‘Flossy’ Statue to be annual award at PB Film Festival


By: Dale King Special to the Boca Newspaper
The city’s cultural arts, artistic and charitable communities lost one of their most generous supporters when Florence “Flossy” Keesely passed away in January at age 101.
She will long be remembered for her involvement in civic and entertainment activities, her sponsorship of the annual “Pathway to the Stars” shows for young talent and her endorsement of the Boca Raton Rotary Club’s “Future Stars” programs.
Perhaps her most enduring mark on Boca Raton is “Flossy’s Fountain,” the bronze statue at the north end of Mizner Park that shows the “Champion of the Arts” reaching for a star – a theme of her life’s work of supporting and encouraging talented young performers.
Yaacov Heller, the famed artist who created Flossy’s full-size bronze statue, has crafted a 17-inch model – also in bronze – that is being awarded each year by the Palm Beach International Film Festival. The first statuette – called the “Flossy Award” – was presented on opening night of this year’s festival to Yvonne Boice, its former board chairwoman now chair emeritus. PBIFF Executive Director Jeff Davis presented Boice with the honor to recognize her dedication and exemplary service to the arts and to the annual film program.
Of the statuette, Heller said: “This will keep Flossy’s spirit alive as she was devoted to finding young talent and getting them up on the stage and screen.”
The full-size statue of Flossy stands atop her fountain at the entrance to the Mizner Park Amphitheater. It was on that spot a few months ago that friends of the late philanthropist gathered to pay their respects to the woman who touched the heart of so many people in Boca. Flossy’s only surviving relative is a cousin in Europe.
Born Florence Bosenkopf on April 18, 1914, in Philadelphia, Flossy pioneered the new medium of television by co-hosting the first TV talk show, “Your Television Shopper,” in 1948, with co-host Kathi Norris.
In the 1930s, she began dating Nicholas “Nick” Keesely, an advertising executive, first in the radio industry and then during the “Golden Age of Television.” They married in June 1932 and enjoyed 67 happy years together.
Nick retired in the 1960s, and the couple moved to Florida, first settling in Fort Lauderdale in 1966 and in Boca Raton 10 years later. Flossy moved to a penthouse in Highland Beach after Nick’s death in 1999. The walls of the top-floor unit that offered views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean were covered with autographed photos of famous friends such as Perry Como, Dennis James, Red Skelton, Ted Mack, Desi Arnaz and Jackie Gleason.
Flossy wooed many new friends in recent years, including Yaacov and Sue Heller, fellow members of the Boca Raton Rotary Club, Ben and Rosemary Krieger and Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle. Flossy and the Countess had actually been friends since the time both lived in New York.
Flossy produced a pilot television program for youngsters called “E-Venture Kids” that featured a young Ariana Grande, now a famous pop singer. Country artist Lizzie Sider also got a boost in her career by appearing in all five of Flossy’s “Pathway to the Stars” shows.
A memoir of Flossy’s life called “Thru the Footsteps of Time” was published and distributed on her 100th birthday in April 2014.