Daniel Shapiro and the late Irene Diamond at a New York Choreographic
Institute session in NYCB Rose Building studios
Photo © Paul Kolnik
Irene Diamond was born and educated in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She had a career of over 30 years in the film industry, working as a senior story and talent editor for Warner Brothers. Among her many credits is the purchase and development of the script for Casablanca.
She became President of the Aaron Diamond Foundation, which she and her husband had established in the 1950s, after his sudden death in 1985. The Foundation was dedicated to support of the arts and culture, medical research, human rights and minority education.
When the Aaron Diamond Foundation closed its books in 1996, Mrs. Diamond created The Irene Diamond Fund. She fought for gun control, started the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center for the City of New York, and demonstrated her commitment to dance through funding for the New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project, a showcase presenting new ballets, and the creation of the New York Choreographic Institute.
President Clinton awarded her the National Medal of the Arts in 1999, and she joined Mrs. Brooke Astor, the Rockefeller Family, George Soros, Walter Annenberg, Ted Turner and the Gates Family receiving the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2001
She was a visionary and a distinguished philanthropist, dedicated to the defense and protection of human rights, determined to eradicate HIV/AIDS, and devoted to dance, the arts and the support of young people and their future.
Ms. Diamond passed away in 2003 at the age of 92.