Museum exhibit opens on “Charlie Cinnamon Day”

By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director


Broadway stars, veteran Miami journalists and local movers and shakers all descended upon the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU on Monday, June 18. The thing that drew them together: a common love and appreciation for Charlie Cinnamon.

On Monday, the Jewish Museum held a VIP party to celebrate the opening of its exhibit honoring Cinnamon, “The Legendary Press Agent,” with over 200 guests present to honor his memory after his passing in 2016, according to Museum Director Susan Gladstone.

Cinnamon with Elizabeth Taylor circa 1980

Cinnamon was a publicist, or as he preferred to call himself, a press agent. He was responsible for communicating with and promoting high-profile clients from all over the globe such as actress Elizabeth Taylor and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. He brought them to Miami for a variety of causes and occasions, and through his work was able to bring Miami much more into the public eye.

Manny Hernandez, former celebrity photographer for the Miami Herald and current “Miami’s Event Chronicler” told Student Media how he met Cinnamon when he was a young journalist trying to get into the business.

“Charlie was the man to meet if you wanted to go to events in Miami. He handled a lot of the press for the public things you want to go to,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez said that he would later develop a deep friendship with Cinnamon, eating breakfast with him once a week and speaking about work or life. The age gap between them, over 50 years, meant very little in regards to their relationship.

“He was  a child at heart. We could laugh about things and we could gossip, and I trusted him. He was a mentor, a friend and basically family,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez’s sentiment about Cinnamon was shared by many of the guests at the event, including Richard Jay-Alexander, Broadway director and producer for such productions as Les Misérables.

“Any time I had to make a big decision, I would call my dad and I would call Charlie,” said Jay-Alexander to Student Media. “It was thanks to Charlie that I kept going with Les Misérables, even though I wasn’t sure if I should.”

Lisa Cole, a director of corporate communications at Hilton and friend of Cinnamon’s spoke on his skill as a press agent and his ability to bring people together for a cause.

Left to right: Museum Curator Jacqueline Goldstein, Richard Jay-Alexander, Susan Gladstone beside a painting of Charlie Cinnamon.

In 1988, Cinnamon brought together celebrities and “heavy-hitters” like Elizabeth Taylor for an AIDS fundraiser at the Fontainbleau Hotel, and raised over $2 million for AIDS research, according to Cole. Liz Taylor later gifted Cinnamon with diamond cufflinks, which are currently displayed at the museum’s exhibit.

“Charlie operated under old school PR, he knew his media and his audience. He would cultivate relationships with people, and I am still in awe at his ability to make people happy,” said Cole.

Several representatives from FIU attended the event, including Michael Hughes, development director of the Wolfsonian FIU and Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation. Lipman said a few words to the crowd during the speech portion of the event, remarking that FIU is very proud of the Jewish Museum and that he looks forward to more involvement with it.

The speech portion of the party, which Gladstone described as “our own version of the Academy Awards,” featured heartfelt presentations by Hernandez and  Richard Jay-Alexander, both of whom fought tears while talking about Cinnamon, Stanley and Elaine Cinnamon, his niece and nephew, and founder of SOBEWFF Lee Brian Schrager.

Also present during the event was Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber, who proclaimed June 18, 2018 Charlie Cinnamon Day.

Everyone who spoke that night and many who did not shared similar stories of speaking with Cinnamon on their way to work, eating with him, and generally being enchanted by his presence. Even those who did not know him knew of his legacy as the man who helped to bring the Miami Heat to the NBA and who started the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Left to right: Manny Hernandez with Charlie Cinnamon

Evelyn Baron, niece of Cinnamon, told Student Media that he loved Miami like he loved his family, and he loved his family very much.

“He was to his family as important as he was to the life of Miami Beach. He was as dear to us and as involved with us as he was with the community,” said Baron. “We were his children, his nieces and nephews, and each one of us was his favorite, we each knew that he loved us each equally.”

The “Charlie Cinnamon: Legendary Press Agent” exhibit will be open at the Jewish Museum until September 2018.


Photos courtesy of Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Be the first to comment on "Museum exhibit opens on “Charlie Cinnamon Day”"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.