It’s hard to believe Terry Allen Kramer is gone. She died in New York on Thursday at age 85, according to reports.
Terry was a dynamo. Armed with her father’s fortune from founding the investment firm Allen & Co., Terry put her money into Broadway and was a winner. She backed dozens of shows that received dozens of nominations, and won several, too, for the recent revival of “Hello, Dolly!” as well as “The Humans,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Cage aux Folles,” and Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?”
With her gravely voice, sunburnt skin, and glittery formal skirts, Terry the epitome of old world glamour, fashion and fun. But she was also a tough broad, a real dame, and smart as a whip. She didn’t suffer fools gladly, but she really appreciated a good time. If she’d been a man, she would have been a Master of the Universe equal to her brothers or her father.
Her father, Charles Allen, started Allen & Co. in 1933. His son ran it, and now his nephew is the CEO. Allen & Co. stays out of the headlines, and runs like a stealth submarine. Their only PR comes from their annual summer meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho for billionaire chiefs of media companies. The gathering has become legendary.
Terry Allen was married three times, and she had three children. The Kramer came from her long marriage to investment banker Irwin Kramer, who worked for her father. The last years of her life she was married to Nick Simunek, who died in 2014. Nick’s death didn’t slow Terry down. She was the queen of Palm Beach society and a force to be reckoned with.
But she was also a great friend to so many people. Her honesty and authenticity made her disarming. Think of her as the good version of Cersei Lannister. She was a beneficent ruler. So much of Broadway history since the late 70s wouldn’t have happened without her. A lot of front line producers who needed her support must really be in mourning today. She will be sorely missed.
Terry’s story isn’t over, yet, either. Her Palm Beach estate, La Follia, went on the market last November for a whopping $135 million. With massive beach frontage, La Follia itself is 37,516 square feet! It was built in 1995, so it doesn’t have the history of Mar-a-Lago, but it’s 100 times more tasteful, a Tony-winning Terry Allen Kramer production.