AN EXTRAORDINARY MAN, Leon H. Charney, died recently at age 77. His life story was the kind that would have thrilled Abraham Lincoln: a man who rose from the humblest of beginnings to achieve great success and, in doing so, enriched and bettered the lives of countless other people.
Charney grew up poor, and his struggling father died young. Nonetheless, Charney put himself through college and law school, in no small part from the earnings he made as a cantor. He then built a very successful law practice, specializing in sports and entertainment and representing such clients as Sammy Davis Jr. and Jackie Mason.
But it was in New York City real estate that Charney made his fortune. His big opening came in 1980, when he bought the storied Times Square building from