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This article was prepared for the April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Jon Stewart: Back in Town

Jon Stewart, the Lawrence High School alumnus who hosts

the Comedy Central hit "The Daily Show," returns to his home

turf on Saturday, April 28, as special guest host at a benefit concert

honoring Selma Litowitz, Stewart’s former English teacher who now

suffers from Parkinson’s disease (www.parkinsonalliance.net).

Titled "ParkinSong," and sponsored by the Parkinson Alliance

of Princeton, benefit concert features the popular Delaware Valley

progressive band, Grey Eye Glances. Also appearing will be the dynamic

performing duo of Terri Hendrix with Lloyd Maines and rising singer

and songwriter Ana Egge. All money raised from ParkinSong goes

directly

to research, and the Princeton-based Tuchman Foundation will match

dollar-for-dollar the net proceeds up to $25,000.

If you’re wondering whether you went to high school with Jon Stewart,

it may help to know that the nationally- prominent comedian, now 37,

was born and raised in Lawrence, Jon Stewart Leibowitz. As he tells

it on his website, his parents, Donald and Marian Leibowitz, a

physicist

and education consultant respectively, divorced when Stewart was nine,

and his father later remarried. He has one brother and two

half-brothers

from his father’s second marriage.

After high school Stewart attended the University of William and Mary

in Virginia where he majored in psychology and played Lawrence’s

favorite

sport, soccer, for the school. He also found time for some bar-tending

— perhaps the site of his earliest comic routines.

Stewart started in comedy three years after graduating

with his first gig in New York City in 1987. He traveled across

country

and up north to Canada, where he spent time in Winnipeg at the Rumours

Comedy Club. "It would be like 40 below zero and you’d be trying

to cross the highway — very exciting times. I felt like a

pioneer,"

he says. "I used to trudge around to four clubs a night, working

for falafel money."

Appearances on HBO and David Letterman led to his first shot at

television

as a member of the cast of Short Attention Span Theater on Comedy

Central in the early ’90s. This short-lived show was Stewart’s

springboard

to another short-lived show, "The Jon Stewart Show" which

ran late night and really late night on MTV from 1993 to 1995.

Although

the show flopped, Stewart’s role as replacement host for Garry

Shandling

on "The Larry Sanders Show" finally propelled him to stardom.

In 1998 he signed a $1.5 million contract with Comedy Central in 1998

to host the "Daily Show" and never looked back.

ParkinSong is being organized by Mrs. Litowitz’s three children:

Lawrence

High alumni Carol Golden of Princeton, Debbie Frank of Newtown,

Pennsylvania,

and Robert Litowitz of Washington, D.C. This year marks their parents’

50th wedding anniversary.

"I cannot go anywhere in Lawrenceville without meeting people

she taught," Ms. Golden says of her mother, who is 73. She retired

in the 1980s after teaching for 20 years. "There are people who

know her by her maiden name, Selma Urken. I meet people who are old

enough to be my parents who were her students. My mother started

teaching

English literature to teenagers in high school when she was 21 years

old. I don’t know if you can even count the number of people in our

community who learned English literature from my mother."

ParkinSong, The Parkinson Alliance, Lawrence High

School, 2525 Princeton Pike, 800-579-8440. $25 at the door; $100

patron. Saturday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.


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