WebRTC Solutions Industry News

TMCNet:  Bernice Novack, former model and wife of Fontainebleau hotelier

[April 09, 2009]

Bernice Novack, former model and wife of Fontainebleau hotelier

Apr 09, 2009 (The Miami Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Bernice Novack, a foster child-turned-1950s fashion model and one half of the husband-and-wife team that brought the Fontainebleau Hotel to Miami Beach, died earlier this week from injuries sustained during a recent slip and fall. She was 87.

The second of hotelier Ben Novack's three wives, it was Bernice who was at Ben's side -- entertaining both celebrities and world leaders -- when the Fontainebleau opened in 1954.

Ben and Bernice met in New York in the late 1940s. Ben had already moved to Miami, but the Brooklyn native was then still a frequent visitor to the Big Apple, according to their son, Ben Jr.

Bernice, after a bumpy childhood that included time in a foster home, worked as a fashion model for the likes of Salvador Dali and Coca-Cola. Her hair was a vibrant red -- a color it would remain all her days.

"He flipped for her," Ben Jr. said.

But there was a more than slight problem: Ben was still married to his first wife at the time.

MARRIED MAN "She didn't want to date a married man and made it very clear to him," Ben Jr. said. 'A year later or two years later he showed up with a divorce certificate and said, 'Now can we date?' " The couple married in 1951, and Ben Jr. was born five years later. He grew up living in the Fontainebleau's penthouse suite.

"It was a glamour life," Ben Jr. said. He remembered, as a child, meeting every president from Kennedy to Ford and watching his parents mingle with "Rat Pack" celebrities like Frank Sinatra.

Over time, the hotel became a celebrity in its own right, featured in movies that included Goldfinger and Scarface.

What made the Fontainebleau special? Where to start? There was its glittery sophistication, its unconventional, crescent-shaped design.

It was also just plain big -- 535 rooms when it opened, more than 1,500 rooms today.

"The Novack family built a magnificent hotel," said Michael Aller, tourism and convention director for the city of Miami Beach. "It was a five-star hotel . . . the most elegant place to vacation in the world." But in the late 1970s, after Ben and Bernice had divorced, Miami Beach had fallen on hard times. Ben Novack Sr. declared bankruptcy.

The self-dubbed "Mr. Fontainebleau" was stripped of his hotel -- by then a national landmark -- by the courts.

Despite their divorce, Bernice and Ben Sr. "never really parted ways," their son said, and Bernice was on hand in 1983 when Ben's personal art and artifact collection was auctioned off.

IN STORAGE Bernice arrived clad in a tan jumpsuit, white hose and tan heels, her bright hair perfectly coiffed. She told The Miami Herald that watching the items sold off didn't bother her -- after all, they'd been in storage for years.

"You lose the sentiment for it," she said. "They just become objects. I hope the people who buy them find great happiness with them." Ben missed the auction -- he was in a hospital bed being treated for high blood pressure. He died two years later, and Bernice was Ben's primary care-giver and companion in those final years, her son said.

When it came to the Fontainebleau's design, Ben Jr. said his mother played a key role in coming up with the antiques and decor that helped make the place famous.

Ben Jr. said it was his father, not hotel architect Morris Lapidus, who came up with the signature curved building design.

CURVED DESIGN Ben Sr. had the inspiration while sitting on the toilet, his son said, and settled upon a curved shape so that three-quarters of the hotel rooms would enjoy a view of the ocean.

"It had nothing to do, really, with art," Ben Jr. said.

The Fontainebleau nowadays still curves -- and many of its original architectural features have been preserved -- but in other ways it is unrecognizable from its 1950s debut. New owner Jeffrey Soffer completed a $500 million renovation of the property last year, a face-lift that included a new glass-walled spa, 11 restaurants and bars, and an elaborate pool deck.

Neither Bernice nor her son saw the remade hotel, however. Ben Jr. says they weren't invited to the grand opening.

Services will be 4 p.m. Friday at Beth David Memorial Gardens, 3201 N. 72nd Ave., Hollywood. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting a donation to the Broward County Humane Society in Bernice's name.

To see more of The Miami Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.herald.com. Copyright (c) 2009, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

[ Back To WebRTC Solutions's Homepage ]


Featured Podcasts

Delivering First Class Communications With WebRTC

This webcast captures a recent discussion about WebRTC between Jim Donovan, Director of Product Management at Oracle and Larry Hettick, Editorial Director and Senior Research Fellow at Webtorials. The topics cover WebRTC reliability, interoperability, and security--looking at how Oracle addresses these issues.

Oracle in Enterprise Communications

Most in the industry have heard of the acquisition of Acme Packet by Oracle. What you may not know is that Oracle has a number of telecommunications products including a UC suite, WebRTC Session Controller, and Operations monitoring tools. Oracle is pursuing both the enterprise and service provider.

Featured Whitepapers

ConnectCare & Unified Contact Manager

SPAN's ConnectCare is a WebRTC-based telemedicine app, which allows consumers to easily and instantly avail clinical healthcare from the providers, regardless of their location. This app is extremely useful to healthcare providers, patients and their caregivers alike.

WebRTC Security Concerns

This whitepaper covers two of the most relevant topics in communications industry today: WebRTC and security. We will introduce the problem of security in WebRTC including those traditional VoIP attacks that are going to be present in WebRTC services. Later we will mention ad-hoc WebRTC attacks and protection mechanisms, to close with an overview of identity management solutions.

Migrating Real Time Communications Services to the Web

In the Internet age, businesses that own fixed and mobile communication networks, including traditional Communications Service Providers (CSPs) of all kinds, are being challenged with some tough questions: How do we stay relevant to our customers?

Delivering Enterprise-Class Communications with WebRTC

WebRTC is an emerging industry standard for enabling Web browsers with real-time communications capabilities. It enables enterprises to enhance Web sites, empower BYOD users, and improve video collaboration and on-line meetings, to name but a few examples.

WebRTC Report Extract Reprint

This document examines the growing important of WebRTC, both generally and for telecom service providers. It considers the expanding range of use-cases, the multiple layers of interoperability likely to be desired by telcos, and some implications in terms of network integration and mobility.


Robust Enterprise Grade WebRTC Systems and Services

The emerging WebRTC standard has become one of the industry's hottest topics – and with good reason. Being able to "communications enable the web" has Communications Service Providers as well as Enterprises busily making plans for deployment. But, as these plans unfold, reality is starting to intrude on those plans. Our expectations of telephony services are much higher than web browsing. We expect the phone to connect instantly, operate with minimal disruption, and work seamless across any network, anywhere, at any time. There is also an understanding that phone service is inherently secure. With WebRTC, the expectation is for these applications to behave in the same manner.

This session looks at the user experience and expectations of a WebRTC Enterprise service. It will also cover how a WebRTC enterprise handles security, reliability, and interoperability within browsers and networks.


The Oracle Communications WebRTC Session Controller enables communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises to offer WebRTC services – from virtually any device, across virtually any network – with carrier-grade reliability and security.

Sales Presentation: Oracle Communications WebRTC Session Controller

- WebRTC Market and Opportunities
- WebRTC Challenges
- Oracle Communication WebRTC Session   Controller
- Summary


Communication Service Provider (CSP) voice service revenues continue to face pressure due to shifts in communication preferences and competition from non-traditional service providers. Voice communications are now often embedded into applications outside the domain of traditional telephony voice usage. CSPs have been challenged to effectively leverage and monetize new web-oriented communications technologies.