Dugout buddies: Tom Werner (left) and Russell Goldsmith used to co-own the Padres
When they first met as roommates in their sophomore year at Harvard College, Beverly Hills native Russell Goldsmith had the sheen of Hollywood on him, and Tom Werner was looking to make the acquaintance of a particularly pretty classmate. “Tom was very welcoming,” says Goldsmith. “Little did I realize he had an ulterior motive—he wanted to meet this girl I knew, Wendy.”
Although things didn’t pan out with Wendy, Werner, now co-owner of the Boston Red Sox and the coproducer of That ’70s Show and other TV hits, and Goldsmith, CEO of City National Bank in California, have a relationship that’s spanned more than five decades. Together they ran the Dunster House drama review and even filmed a documentary about Israel on a trip there in 1971. That film project turned out to be a harbinger of sorts. Since graduating in 1971, the pair worked together at ABC and Republic Pictures, and co-owned the San Diego Padres. Although the sports and television industries seem dissimilar, Werner says that in the end, it’s all about creating a quality product.
These days, the guys see each other when Werner flies out to Los Angeles to meet with his production team on NBC’s new sitcom, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea, or when Goldsmith flies into Boston to cheer on the Sox with Werner from his owner’s box in the EMC Club.
Maybe their lasting relationship has something to do with their mutual admiration and easy camaraderie. “Tom continues to be a creative force in American culture and he does it with integrity. If it wasn’t for Tom, I never would have tried to own a baseball team. Even his golf game is admirable.”
Werner speaks just as highly of Goldsmith. “He’s someone I’ve always turned to for wisdom and advice,” he says. “We played golf last weekend, and Russell won’t tell you he hit every single fairway.”
Back in their early days at Dunster House, they didn’t have time for the links, but they did dine often at Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, which serves a creation Goldsmith is dying to try: the Tom Werner burger. When Bartley’s names a sandwich after you, it’s a sure sign you’ve made it.