Lisa Greer & Ellisa Bregman to be honored at this year’s 2017 Patron Gala

The Friends of Robinson Gardens honors two recipients with the 2017 Spirit of Beverly Hills and Camellia Awards at this year’s Patron Gala

The Friends of Robinson Gardens is very proud to be honoring two award recipients at this year’s The Loveliest Night of the Year Patron Gala being held on September 9, 2017. Lisa Greer will receive the Spirit of Beverly Hills Award for her exceptional philanthropic and charitable contributions, while Ellisa Lanza Bregman will receive the  biannual Camellia Award for her much appreciated, deep and long-time commitment to the Virginia Robinson Gardens.

About the Honorees:

Lisa Greer, recipient of The Spirit of Beverly Hills Award

Lisa Greer is a philanthropist, investor and entrepreneur.  She is the founder of CaregiversDirect, an online marketplace that is enabling the next generation of home healthcare, and an active real estate investor.

Lisa is Commissioner and former Chair of the Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission, a board member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, an international board member of the New Israel Fund, a member of Beverly Hills Rotary, and a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.  She is also an active member of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors, former President of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and a previous Board member of the L.A. District Attorney’s Crime Prevention Foundation, Make-a-Wish of Greater Los Angeles, and others.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Greer led a management consulting and strategic advisory firm specializing in digital media and entertainment businesses.  Prior to that, as a studio executive, Lisa oversaw the development of the online and other business divisions at NBC, Universal Studios, and Spencer Gifts, while also launching pioneering ventures into music webcasting.

A native of Los Angeles, Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in History from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University. The mother of five children, Lisa and her husband, Joshua, are proud and involved residents of Beverly Hills. Their iconic home was recognized by the “Will Rogers Awards”, and they continue to lend their home for myriad social justice, educational and community events and salons.

As an outstanding and impressive philanthropic leader in the community, Lisa has made a deep impact and is an inspiration to all!



Ellisa Lanza Bregman, recipient of the Camellia Award

Ellisa is a Beverly Hills native, born to Mario and Betty Lanza at Cedars Sinai Hospital, second of four children. She has lived most of her life in Los Angeles, but is equally comfortable anywhere in the world. Her earliest years were spent in Beverly Hills, but in 1957 the entire Lanza family moved to Rome for her father’s career. Sadly, her father died after two and a half years in Rome, and the rest of the family returned to the Los Angeles area, living in Pacific Palisades with Ellisa’s grandparents. She graduated from Palisades High School, and took to acting. Along that path, she met Bob Bregman…and they fell in love and got married. With two children, Tony and Nick, an international business that they have built together, and much travel, they have shared a happy life. Now, their son Nick and his wife Rachel have blessed them with Weston, their adorable grandson.

Both Ellisa and Bob are well aware that their hard work and good fortune have enabled them to contribute to their community. Ellisa knew she had found a place to love and support when she was introduced to Robinson Gardens by our founder Joan Selwyn. She has worn many hats at VRG including past President, Chair of many events including Gala and the Children’s Christmas Party, restoration, publicity, jobs for Garden Tour and Gala, and other functions. She has been on the Board since she joined many years ago around 1994. Quietly, she has financially supported the Gardens as well. If there is a need, Ellisa has come to the fore many times — the perfect person for our Camellia Award.

Ellisa has taken on the responsibility of supporting and interacting with the various groups of her father’s fans. She is the last of his four children, and spends a lot of time traveling to events and speaking to groups in this endeavor. There seem to be as many fans of his today as there were when he was actively singing and making movies. There are Mario Lanza Societies all over the world, and recently, she has visited the British Mario Lanza Society and the one in Ireland. You can catch Ellisa on PBS when they have fundraisers using her father’s albums.

Ellisa and Bob also make a point of supporting other charities and organizations in the community, such as the Center Theatre Group, the Amie Karen Cancer Fund for Children, ML Education Foundation among others.

Ellisa is such a great choice for this year’s Camellia Award!

Article on Ellisa Bregman by Leslie Tillman
Friends of Robinson Gardens Member


16 Responses

  1. George Croal
    | Reply

    Elissa: I idolized your father and grew up singing (pretty well) his great songs, especially the ones from the Student Prince. I know he was not the prince but his voice tract was used. It was the first album I ever bought. I loved all his movies and I would like to tell you a personal story about one of his hit songs: “come prima”. I met my wife, Ann, on the telephone Holy Thursday
    night 1963. After that phone call she came to a bar in Dubuque Iowa where we were celebrating my having won a graduate fellowship. She was incredibly wonderful with beautiful green eyes. When she left after only a few minutes I turned to my friend Nickie and said: I’m going to marry that girl, The following week I called her and asked her to go with me for a coke. As we walked to the Diner we passed my college and I said: “We have a five o’clock mass would you like to go.” She said yes. After we left mass and were walking to the diner I began singing Come Prima in the Lanza style. When I finished I asked her to
    marry me and she said yes and we have been married 55 years… I Still love Mario and listen to him often.

    | Reply

    Mario Lanza ‘encouraged’ me to spend a lifetime studying and listening to the tenor voice – firstly by listening to him on radio from the USA and then watching all his movies on numerous occasions.
    In 1953 my Aunt who lived in London took me to Covent Garden to see Aida – starring Maria Callas: and I was also hooked into spending a lifetime seeing opera live, in Sydney, Verona, Milan, Rome & Wellington.
    On one trip to Rome my wife and I visited the church in Rome where Mario had his first funeral – this was very moving for us.
    And many times we’ve also sat in Mario’s seat in the Piazza Navona!
    My wife & I have been privileged to hear many of the world’s great tenors – live – including: Giuseppe Di Stefano, Jan Pierce (in concert in Wellington, NZ, not long after my wife & I emigrated), Jussi Bjorling (In London), Nicola Martinucci, Kurt Baum (in Aida with Maria Callas in London 1953), Kenneth Collins, Jose Carreras, Vittorio Grigolo, Bocelli (three time in New Zealand), Marco Berti, Carl Tanner, Carlo Ventre, James Valenti (in Verona), Simon O’Neill, and more.
    We also saw the three tenors live on TV when they were in Sydney.
    I grew up in England during the Mario Lanza era and saw him live on UK TV in 1957 at the London Palladium.
    Thanks to Google and YouTube I watch Mario several times each week.
    We are also avid viewers of Derek McGovern’s website. Derek hails from the very town (Carterton, NZ) where we live.
    Not surprisingly, even though we’ve seen many of the best tenors live; apart from Domingo none have come close to equaling the Lanza power, quality, volume, excitement, etc., and it’s likely that no one ever will.

  3. Lawrence Marchelya
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    Our paths crossed many years ago when I traveled to Europe as a teenager with my parents. It’s a pleasant memory for me and perhaps you might remember it as well. We were visiting St Peters in Rome and toured the Basilica, then we waited behind the waist high barrier for a chance to see the Pope. While we waited, we visited with a lady standing near us who had brought her two granddaughters with her to see Pius XII. When the Pope appeared we helped your grandmother see that you and your sister got a seat on top of the railing for a better view. After the Pope had been carried past us in his chair, we continued our conversation and we all walked out of St Peters together and down the steps to where your mother was waiting with a car. Your grandmother introduced us and we spoke for several minutes more. We didn’t have the pleasure of meeting your father that day, but I’ve always wanted you to know how gracious and kind your mother and grandmother were to three tourists in Rome on a beautiful spring day in 1958.
    I wish you and your family all the best!

  4. Bill Lanza
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    Hi Ellisa,
    You and I are distant relatives. My father Earl (Ercole) Lanza was first cousin to your grandmother. Salvatore Lanza, your great grandfather and my grandfather Luciano were brothers. My dad and your father were very close back in South Philadelphia. Every few years we have a Lanza family reunion. This year we got together in New York for a wonderful event. Many of the cousins inquired about you. I told them I briefly met you and your brother Damon at the affair they had in 2005 at the Lincoln Center with TCMs Robert Osborne. There are only a few people remaining to carry on the Lanza name – my two sons, two grandsons, and my late cousin Lou Lanza’s two boys. It would have been nice if we were able to have you attend our reunion. Perhaps next time. My son Bill Jr lives in Laguna Niguel, CA. He is a Vice President with the Target Corporation. If you are ever in the Philadelphia area I would love to put a little dinner together with some of the cousins on the Lanza side. In case you didn’t know already, you are Lanza family royalty.

  5. marlene bertman
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    mario lanza was my first crush as a very young girl growing up in brooklyn. over the years he has remained my first crush and i was amazed to see that i was not alone. i always feel he was ‘my discovery’. he will forever be remembered by my generation and i feel sorry for those that don’t know of him. SUCH A DOLL.

  6. Peter Callinicos
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    Hello Elissa,
    I don’t know if you remember me.. I’m a little older than you are. You will probably recognize my last name. My mother Olga and I would visit your grandparents and you kids at their home in the Palisades. My mother loved your grandparents. I remember them as being very kind people. I just saw a nice piece on your dad and thought of you. I have good memories of that life, even though it was a half a century ago. I think I saw you last in 1967 or so. Hope your enjoying life and are healthy. That is really the only thing that matters. Take care.

  7. Kim Miles
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    Dear Elissa ,I was introduced to your Dad and his lovely voice by my mum as a child and have always loved his music,so sorry for all your losses but you still have a lovely family and a lovely life god bless you all ,Regards Kim Miles from New Zealand

  8. Leon Lissek
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    Dear Elissa,
    Congratulations on receiving the Camellia Award..
    Hoping that you and your family are well and enjoying life. Thanks so much for keeping your parents alive through all your public presentations and receiving awards.
    I am a Hidden Child of WW II from France loosing my beloved father Max Samuel Lissek in Auschwitz.My family had the opportunity to come to USA in 1950 .Because of a strike with the Liberté Ship , we were sent to Genoa, Italy for one month to board the Saturnia Ship.That is when my life changed me completely -when I first heard the voice of your dad , Mario Lanza my lifetime idle ,glorious unique Singer. His timber and quality are unmatched. At thirteen I began singing with him to imitate him trying to reach all the high notes at home through my record player. It made life worthwhile for me collecting all his recordings.Going to See the Great Caruso with my dear friend for at least 21 times and loving his exciting voice more than Enrico’s.I was in 8th grade and joined his fan club of which I have never canceled.To make a long story short I am a retired 83 years young Cantor who posses a complete library of the fantastic MARIO LANZA’S recordings, movies which I and young people listen regularly for his Bel Canto voice which will sing beautifully forever.Your dad’s Centennial Birthday ? is coming up in 2021.I would be more than happy to help celebrate this momentous occasion.Please take good care of yourself and warmest regards to your family.
    PS-You may know my friend Vahan Khanzadian
    a wonderful tenor who also loved and admired your dad.His professional name was Marco Vahan.We are in constant touch and he keeps me updated.

    • Susan Scott
      | Reply

      Congratulations on receiving recognition for the good work you’ve been doing. I don’t remember a lot of details from 1958-59 when my family lived Rome for my father’s work in the US Army. I remember my parents had your father’s albums—probably still in their house; and I remember my father taking me to the biggest birthday I’d ever been to which was for you and your siblings.

  9. Pierluigi
    | Reply

    Hi Elissa
    My name is Pierluigi and I am sitting here with my mom. She assisted your dad in his last days. My mom used to be a nurse at Valle Giulia the hospital were your dad passed away. She told me a lot of story about your dad your mom and remembers the four of you playing on your dad’s bed at the hospital. My mom still leaves I’m Roma. My sister and I moved in USA Stamford CT. Currently my mom is visiting us in US and she asked me to see if there was anyone of your family. She still has a record that your dad gave her while at the hospital.

  10. Evelyn Redwine
    | Reply

    Elissa, I am 78 years old and still a huge fan of your father’s. My grandmother introduced me to his music in Germany. He was her idol, her heart throb. That was about 1954. I own his movies and his music. There will never be another Mario Lanza. He is ageless and timeless. His music will live on forever. He is one opera star I would have loved to experience in person. Thank you and God bless you.

  11. Vincent DiPlacido Sn
    | Reply

    My dear Ellesa Going by my DNA We are Cousins,As a teenager I trained as A Singer Bel Canto My voice is similar In every way to your dear Fathers Growing up I was called Maria Not Vincent My true name It would give me great plessure If you would agree to send me an address so that i can send a disc ,I can assure you my dear that you will not be disappointed I would at this point Thank you for your most kind words and Photo that you kindly sent me My D N A Shows that we are Related This has explained the likeness of voice to me ,I await your kind reply ,

  12. Vincent DiPlacido Sn
    | Reply

    Add to above I sent Your Dear brother Damon A tape I have his kind reply to me Framed and hanging on my wall ,

  13. David
    | Reply

    Hi Ellisa your fathers voice is as beautiful today as was nearly 70 years ago and I’ve found nobody who can come close to his amazing voice and repertoire whether singing songs from the shows or his wonderful take on Christmas carols.
    I’m so pleased your keeping his memories alive and hopefully future generations will be able to appreciate this gift from god.

  14. Laura Steinberg
    | Reply

    Ellisa..this is Laura Steinberg..I have been trying to contact you for years..just hoping you’re doing well!!!

  15. ray mitchell
    | Reply

    I’ve Been a fan of your father since I first heard him sing. My Mother was Italian & I grew up in a Chicago Italian neighborhood where opera on the radio was everywhere – I think I bought one of Marios’s first albums in 1958/9 – whenever I hear a tenor I always compare them with your fathers’ amazing voice. It’s sad to have lost him so young – I hope you & your family are well.

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