Studio 54 owner recalls partying with Rick James in tell-all

Mark Fleischman, the second owner of the illustrious Studio 54 in the early ’80s, partied like a disco star and lived to tell about it. In his upcoming book, “Inside Studio 54,” he pulls back the velvet rope.

“My office was the place where everyone would come to do drugs,” he tells us. “Robin Williams would entertain and John Belushi was there all the time. Liza (Minelli) stopped in.”

He made many lasting friendships including one with the late Rick James.

“We were both born on Feb. 1 and we ended up having joint birthday parties together. They were wild,” he recalled. “Rick was doing lines of cocaine on the bar with everybody.”

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“Super Freak” funk and soul singer Rick James, seen her in 1987, partied hard at Studio 54.

(George Rose/Getty Images)

Despite all the hedonism, Fleischman managed to avoid prison – but he did have to visit the original owners in the big house. The illustrious Roy Cohn, who was Donald Trump’s lawyer, had him pose as a fellow attorney to get access to the prison past regular visiting hours to see Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager.

“We could only go on visiting days as civilians and that was every other Sunday,” he recalled. “But one day, Roy Cohn said ‘meet me on Tuesday’ and I couldn’t understand it because I knew I couldn’t get in on a Tuesday. He made up a little card that said, ‘Mark Fleischman, attorney at law.’ I was scared to death launching into a federal prison with doors closing behind me.”

“I wasn’t surprised that they went to jail,” Mark said of Rubell and Schrager. “They were guilty. And they admitted it.”

Club owner Mark Fleischman hosted Studio 54's VIP parties in his office

Club owner Mark Fleischman hosted Studio 54’s VIP parties in his office

(Corkery, Richard)

Ironically, the friendships he formed with Rubell and Schrager got Fleischman out of the club biz.

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“Steve said something funny to me,” he recalled. “He said, ‘You know, I hate being (in prison). But the pressure of having to entertain people all day and all night every night was really getting to me. I’m glad that’s over with.’ I didn’t know what he meant. But after three-and-a-half years of owning Studio 54, I felt the same way.”

“Inside Studio 54” hits stores Sept. 19.

With Paris Hampton

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rick james
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inside studio 54
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