The Palisades Honorary Mayor tradition is one that was started by the Palisades Chamber of Commerce in 1951 with the selection of Virginia Bruce.
Over the years mayors have included Jerry Lewis to Adam West to Anthony Hopkins. A complete list is at the bottom of this story.
The late Chamber of Council Executive Director Arnie Wishnick for decades helped find stars willing to help promote the town by assuming the honorary role.
One of the last major Mayor celebrations “Night of Comedy with Kevin Nealon and Friends” was held in 2018. No less than five honorary mayors were in attendance: Kevin Nealon, Billy and Janice Crystal, Jake Steinfeld and Ray Leonard.
In 2020, Eugene Levy agreed to be honorary mayor. But after a term and then a second, he seems to be moving towards infinity or perhaps marching to become the new honorary town dictator. He has gamely attended fundraisers, ridden in parades and served as a judge in the annual home decorating contest.
One reader wrote to CTN in June: “By the way, is Eugene stuck in the office of honorary mayor? Or has he snuck out?
“As a Palisadian, I demand this be dealt with! Unless he wants to remain in office for another term or perhaps forever, we must select a new honorary mayor and give Eugene his freedom!”
CTN adores Levy and would happily make him the Palisades Tsar and keep him in office forever. But we understand. The man has served, he has a successful career and his loving family seeks his attention.
There is no longer a Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, (1949-2021). That body has recently merged with Malibu.
There has been some disagreement about who should find/select/ask a new Mayor.
At one meeting of the Pacific Palisades Community Council, that group felt it should be responsible for the selection.
“Nay,” said the Pali-Mu Blue Chamber of Commerce, “it should be us.”
CTN thinks the selection should go to the Ho!Ho!Ho! committee, a dedicated group of residents, who worked hard to keep a 69-year Palisades Community Council holiday tradition alive, when the Chamber of Commerce discontinued the event in 2018.
That same year, the committee, which included Lou Kamer, Rosalie Huntington, Lisa Glantz, Heather Lyle, Barbara Edelman, Jim Kirtley, Buddy Chancellor, Tracey Price, Genevieve Bostic, Leslie Campbell, Chase Holiday and Rena Repetti, organized a successful event—and have kept it going the past four years.
I think if given the task, Ho!Ho!Ho! will find and help install a new honorary mayor. If anyone can do it, it’s this crew of volunteers.
PACIFIC PALISADES HONORARY MAYORS:
Virginia Bruce (1951)
Jerry Lewis (1953)
Jack Owens (1955)
Vivian Vance (1957)
Mel Blanc (1959)
Doug McClure (1961)
Bob Rockwell (1963)
Jerry Paris (1965)
Nanette Fabray (1967)
Peter Graves (1969)
Bob Abernethy (1971)
Ed Andrews (1973)
Adam West (1975)
Walter Matthau (1977)
Bert Convy (1979)
Ted Knight (1981)
Dom DeLuise (1984)
Chevy Chase (1986)
Rita Moreno (1988)
John Raitt (1990)
Bob Saget (1995)
Eddie Albert (1997)
Martin Short (1998)
Anthony Hopkins (2000)
Steve Guttenberg (2002)
Gavin MacLeod (2006)
Sugar Ray Leonard (2011)
Jake Steinfeld (2014)
Kevin Nealon (2016)
Billy and Janice Crystal (2018)
Eugene Levy (2020)