Raskin, Eugene 1909-2004
RASKIN, Eugene 1909-2004
See index for CA sketch: Born September 5, 1909, in New York, NY; died June 7, 2004, in New York, NY. Architect, educator, folk singer, and author. Raskin had an unusual dual career as a professor of architecture on the one hand, and as an author and folk singer best known for his hit song "Those Were the Days" on the other. He graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in architecture in 1932, worked for an architectural firm in the late 1930s, and was a consultant and critic from 1939 to 1942. Joining Columbia University as a professor of architecture in 1942, Raskin spent the rest of his academic career there, retiring in 1976. The other part of his life included writing and performing folk songs with his wife as the duo Gene and Francesca. His fiction was comprised mostly of plays and includes Last Island (1954), the comedies One's a Crowd (1949) and Amata (1951), and the 1956 television play Old Friend. It was with his song "Those Were the Days," however, that Raskin had his greatest success. Adapted from the Russian folk song "Dorogoj Dlinnoyu," Raskin's version drew the attention of Paul McCartney, the Beatles song writer and singer who was looking for music to produce for his group's record label, Apple. The song, in a version performed by Mary Hopkin, was released on Apple in 1968 and became the company's most successful non-Beatle hit. It has since been performed by numerous other entertainers, including Engelbert Humperdink, the Ventures, Roger Whittaker, and the Fifth Dimension. Raskin was also the author of architecture books such as Architecture and People (1974) and the novel Stranger in My Arms (1971).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), June 18, 2004, p. 38.
Los Angeles Times, June 14, 2004, p. B9.
New York Times, June 12, 2004, p. B6.