Philanthropist From Great Neck Dies

Barbara Berger Keller

By Barbara Sutton Masry

Former Great Neck resident and elementary school teacher Barbara Berger Keller died on April 15 at her home in Rancho Mirage, CA. She was 75.

Barbara was a writer, theater director and producer, who served on the board of the North Shore Community Arts Center. She wrote Film, Tape and TV: Where Do I Fit In? and Orgasmic Days in the South of France.

She also worked as a business agent for the script supervisors/production coordinators local of the film industry union IATSE.

Along with her second husband, Jerry Keller, her time was split for many years between New York, California and the south of France. Eventually, the couple settled in Rancho Mirage, where she devoted her life to philanthropy, passionately raising money for organizations, such as the Desert Aids Project, Palm Springs Art Museum, Jewish Family Service of the Desert, McCallum Theater and many others.

The two restaurants the Kellers established, Lulu in Palm Springs and Acqua in Rancho Mirage, are wildly popular. She has received numerous humanitarian awards and a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame.

Her unusually loving extended family includes her ex-husband, Michael Berger; children, Brad Berger and Lindsay Berger Sacks; stepdaughters, née Kelly and Lisa Keller; their mates; and seven grandchildren.

Barbara was a gracious, elegant, humble woman, who brought a blaze of color and creativity to whatever she endeavored. Her loss is deeply painful to those who knew her. Read more about her at

Since 1972 when Keller taught Masry’s daughter a French song at the Baker Hill summer kindergarten program, Masry, a former Great Neck pre-K teacher, writer and producer, and Keller have been everlasting friends.

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