The Tom Werner and Russell Goldsmith Show
December 01, 2011 | by —janice o'leary | People & Parties
Tom Werner and Russell Goldsmith in Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox
|Goldsmith and Werner during their Harvard days|
When they met as roommates in their sophomore year at Harvard College, Russell Goldsmith, who hailed from Los Angeles, had the sheen of Hollywood on him and the friendly Tom Werner was looking to make the acquaintance of a particularly pretty classmate. “I was new to Harvard and Tom was very welcoming,” says Goldsmith. “Little did I realize he had an ulterior motive—he wanted to meet this girl I knew, Wendy.” But Werner insists he wasn’t drawn to Goldsmith only because of a girl. “Russell had that sort of Hollywood stardom to him,” he says.
Although things didn’t pan out with Wendy, Werner, now an LA-based television producer and comanaging partner and chairman of the Boston Red Sox, and LA resident Goldsmith—CEO and chairman of California’s City National Bank—have been friends for more than four decades. At their college dorm, Dunster House, they ran a drama-review publication together, and later, in 1971, the two traveled to Israel to film a documentary about the country. “We were both interested in changing the world, of moving [it] forward an inch,” says Werner. “The documentary came from that spirit. Russell was the producer, and I was the director. Russell did some very good interviews, and for each one, he changed into a different color Lacoste shirt.”
That film project turned out to be a harbinger of sorts. Since graduating in 1971, the men’s lives have remained intertwined. Goldsmith was Werner’s personal lawyer during his years as an ABC executive and for Werner’s production company, Carsey-Werner Television. When Goldsmith was the CEO of Republic Pictures, Werner was on the board of directors. They were even co-owners of the San Diego Padres (which they ultimately sold in 1994).
Maybe their success as a team has something to do with how much they admire each other. “Tom and his [former] partner, Marcy Carsey, were working in a small office over a 7-Eleven when they created The Cosby Show and captured the attention of America. He continues to be a creative force in American culture and sports, and he does it with integrity,” says Goldsmith. “If it weren’t for Tom, I never would have owned a baseball team... Even his golf game is admirable.”
Werner speaks just as highly of Goldsmith, praising his kindness, his intelligence, and—of course—his golf game. “He’s not only been our banker and a helpful counselor, but he’s also someone I’ve always turned to for wisdom and advice,” says Werner. “We played golf [not too long ago], and Russell hit every single fairway.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY MELISSA MAHONEY
Cover shoot: September 2014 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.