Michigan Remembers 9‑11

Laurence Michael Polatsch, 32; a graduate of the University of Michigan, he was a partner at Cantor Fitzgerald. Trained as an attorney, Polatsch changed careers six years prior so he wouldn’t have to “fight with people the rest of his life,” said his father, Bernard Polatsch.  Two friends and Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity brothers, Scott Weingard and Marc Zeplin, were also killed on September 11, 2001.  Their names are listed together on Panel N-27 at the North Pool 9-11 Memorial.  

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 2, 2001

Laurence Michael Polatsch, an equities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, hardly lacked for chutzpah, and may just have raised the meaning of the word to a new level. He was a free spirit who was able to talk his way into companies’ holiday parties at Manhattan hotels year after year.

Forget the pride he felt at having successfully crashed the Plaza Hotel wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. He truly met his Everest on the day he was browsing at a magazine store in downtown Manhattan and the actress Julia Roberts stopped by. Mr. Polatsch said hi, then asked her out “for dinner or a cup of coffee,” recalled his mother, Linda. The actress paused, then declined — but made a point of thanking him. A few months later, in an “Entertainment Tonight” interview, Ms. Roberts wondered over the airwaves why she did not go out with that guy who tried to pick her up by the magazines.

Mr. Polatsch called the show, which then broadcast him re-enacting his proposition at the same store. Remembering the incident in the current issue of Esquire magazine, Ms. Roberts recalled that “there was a certain charm to his chutzpah.”

Many of those who attended Mr. Polatsch’s memorial celebration in Woodbury, on Long Island, where he grew up, told the story about the big date with the movie star that was not to be, and many others. “He was charismatic and fun-loving,” his mother said, “and made everyone feel terrific.”