Famous Liberty resident Lou "Simon Says" Goldstein dies
Remember the game "Simon Says?" Well it was popularized decades ago by the famous Lou Goldstein of Liberty. Sadly, Goldstein passed away on Monday. Our Venise Toussaint talked to people who knew him and takes us on a trip down memory lane.
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LIBERTY, N.Y. -- Take a walk into the Liberty Diner on Sullivan Avenue and one of the first pictures you’ll see on the wall is the smiling face of Lou “Simon Says’ Goldstein.
“He always wanted to do the Simon says do this do that, ” said Liberty Diner co-owner Helen Tsicalos.
Known for his charm and humor, the famous "Mr. Simon Says" and his wife, Jackie, have been regulars here since the dinner opened 22 years ago. Lou died on Monday at the age of 90.
“He had a very kind heart. He was always a sweetheart,” said his longtime server Tina Field.
“The first thing he always said when he came in was ‘hi doll,’” Tsicalos added.
Chances are if you were around in the 40s, 50s and even the 70s, Lou Goldstein is a household name helping to put the once popular Grossingers Hotel on the map.
“Anybody that knew about Grossingers knew Lou Goldstein.”
Goldstein served as the social director at Grossingers, frequented by the likes of Muhammad Ali, Lucille Ball and Wilt Chamberlain in its heyday, but that wasn’t his claim to fame. Simon Says was.
“He was able to take what had been a Catskills phenomenon very much unknown outside of the Catskills hotels and made it into a national game,” said Sullivan County Historian John Conway.
Performing his Simon Says routine in front of thousands during NBA halftime shows, children’s TV shows and national news specials, Goldstein eventually trade marked the game and went on to become one of the most sought out entertainers of his time, but for people here, he was just Lou, a regular customer with a big heart and even bigger personality.
“He’s going to be missed and we loved him a lot here. It’s like part of the family when you see people for some many years for two or three times a day, they actually become your family,” Tsicalos said.
“Simon says rest in peace, Lou,” said John Conway.
Lou Goldstein will be laid to rest on Thursday.