The Original Pilates Book




Philip Friedman grew up and went to public schools in Yonkers NY, convinced that he was going to make his life in mathematics or the physical sciences. He spent his college years majoring in math, and even in went to graduate school. Ultimately, though, he decided to follow an interest in the law that had been sparked by a high school civics project.

At law school he re-encountered a math-major friend of his, now in the graduate film department. As a result, Friedman spent most of his L-1 year far from the law school classrooms, working on his friend's masters-degree short film. It was a great success, as student short films go, and Friedman was hooked. As he finished law school and studied for the bar, he and his friend wrote a feature film script called Rage which was produced by Warner Brothers, starring George C. Scott and Martin Sheen. Friedman also wrote a novel using the same basic storyline and characters, which was published to favorable notices and was featured by the Literary Guild.

One summer in the mid Seventies Friedman was visiting his longtime friend Gail Eisen and her husband, and after his morning run he was doing some stretching and situps. “That’s no way to do that,” Eisen said, and proceeded to show him the Pilates version of what he was attempting. The difference was astonishing. Shortly afterward, he began to study seriously at the Pilates Studio in New York, often at the same time Eisen was there. One morning, as often happened, they were there alone being taught by Romana Kryzanowska, the doyenne of the studio, and the three of them got to talking about the need for a book describing the method. Two years later they published The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning.

Friedman has also published several novels. His novels Reasonable Doubt, Inadmissible Evidence and Grand Jury spent a total of 26 weeks on The New York Times' bestseller lists, and appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His cold war thriller, Termination Order, called "one of the best of the year," was a New York Times Notable Book. He has written for The New York Times, Elle, and The Forward, among others. He also created a television series, The Story of Billy Clay, in conjunction with the USIA, Macmillan Publishers and Reeves Communications.

As a lawyer, he continued to practice until a few years ago, representing writers and others in the entertainment business. He also serves on the board of directors of Learning in Focus, which was the producing company of, among others, the American Short Story series on PBS.

After a few years' break from writing during which he served as the senior legal and business affairs executive of a motion-picture-technology company, and then studied architecture, he is now completing a new novel.

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Gail Eisen was born in New Haven, Connecticut, daughter of a Yale Medical School Professor of Radiology, which is probably the reason she quickly discovered she had a gene for studying science.

And, so she did – for four years at Sarah Lawrence College and for one at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. But after a year hanging around the cadavers in Anatomy class and the microscopes in Histology, she realized she was on the wrong track. So she got a job at Time. Inc., where she stayed for 10 years, reporting and researching for the Medicine and Science sections. However, when she was assigned to the Press section during the Watergate era, she found her calling for journalism taking her too far from her love of science. This time, she decided to try for job at CBS News. Her new career would be in television.

Shortly after she arrived at CBS, she was assigned to 60 Minutes, then the number one show on TV. She worked for Morley Safer and then Mike Wallace and also produced medicine stories for Walter Cronkite's Universe and the CBS Morning News.

While working long hours at both Time and CBS, she always found time for exercising, mostly taking ballet classes or gymnastics. Then, in 1971 a friend told her about the Pilates Method and that’s when she began to go to one of the few Pilates Studios in New York.. Her first and primary teacher was Romana Kryzanowska, one of the few living direct disciples of Joe Pilates. She had the opportunity to meet and work with other of Joe’s longtime pupils, including Bruce King, Eve Gentry and Kathy Grant.

Gail’s early devotion to the Pilates Method was featured in major articles in Time Magazine and the New York Daily News. She has now practiced Pilates regularly since 1971.

Meanwhile, her television career continued to thrive. After many years of writing and producing headline pieces for 60 Minutes, she went on to be one of the first producers at 60 Minutes II. More recently she was a senior producer at “Eye on People,” a CBS owned cable network, where she produced ninety hours of 60 Minutes More, updates of notable pieces selected from more than 30 years of 60 Minutes shows. Those segments became the model for the “Classics” which now appear regularly on 60 Minutes.

Gail retired from CBS News in 2000 and now practices classical music at the piano, French lessons three times a week and of course, Pilates.

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