Paul Stanley is the lead singer, guitarist, and co-founder of the legendary rock band KISS, which has sold more than 75 million records worldwide in a career spanning nearly five decades. Even today, Paul still tours the world, wearing his trademark “star child” face makeup, and eight-inch heels — but that is only part of the story. Born “Stanley Burt Eisen,” the child of Jewish immigrants who fled Europe during WWII, Paul was also born without a right ear, leaving him deaf on his right side. The subject of childhood taunting, Paul vowed in his youth to become a rock star, and then did. Now a Harvard-Westlake parent, Paul describes the origins of KISS’s attitude and aesthetic, his successful and complicated partnership with Gene Simmons, and how the values of work ethic and gratitude have imbued his entire life, both as an artist and a father. Paul cites inspirational artists like Beethoven and Picasso as profound influences on his unlikely journey to stardom.
Monthly Archives: January 2021
Beth Slattery is amid her 17th year at Harvard-Westlake, but first as Head of Upper School. In this episode, Beth speaks about the challenges of starting this new role during a pandemic, including her most profound challenge—how does one identify, from a virtual distance, when a student is struggling? Beth also engages on the topic of gender, discussing both her doctoral research into single-gender schools and the importance of supporting and encouraging girls and women in every context. Beth also describes growing up the child of educators in Brockton, MA, and how her career ambitions migrated from Senate politics to USC admissions to college counseling. Finally, Beth’s advice on parenting, which has been quoted by several guests of The Supporting Cast (including Rick Commons), will leave you inspired. Beth cites Sue Szachowicz of Brockton High School, Jane Hopkins Carey of Georgetown University, and Robin Doran and Joe Allen of USC as life-changing influences.
During his 16-year NBA career, Robert Horry won a startling 7 NBA championships, more than any other player outside of the 1960s Celtics. In this episode, Robert speaks about the three coaches (Rudy Tomjanovich, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich) who led these championship teams, in addition to the big games and critical plays that earned him the moniker “Big Shot Bob.” Robert also speaks about growing up in rural Alabama, discussing some of the racial tensions and segregation around youth sports in Alabama, before playing for the University of Alabama. Now a Harvard-Westlake parent, Robert cites Wimp Sanderson of the University of Alabama, in addition to Tree Rollins and Otis Thorpe of the Houston Rockets, as profound teachers and mentors.
Natasha Case ’01 is Co-Founder and CEO of Coolhaus Ice Cream, which you may have noticed lining the frozen food section of your local Whole Foods. In this episode, Natasha speaks about being raised by an animator and architect, the multifaceted nature of her Harvard-Westlake experience, building a business at the cross-section of food and architecture, and how unveiling Coolhaus at Coachella in 2009 changed the brand forever. Natasha also speaks about the importance of setting an example as a female and gay entrepreneur, and how opening doors for others like her is central to Coolhaus’s mission. Natasha cites Harvard-Westlake teachers Katherine Holmes-Chuba and Jerry Margolis as profound educational influences.
Spencer Rascoff ’93 is a serial entrepreneur, from founding Hotwire and Zillow in this 20s and 30s, to his two current ventures, Pacaso Homes and dot.LA. In addition to describing the details of each, Spencer traces many of his entrepreneurial qualities back to Harvard-Westlake, both in the form of a spectacular teacher (HW Chronicle advisor Kathy Neumeyer) and an unimaginable tragedy (the sudden death of brother Justin Rascoff ’91). In this episode, Spencer speaks about the community that rallied around him during this difficult time, in addition to the influence of his father’s innovative spirit and why he believes the notion of mentorship can be “hacked.” Spencer credits Kathy Neumeyer, in addition to numerous other Harvard-Westlake writing teachers, as profound influences on his life and career.
As 2021 marks the 100-year anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, The Supporting Cast welcomes Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield ’86, forensic anthropologist at the University of Florida, who is leading the massacre’s forensic excavation. In the Season 2 opener, Dr. Stubblefield discusses the complicated efforts to uncover and identify hundreds of Black victims buried in unmarked graves beneath Tulsa, in addition to how the work became personal to her and how it connects to modern-day movements for racial justice. In addition to crediting her parents, who enrolled Phoebe and her sister at Westlake School through the “A Better Chance” (ABC) program, Dr. Stubblefield cites Joannie Parker of Westlake and Phil Walker of UC Santa Barbara as profound influences on her unusual career journey.