Mark Fleischman, Former Studio 54 Owner, Dead at 82 via Physicians Assisted Suicide

Mark Fleischman
Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Mark Fleischman, the one-time owner of the famed Studio 54 club in New York City during the 1980s, has died via physicians assisted suicide in Switzerland. He was 82.

According to multiple reports, Fleischman's assisted suicide happened Wednesday in Zurich at the Dignitas clinic. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, and Dignitas has been operating since 2002. It was just weeks ago when Fleischman revealed to the New York Post that he planned on seeking the help of the nonprofit assisted suicide group to end his life.

According to the outlet, the procedure stemmed from Fleischman's inability to do even the simplest things in life.

"I can't walk, my speech is f**ked up and I can't do anything for myself," he told The Post at the time. "My wife helps me get into bed and I can't dress or put on my shoes. I am taking a gentle way out. It is the easiest way out for me."

According to reports, Dignitas provides a lethal dose of barbiturates, but only after one undergoes a lengthy screening process.

Mark Fleischman
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

It's been reported that Fleischman's steady decline started in 2016. The Post reported that neurologists were unable to diagnose his condition. His wife of nearly 30 years told the outlet that "it is worse than not being able to walk." She said her husband "doesn't have balance. He drops things and does not know where his body is in space."

She added that doctors initially thought he had a form of Parkinson's but, in actuality, no one's been able to say for sure.

Studio 54 first opened in 1977 and quickly became a hotbed for the rich and famous. Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor were early guests. Its two original owners were ultimately locked up following tax evasion charges. Fleischman reportedly bought the club in November 1980 for $4.75 million, and he ran it until he sold it in 1984. The club closed for good two years later.

In his book titled Inside Studio 54, Fleischman recalled being "swept up" by the club's luring powers.

"From the very first night we opened, in 1981, I was swept up in a world of celebrities, drugs, power and sex," Fleischman wrote. "Every night, celebrities and stunning women made their way through the crowd, up the stairs to my office to sip champagne and share lines of cocaine using my golden straw or rolled-up $100 bills."

"I was the guy in control, the owner -- the host of the party," he continued. "It was my duty, my job, to make sure everyone had a good time. It was a responsibility, a heady feeling, one that I gave myself over to wholeheartedly. It was an exclusive world where anything could happen."

Daniel Fitzgerald, who co-owned the Century Club with Mark Fleischman, posted a video of a "living wake" he threw Mark on July 4th. "I’m so glad we were able to spend this time together, and I will always treasure it," he wrote. 

Some 30-plus years later since its closure, Studio 54's lore looms large in Hollywood. According to Deadline, the famed club is the focus of the next iteration in FX's American Crime Story anthology -- Studio 54: American Crime Story.


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