William Riseman (1911 – 1982) was a highly accomplished architect who specialized in designing motion picture theaters. He was thought to have designed more film theaters in the United States than any other individual or firm. He did work for General Cinema, National Amusements, Loews Corporation and Redstone Cinemas. He was also the designer of the Latin Quarter nightclubs in New York and Boston and the executive offices of the Farber Cancer Institute and the Redstone Laboratory of the Jimmy Fund in Boston. A mural he painted in the Lynn Massachusetts post office in the 1930s “The History of America,” has since been declared a National Historic Monument.
Educated at Yale School of Fine Arts he won several scholarships. By age 25 he held seven first prize medals awarded by the Beaux Arts Institute of Design of New York for excellence in murals. Some of his works adorn lobbies and salons of Boston, Portland and New York hotels and public institutions. Bill’s connection to Temple Beth Israel was through his parents who lived in Brooklyn, Connecticut. His father and uncle owned and operated a chicken and Rock Cornish hen farming business in partnership with the entertainer, Victor Borge .
When he learned about the plans for building a Temple, Bill went to work designing the building. His mother, Mary Riseman, a member of the Temple community, donated the stone used to build the building. Bill’s mother died in 1950. Bill completed the design work in her memory at no charge to the community.