50 Most Influential People
Litchfield's artists, philanthropists, conservationists, restaurateurs, and more
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These hills are filled with talent and money and dedicated community spirit. We have among us great artists and shop owners, non-profit organizers and big-money philanthropists. They use their time, talent, and resources to improve this corner of paradise and to weave a certain charm into the fabric of Litchfield County.
The owner of the Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Keilty brings authors big and small to share their love of reading with a community that cherishes the written word.
Co-founder of Literacy Volunteers on the Green, a program dedicated to improving literacy in the targeted towns of Bridgewater, Kent, New Milford, Roxbury, Sherman, Warren, and Washington, Maitland has helped over 200 newcomers to the area learn to speak, read, and write English.
A philanthropist living in South Kent, she directed a documentary “Dancing Across Borders,” which tells the story of her experience helping a young Cambodian dancer Sy Sar pursue a career. Her fundraising and community organizing skills are legendary.
Barbara Spiegel and Nancy Rogers
Spiegel is executive director and Rogers is a driving force with others of the Susan B. Anthony Project, which helps survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
The former CEO of Avon Products, Inc., he has helped create modern-day Kent, through development and stewardship of the local business community. He and his family now manage the Kent Village Barn Shops.
His love and knowledge of music makes his lectures on the topic the harmony of northwest Connecticut.
The president of Whitney Radio and editorial director of WVOX and WRTN, he is an authoritative voice on air and around town.
James O’Shea and Charles Kafferman
For 20 years these two gentlemen have welcomed sophisticated diners into their West Street Grill for superb food, conviviality, and an unforgettable experience.
With her husband she operates the iconic Good News Café, using locally grown seasonal ingredients and a magic touch.
Denis and Ann Leary
Denis is a comedic actor whose “Rescue Me” entertains millions. Ann is an author—her most recent novel is Outtakes From a Marriage. The couple’s charity, the Leary Fighters Foundation, funds fire departments nationally.
This former New York Times writer has brought big-city sophistication to Litchfield with ruralintelligence.com.
Editor of the Litchfield County Times, he is the weekly voice of the region.
Former executive at Time Inc., he is president of the Steep Rock Land Trust and serves on the board of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. A notable keeper of the lands.
Owner of White Flower Farm, his true passion is the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Project, an effort to protect critical watershed and farmland.
A realtor, she represents the Harney family, which operates the Harney Tea Company and supports local organizations.
The driving force behind the revitalization of Warren—including the Rooster Tail Inn and General Store.
With two National Book Awards and a Pulitzer, he is one of America’s most admired purveyors of ideas.
Adam Van Doren
He carries on the Van Doren legacy intellectually and physically, by maintaining the farm and lands in Cornwall.
Diane von Furstenberg
Revered fashion designer, she sketches numerous local fundraisers, chief among them, the Housatonic Valley Association’s annual auction.
Oscar de La Renta
One of the world’s leading fashion designers, he is a consummate host and supporter of local organizations.
A taste-maker and entertainer. An invitation to Weatherstone, her home in Sharon, is on everyone’s wish list.
This New Milford dwelling comedian, writer, and actress is an iconoclast, community spirit, and legend.
She brings savvy marketing ideas to local projects, such as the Litchfield County Writers Project, based at UConn, Torrington.
Author of The Celts, Tipperary, and more, with wife Diane Meier he brings intellectual life to Kent.
With the other elected officials among us, he carries the hopes and wishes of northwest Connecticut, in his case to the floor of the U.S. House.
For the past three decades she has become godmother of area real estate, gaining an intimacy with every significant property in the region.
New Yorker staff writer, this Washington resident commits his non-writing hours to zoning for his community.
Owner of the spectacular Winvian Resort, she brings elegance to Litchfield.
President of documentary and family programming for HBO, Nevins channels that experience into her Bantam Cinema.
Editing Vanity Fair, the world’s most sophisticated society magazine, certainly carries its own degree of influence.
This longtime colleague of Rupert Murdoch, she recently founded the Women’s Enterprise Initiative to help female entrepreneurs succeed.
Henry and Nancy Kissinger
This most famous international diplomat and magnetic socialite wife host soirées in their Kent home, while providing goodwill community gestures.
With a trail of acting honors, he has led “Law & Order” by night and raised cows by day on his Cornwall farm.
Priscilla and James Buckley
Two of the ten Buckley children who grew up on Sharon’s Great Elm Estate, where they live today. Priscilla was an AP writer and managing editor of National Review; James was a U.S. senator, federal judge, and assistant secretary of state.
Owner of Lime Rock Park and founder of one of the world’s most famous racing schools, the former race-car driver has brought international fame to the northwest corner.
The Litchfield County Writers Project celebrates our county’s remarkable literary talent, and as its director, Verstandig has helped attract such writers as Arthur Miller, Charles Van Doren, Honor Moore, and Frank McCourt to its UConn Torrington programs.
Along with Joe Concannon, Neller put together the Litchfield seven-mile road race that for 34 years now has been a regional powerhouse of a running race and an attraction for out-of-towners.
Owner and inspiration behind the 7,000-square-foot Morrison Gallery in Kent, he brings his influence through the bold and often grand art that he shows but also as a representative of the large Litchfield County gallery scene.
He led the effort to revitalize Infinity Hall, the late 19th-century music hall, into a gorgeous entertainment venue, attracting people from all over to its restaurant, performances, and events.
As executive director of the beautifully restored Warner Theater, he represents the intellectual fortitude, financial doggedness, and creative beauty that saved this gem of a cultural arts center in Torrington from demise.
A talented painter and community supporter, she represents the tremendously vibrant visual arts community, with her bold strokes and colors.
An acclaimed actress, she brings her fame and talents to support the arts in the region, where she lives with husband and playwright David Rabe.
As part of the Churchill family in Sharon that has been bringing quality design and construction to the region, he has been a pioneer in “green” building.
A leading purveyor of lifestyle design, J. Seitz & Co. has made New Preston a shopping destination.
He and partner John Truex built a brand around their eponymous handbag and accessories business and now bring those talents to Tiffany & Co.