Andrew Sager is a survivor
I noticed that Andrew Sager was missing from the pages of Facebook about six weeks ago. I became concerned because he frequently posted pictures of his two handsome children, Mildred, 20, and Charles,18. Andrew now lives in Beverly Hills and is divorced from the mother of his kids. After clicking on Andrew’s page, I discovered that he was recovering from a near death experience and was recuperating in a rehab center in Santa Monica, CA. I posted a message to someone, who I identified as his sister, to find out what had happened to him. A few hours later she answered saying that Andrew was very sick but well enough to call me directly.
I’ve known Andrew for 37 years, because he became a business partner of Stanley Hochstadt, the original H in HWH PR. Stanley and Andrew were drumming up a lot of business designing album covers in the record business. Stanley was supposed to be focused on the advertising side of HWH. Most of the business we secured in the very early days was all public relations oriented.
Stanley, a really good guy, was trying to handle several businesses at once but they all didn’t work out. Stanley probably felt a sense of relief when we suggested the split. The three of us, along with Stanley’s wife Sandy, remained friends for years, but then we lost contact. Over the years, I bumped into Andrew a number of times in Manhattan (at one time he was a partner in the steak restaurant Manhattan Cafe).
Andrew was very distinguished looking, extremely popular with women. At one time, he was married to singer-song writer Carole Bayer Sager (she kept his name). He was the son of a very successful real estate mogul in New York and had five siblings. The Sagers were on top of the social scene.
Andrew and Stanley’s business finally petered out after a few years. Andrew eventually married a very pretty French woman. Together they had two children and moved to Los Angeles.
Twenty years passed without one Andrew Sager sighting. Six years ago, Eliot and I were walking uptown on Second Avenue to our local coffee shop, Silver Star, and there was Andrew. He was standing alone waiting for someone. He told us he broke up with his wife, was done buying and selling businesses, and now was a salesperson in the Apple Store in West Hollywood.
I was eager to know how someone in his sixties fared in a store that catered to and employed 20-year-olds. Andrew said he loved being a part of the Apple culture, and that the energy in the store kept him young. We exchanged contact information and became Facebook friends. I was happy that Andrew was part of a business community I strongly identified with.
For some reason, I didn’t notice Andrew’s five month absence from Facebook until I spotted pictures of him in what I thought was a hospital bed. When Andrew called, he told me that last May he got triple pneumonia. While he was in the hospital, he contracted MRSA. His entire body shut down, and Andrew was unconscious for several months. When he finally woke up, he had lost most muscle control in his body and had to learn to do everything all over again, including swallowing.
When we spoke, I knew we were going to LA for Thanksgiving, so I told him I definitely wanted to visit him. Eliot and I spent ninety minutes with Andrew this past Monday. He should be getting out of rehab in another month or two.
Like all people our age, we spent time reminiscing about the past and shared stories about folks we all knew. Andrew has a strong will to live. That is what got him through the horror of being near death. Frankly, family and friends who saw him during this period had their doubts.
This is a guy with a strong constitution. He managed to get through every occupational, speech, and mental therapy they offered him. He has a lot of living yet to do. His bed was covered with electronics: iPad, Kindle, iPhone, and a few other gizmos. He may have been out of it for a few months, but his technology is helping him to make up for lost time.
There is no doubt about it. We are going to be more than Facebook friends from now on. Andrew, we are very proud of you.