac days, when he started as a stage designer but took the comedy lead in "Song of Norway." A few hours earlier, he had visited Stepinac and given an impromptu pep talk to students rehearsing for "Thoroughly Modern Millie."


"When we were at Stepinac, we were in a real safe place to be creative, experiment," he said. "I think the kids today have the same thing. It's a safe atmosphere with a good moral grounding. We had a lot of laughs, me and my brothers, but we had the safety to enjoy ourselves."


He looked especially touched when he embraced the Rev. Bernard McMahon, Stepinac's longtime drama teacher, now retired.


Stepinac also inducted two others into its hall of fame: Frank Liotti, a math teacher and department chair who served the school from 1965 to 2006; and Monsignor Charles J. McManus, principal of Stepinac from 1965 to 1971.


And the Cardinal O'Connor Service Award was presented to George Kehayas, an active volunteer whose five sons all went to Stepinac.


"We had our fingers crossed that Jon would be here," said Ronald Tedesco, a longtime Stepinac administrator who was a year behind Jon Voight in school. "To have all three brothers here, with a former principal and a math teacher who taught for 40 years, it's paradise for me."


The Voight brothers grew up in Yonkers. Their late father, Elmer Voight, was a golf pro at Sunningdale Country Club in Greenburgh. Their late mother, Barbara, was a part-time teacher in Yonkers.


"Mom would take us to church on Sundays, and we were usually the last ones there," Taylor (class of '58) said. "We would have to go sit up by the altar."


Each of the three went on to make some noise - in film, with a guitar or by being around things that erupt.


Jon won the Best Actor Oscar for "Coming Home" and gave memorable performances in "Deliverance," "The Champ" and many other films.


Taylor wrote one of the rock's most crunching anthems - and is still a successful singer/songwriter.


And Barry, a professor of geosciences at Penn State, is a prominent volcanologist.


The three brothers, all around 70, wore dark suits with carnations pinned to their lapels, and their hair was about the same shade of silver. Jon's was perfectly swept back like a star's would be.


Barry sported the neatly trimmed beard of an academic. And Taylor's hair was somewhat long and suitably unkempt.


Jon Voight was not wearing his white silk scarf so familiar to award-show watchers.


They joked about their boyhood tussles, when they had boxing gloves and used them. But they had only warm memories of their years at Stepinac a half-century ago.


"I had that Catholic education, and whatever good I've accomplished, I owe it all to them," Barry Voight said.


"I have very similar kinds of feelings," Taylor said.


Jon Voight said things hadn't changed all that much at Stepinac.


"People say that when you go back, everything will look small," he said. "But it looked pretty much the same. I expected myself to come around the corner."

This page was created in 0.1250 seconds on server 132