Paul's surname during his Times Squares days was spelled Berné.
Pine Plains – Paul Harris Berna, 80, a nine year resident of Pine Plains, NY formerly of Copake and New York City died peacefully on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at his home in Pine Plains. Mr. Berna was a professional dancer and hairstylist in New York City for many years prior to his retirement.
Born November 14, 1936 in Chicago, IL he was the son of the late Victor W. and Margaret L. Groen Berna. He attended and graduated high school in Chicago and was a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute.
Paul is survived by his sister, Carolyn Williams Glomb, a niece, Dawn Nevel; dear friends, Anne and Steve Whitehouse of Copake, Anne Veteran of Millerton, Heather Thomson of North Egremont and his companion Dylan Ftera of Pine Plains and New York City and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Paul was predeceased by four siblings.
Pine Plains - Paul Harris Berna, age 80 of Pine Plains, New York, and New York City. July 29, 2017. Beloved friend, companion, partner, brother, uncle, and cousin, Paul brought a great zest for life and artistic sensibility to all he did and in all he excelled—dance, carpentry, painting, stenciling, gardening, cooking.
Born in 1936 to Victor and Margaret Berna in Chicago, the youngest of six children, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago for two years before discovering dance in 1958. He studied ballet and then joined the Sybil Shearer Modern Dance Company. He came to New York in 1960 on full scholarship from Martha Graham. When she learned about his artistic background, she put him to work refurbishing her sets with Isamu Noguchi. He spent two seasons with the Opera Ballet in New York and Philadelphia, appearing in "Coppélia," "La Giaconda," "The Merry Widow," and more. He danced in City Center's "Oklahoma" and "Brigadoon" under Agnes de Mille and Gemze de Lappe and in "To Broadway with Love" at the 1964 World's Fair. His Broadway career included "Come Summer," "I Had a Ball," "Her First Roman," and, most memorably, "Hello Dolly," where he performed for five years, dancing with Martha Raye, Ethel Merman, Phyllis Diller, Ginger Rogers, and Betty Grable. He was in the "Hello Dolly" company that Martha Raye brought to entertain the troops in Vietnam in 1968, performing the entire musical all over the DMZ with full costumes and sets on two flatbed trucks, an experience that was a high point of his life. He appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and in the movie of "Sweet Charity." When he retired from dance, he became a master hair cutter and stylist, a business he had for nearly 50 years. In 2014 he was honored by Dancers Over 40 for his many contributions, and in April 2017 he was embraced by Bette Midler and the entire cast of the "Hello, Dolly" revival.
He leaves his partner, Dylan Ftera, of Manhattan; a sister, Margaret Carolyn Glomb, of Arkansas, as well as nieces, nephews, and many, many friends, in whose memories he will shine forever. Donations in his memory may be made to Dancers Over 40, www.dancersover40.org.
There are no calling hours. Arrangements are under the direction of the Scott D. Conklin Funeral, 37 Park Avenue, Millerton, NY 12546. To send an online condolence please visit www.conklinfuneralhome.com
Paul Berna, who joined Times Squares in 1990, passed away recently. He will be truly missed. Barbara Joyce Lesko shared a wonderful memory online: "REST IN PEACE dear Paul Berna. WHEN we met in square dancing and you told me your email was WASADANCER I said but you are a (square) dancer - that was before i knew Paul had been a talented dancer on Broadway ... WASLOVEDBYALL"
There is also this picture from Facebook and Paul's comment: How many people do you know to have had their hand up Barbara Eden’s leg while digging her high heel into his shoulder? No, I’m not a perv, just giving her the support she needed. Opening of new Madison Square Garden 1968.<ref>Times Squares website, 2 Aug 2017
- The Harlem Valley News (Pawling, NY) Saturday, 29 Jul 2017
- Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, NY) Sunday, 6 Aug 2017