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One Time Rye Resident, Dr. Henry Heimlich of the Eponymous Anti-Choking Maneuver, Dies at 96


(PHOTO: Dr. Heimlich of the Eponymous Anti-Chocking Maneuver.)

One Time Rye Resident, Dr. Henry Heimlich of the Eponymous Anti-Choking Maneuver, has dies at age 96. Heimlich lived on Forrest Avenue in Rye in the 1960s while enjoying a successful medical practice in Manhattan. From the NY Times obituary:

"It is called the Heimlich maneuver — saving a choking victim with a bear hug and abdominal thrusts to eject a throat obstruction — and since its inception in 1974 it has become a national safety icon, taught in schools, portrayed in movies, displayed on restaurant posters and endorsed by medical authorities.

It is also the stuff of breathless, brink-of-death tales, told over the years by Ronald Reagan, Edward I. Koch, Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Cher, Walter Matthau, Halle Berry, Carrie Fisher, Jack Lemmon, the sportscaster Dick Vitale, the television newsman John Chancellor and many others."

Heimlich Rye Chronicle

(PHOTO: The Rye Chronicle of May 1962 mentions a trip to a medical conference taken by Heimlich and his wife.)

Heimlich married the daughter of Arthur and Kathryn Murray, at the height of the success of the Arthur Murray dance studios, and the Murrays bought Heimlich and his wife a home in Rye.

"Returning to New York in 1945, he settled into a small practice on Fifth Avenue; his patients came from Manhattan's social elite. His circle included Arthur Murray and his wife Kathryn, who were at the height of their fame, with a chain of social dancing studios and their own TV show. In 1951 Henry married their daughter Jane.

The Murrays bought the newlyweds a sprawling house in the leafy Westchester suburb of Rye, and then bought the house next door for themselves. Peter remembers his grandfather's dismissive, mocking attitude toward his father, but he believes Henry learned about promotion from Arthur Murray. "He wasn't just selling dance lessons," says Peter of his grandfather. "He was selling the hope that learning to dance would make you popular and would introduce lonely people to a mate.""

The Heimlichs moved in Cincinnati in 1969.

His own web site does not diminish his achievements:

"Dr. Henry J. Heimlich is a thoracic surgeon, medical innovator, and humanitarian who has likely saved more lives than any other living physician. His career has been dedicated to finding simple, creative ways to solve complex health problems. While he is best known for inventing the Heimlich Maneuver to save the lives of choking victims, he has developed many other livesaving medical procedures and devices."


  1. Thanks for this Jay, here’s a little more Heimlich/Murray Milton Point history.

    Arthur and Kathryn Murray were friends of my parents and my father was a tennis partner of Arthur’s of many years. The Murray’s tennis court remains almost as it was today at the corner of Forest and Overhill as does their beautiful modern jewel box of a house down the driveway and on the water. Jane and Henry Heimlich’s house was in front of theirs and it was torn down a few years ago and replaced with something much bigger. I don’t remember having much interaction with the Heimlich’s but Mr. Murray (as I called him) used to drive over to our house on Warriston Lane with his white convertible Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors and stand on the front lawn plotting with my father how to dispatch other tennis doubles partners in upcoming matches while I played around in the car. My father had worked his way thru medical school as a summer tennis pro so Arthur, who was supposedly addicted to winning, knew how to spot talent and nurtured it constantly for his benefit. They and the Heimlich’s moved away after the 1960’s – the Heimlich’s to Ohio and the Murray’s to Honolulu where they had a large apartment in a famous oceanfront building near Diamond Head. It was there that Arthur began his second career as an investment advisor.


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