A Playmate who grewup in Bayside before posing 1

The childhood home of Ellen Michaels, who went on to become a model, at 211-35 23 Ave. in Bayside, as it appears today.

Philip Grueber was born in Lemberg, Poland on Nov. 19, 1913. He arrived in the United States in August 1921 and became a citizen in April 1936.

Exceptionally handsome and well-built, he became a professional wrestler under the names Jack Bell and Comancho Cortez. From 1935 to 1954 he competed in 154 matches. On June 18, 1948, he married Judith Wolpin in the Bronx.

On Feb. 12, 1953, their daughter, Ellen, was born. In 1960 they moved into a new condo development at 211-35 23 Ave. in Bayside. Their buxom 37-24-35 daughter attended and graduated Bayside High School in 1970. She was a cheerleader and made the honor roll.

While going for her degree in elementary education she caught the attention of Playboy magazine and in March 1972 became one of the first Jewish Playmates of the Month, going under the alias Ellen Michaels.

Michaels had a successful career in print magazine ads. Today she is the one behind the camera as a photographer of the wildlife of Central Park.

Condos in her childhood building are still desirable today selling in the range of $400,000 to $500,000.

(1) comment


I just saw the column on legendary playboy playmate Ellen Gruber. She went to jhs 82 in the Bronx then a couple of years at Taft high school where friends in later years told me she was the knockout of the schools. She may have moved to Queens but the future Ellen michaels was born in the Bronx.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.