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George Christy Talks About Jules and Doris Stein, The Jules Stein Eye Institute, Dr. Stoddard, Vladimir Putin and more

A vintage photograph of Doris and Jules Stein who gave us the Jules Stein Eye Institute, among the great eye care centers of the world located here in Westwood. The institute has saved the vision of thousands of patients during its 50 years.

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As we get younger …

Our basketball knees cry more …

Breathing reminds of the thousands of premieres we covered for our “Great Life” column in The Hollywood Reporter. Where everyone lit up after the film ended, and though we didn’t smoke, scientists now reveal that second hand smoke may be worse for our lungs … 

And then came our vision loss.  

We are living with macular degeneration, and have been for some years.  Writing the column is a challenge.  But we strike up the music and dance.

Two weeks ago we faced a crisis from a sudden, blinding infection in our right eye.  We learned from the diagnosing Dr. Hajir Dadgostar, a local Retina Vitreous partner, that an infection like that occurs only once in 5,000 times.

The doctor directed us – pronto! – to the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Westwood, where we were welcomed by retina vitreous specialist Dr. Wade William Stoddard, whose youthful good looks qualify for a leading player in a medical series. 

An Alaskan born in Fairbanks, Dr. Stoddard relocated to Los Angeles after studies and training in Colorado.

Dad, William is an anesthesiologist.  Mom Prescilla is a nurse anesthetist. Sister Sadie is a cardiac care specialist.  

“And, yes, we all hunted moose,” he says.  “Very gamey taste, and the moose packs a lot of meat that keeps for months.”

We mused the only moose hunter/eater we’d heard of was Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Arriving early at the Institute, as we did, Dr. Stoddard stayed with us until his colleague, Dr. Sankit Shah, appeared that evening with the three antibiotic and steroid injections for our eye. We discovered later from Dr. Thomas Hanscom that had it not been treated quickly – well, let’s not go there.

Dr. Stoddard was comforting, offering intelligent answers to our questions, and there to strengthen us when Dr. Shah performed his treatment.

The kind attention we received remains unforgettable. From Dr. Stoddard and Dr. Shah, and the staff at the Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Another crisis emerged days afterward.  Checking in unannounced at midnight at the Institute where the young and attractive late-night staff, Dr. Tamara Lenix and Dr. Patrick Lee, were generously thorough, and, again, comforting.  Consummately professional.

This is, as you may have gauged, a love letter to the Jules Stein Eye Institute, where the efficiency of the receiving staff and the double-quick caring  helped  the problem and allowed us to return home in the middle of the night, with confidence that God was in his Heaven and all’s right with the world.

In 2016, the Jules Stein Eye Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Of Lithuanian Jewish heritage, Jules Stein, born in South Bend, Indiana, studied in Vienna and Chicago for his ophthalmologist degree.

A hotbed for jazz at the time, Chicago became an entertainment capital, and Dr. Jules Stein took advantage of that popularity by booking big bands during his successful medical career.  

Ultimately, he created the Music Corporation of America, a behemoth for Universal music, films and television.

We crowned him and wife Doris Jones Stein as the Emperor and Empress of Tinsel Town in our thrice-weekly “Great Life” columns for The Hollywood Reporter.  Jules noted that they met at a United Jewish Appeal tea dance in Kansas.

It was Doris who propelled him to give back and fund his Eye Institute for mankind. 

When we lost Jules, his memorial service at UCLA drew the Who and the Who of the medical and entertainment communities.  Henry Mancini conducted a big band.  Famous vocalists entertained.

Doris had an eye for fine furnishings, and her décor at Misty Mountain, where they lived on Angelo Drive, became a haven for museum-quality antiques.  

Disturbed by the outrageous expense of the best antiques, Jules bought Stair & Company, fabled for the classic furnishings from centuries past. He could collect them now at cost.

During a Misty Mountain soiree for  Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, Jules  mentioned that he and Doris attended a memorial service for a colleague that afternoon.  “Curious, isn’t it, George, that I go to funerals of my friends who exercise.”

He didn’t. We lost Jules at age 85.

Apropos of our column last week about Town & Country cover girl Billie Lourd, 25, daughter of Carrie Fisher and CAA’s Bryan Lourd,  we’ve now learned that Carrie willed Billie her $18 million Beverly Hills hacienda on Coldwater Canyon, once owned by Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head. 

Billie will receive Carrie’s bank accounts, Star Wars memorabilia, jewelry and, more importantly Carrie’s intellectual properties.

Hello, all of our America haters out there!

Russian President Vladimir Putin, former head of Russia’s tough KGB, loves and wants you.

Fed up with America as you are, we are making a dream come true. Raising monies for what is right up your alley. A long overdue charity of our recent devising. 

The Friday Night Plane to Moscow.  

We supply the  airfare; possibly offer a spoonful of caviar before take-off time.    

However, all fliers must relinquish their American passports.  

Remember to pack woolen headgear, ear muffs, mufflers, mittens, heavy socks and heavy boots for those icy Soviet winters.  The temperature is known to drop to 50 degrees below.

Should bookings take flight, a Wednesday Night  flight also will be available.  And, if need be, we’ll arrange a Monday Night flight to boot.   

Welcome aboard, and bon voyage!

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