Norman Peck, Patron Owner of Carlyle Hotel, Dies at 80

  • New Yorker led Peter Jay Sharp Foundation for over two decades
  • The Carlyle was New York home for U.S. presidents and Diana

Norman L. Peck in 2007.

Photographer: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg

Norman L. Peck, who led a group that sold New York’s Carlyle Hotel and directed millions of dollars to the city’s arts institutions as head of a philanthropic foundation, has died. He was 80.

He died April 16 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, his daughter, Dominique Peck-Meyer, said Monday in a telephone interview. The cause was melanoma.

As managing director of the Carlyle in 2001, Peck led the sale of the Upper East Side hotel for $130 million to Maritz, Wolff & Co., which owned $2 billion worth of lodging properties around the world. The price for the then 71-year-old hotel, which had hosted every U.S. president since Harry Truman, equaled $722,000 per room, at the time second only to the 1999 sale of the Four Seasons.

In 1967, Peck was part of a group that bought the Carlyle, which became a favorite New York address for singer Bobby Short and visitors such as Diana, Princess of Wales, for $15.5 million. His partners included Jerome L. Greene and Peter Jay Sharp, whose family owned the Stanhope Hotel on Fifth Avenue near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to a 2001 article in the New York Times.

Largest Gift

When Sharp died in 1992, Peck became president of the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and following the sale of the Carlyle, was wholly focused on financing cultural and medical institutions in the city. In 2004, he directed a $20 million gift to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, then the largest donation the performance center had received, according to the New York Sun. BAM renamed its main theater the Peter Jay Sharp Building.

“After Peter died, the foundation’s board asked me to take on the presidency,” Peck said in a Bloomberg interview in 2007. “I was happy to do it as a philanthropic act.” Peck said he received “a lot of psychic income out of it.”

In 2005, Peck directed a foundation gift of $25 million to the Juilliard School at Lincoln Center in New York for the construction of the Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

“Norman brought great vision and generosity to his work,” Joseph W. Polisi, president of the Juilliard School, said in an e-mailed statement.

Early Life

Norman Lloyd Peck was born June 12, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the son of Solon Peck, an attorney, and the former Helen Dank. The family moved to Westchester County, north of New York City, when he was a child.

He attended Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey, and Princeton University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1957. Later that year, he joined New York-based Douglas L. Elliman Co., a real estate brokerage.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife, the former Liliane Grand-Perret; his son, Ian, from a previous marriage; and three grandchildren.

(Corrects spelling of Juilliard in the seventh paragraph of story published April 19.)
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