Martin Eli Segal (July 4, 1916 – August 5, 2012) was a Russian Empire-born American businessman who co-founded the Film Society of Lincoln Center in 1969 with two other Lincoln Center executives, William F. May and Schuyler G. Chapin. He also served as the Film Society’s founding president and CEO until 1978. Segal was founding chair of the Commission for Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Assistance Center, and the New York International Festival of the Arts.
Segal was born in Vitebsk, Russian Empire (now located in present-day Belarus), in 1916 and immigrated to the United States. He is a former Associated Press columnist and founder of human resource and benefits consulting firm, The Segal Group, which he founded in October 1939. Segal served as the General Chairman of the Night of 100 Stars II on February 17, 1985, the first AIDS benefit held by the Actors’ Fund of America.
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC), located at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, was renamed for Segal in March 1999. It was founded as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA) in 1979.
The Martin E. Segal Awards were established by Lincoln Center’s Board when Mr. Segal retired as Chairman in 1986. Marking the commitment of the late Mr. Segal to support rising artists, Lincoln Center’s 11 resident organizations nominate an artist annually for the distinguished prize, which gives financial assistance and recognition to young artists of exceptional accomplishment.