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Tunney to discuss his father, playwright

Published 4:06 pm, Friday, September 13, 2013
  • Jay R. Tunney will address the Senior Men's Club of New Canaan Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. Photo: Contributed Photo / New Canaan News
    Jay R. Tunney will address the Senior Men's Club of New Canaan Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Jay R.Tunney will address the Senior Men's Club of New Canaan in Morrill Hall at St. Mark's Church on Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. on "The Prize Fighter and the Playwright," which will include the viewing of a DVD that has archival footage of the two famous Tunney-Dempsey championship fights.

Jay Tunney has had two careers: One as an entrepreneur businessman in Asia. He searched for oil in Burma, was a ship owner in Hong Kong, and spent 10 years as a founder and operator of the first premium ice cream chain in Korea. His work as an entrepreneur was featured on PBS, CNN, Dow-Jones Financial TV, the BBC, Nippon Television and others.

In his second career, as a writer and lecturer, he co-scripted and presented a popular BBC radio program about his father, heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney, and the playwright, George Bernard Shaw. That program, "The Master and the Boy," aired in 2001 to an estimated 14 million people around the world.

Tunney's essays on the Tunney-Shaw friendship have appeared in three volumes of the Bernard Shaw Studies published by Penn State Press, and Tunney has given speeches about the friendship in Japan, England, Ireland, Canada and the U.S. Ultimately, an additional 10 years of further research and writing went into "The Prizefighter and the Playwright."

Tunney's research included hundreds of photographs, notebooks, family movies, letters, postcards, diaries, cartoons, scrapbooks and 25 file drawers of letters in the private Tunney Collection. He conducted more than 100 interviews, traveled extensively to the places key to the Tunney-Shaw relationship, including Brioni (now Croatia), and he discovered photos and letters from Charlotte Shaw, Thornton Wilder, Hugh Walpole and more.

Tunney sits on the advisory board of the Bernard Shaw Society, is on the Governor's International Advisory Council of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and is vice president of the International Shaw Society.

The Senior Men's Club of New Canaan is open for new members. Applicants are welcome to attend the meeting or visit www.smcnc.org for information or call Membership Chairman Jerry Transue at 203-966-6050.