Max Gomez, whose award-winning TV Health and Science reporting career spanned more than 40 years, died Saturday, September 2, after a long battle with cancer.

As a medical journalist, Dr. Gomez connected with his viewers in TV segments that presented complex scientific information through engaging, accessible stories. His on-air showmanship, which rivaled storm-tossed weathermen braving the elements, was part of his uniquely entertaining style – a talent that made him an in-demand speaker at medical conferences and as master of ceremonies at countless charitable events. Family and friends recall his deep personal interest in their health, always at the ready to listen, understand, explain, and connect them with his network of world class medical professionals – often celebrities in their own right – to provide needed care.

At Princeton, Max majored in biochemistry, with a continuing practicum in mixology, specifically the science of agave, salt, and lemon. He was also a regular at WPRB radio, where his love affair with broadcast media began. A member of Cottage Club, Max made many friends in our class and those before and following us. After Princeton, he studied at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, followed by a post-doctoral degree at Rockefeller University. Attendees at our 50th Reunion in May 2023 will remember his virtual appearances via Facetime at our Class Lunch and the P-Rade, thanks to the engineering support of Artie Bertelsen and Bob Auray.

“Dr. Max,” as he was fondly known to his New York audience, had a rich career beyond television journalism. He contributed to the advancement of medical science in numerous international health organizations, including the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, the American Heart Association, and the Partnership for After School Education. He co-authored three books:  The Prostate Health Program: A Guide to Preventing and Controlling Prostate Cancer, with Daniel W. Nixon, MD; and The Healing Cell: How the Greatest Revolution in Medical History is Changing Your Life (2013) and Cells are the New Cure: The Cutting-Edge Medical Breakthroughs that are Transforming Our Health (2017), both with Dr. Robin L. Smith for the Vatican’s Cura Foundation.

Max began his journalism career as a reporter for Metromedia’s New York Channel Five in the early 1980s. At the time, TV seemed an unusual choice for a Ph.D. scientist, but at the suggestion of a friend, he accepted the position for what he described as “on the job training.” This off-the-cuff insight paid off with a career that spanned decades and won a UPI “Best Documentary” for his groundbreaking reporting on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, when he was one of the first to recognize the significance of a still-unnamed disease killing gay men in New York City. After 911, the NYPD and City of New York recognized him with an “Excellence in Time of Crisis” award for helping to calm the city in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Dr. Max considered it one of the great honors of his professional career. During the COVID epidemic, even though quite sick, Max again filed clear and compelling stories to help New Yorkers through the epidemic. Gomez went on to win nine local Emmy Awards, was named the American Health Foundation’s “Man of the Year,” and was a NASA Journalist-In-Space semi-finalist in 1986. In 2021, Dr. Gomez was recognized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture with the “Pontifical Hero Award for Inspiration” for educating the public, leading by example, and providing hope to millions of viewers in crisis.

Maximo Marcelino Gomez was born in Havana, Cuba on August 9, 1951. He was the son of Dr. Maximo Gomez II and Concepcion Gomez. The young family left Havana in 1954 for Miami, where his father studied medicine. They were there when Fidel Castro overthrew former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, and remained in Miami, where young Max attended Coral Gables High School. Decades later, Max took his father – a well-respected South Florida physician – back to Cuba on a visit that combined long-overdue family reunions with an award-winning series of reports by Dr. Max on the quality of medical care for Cuban citizens. At the time, his father told him, “When people choose to work with you or listen to you, they choose to trust you. Don’t betray it.” Those words, originally spoken in Spanish, shaped and distinguished Dr. Gomez’s career as a health and science journalist.

Max is remembered by his colleagues and friends as a charming man who was totally at ease with medical scientists, the children he interviewed for his stories, and every nurse he encountered as both a medical journalist and celebrity patient. He was a brilliant storyteller, with memory banks full of jokes for every occasion. When not broadcasting, speaking, or writing, he preferred spending time with his two much-loved children and his many friends – whom he considered his extended family – sharing his warmth and wit; plus his love of golf, biking, good food, and margaritas.

Gomez was married to SuElyn Charnesky Veitch for 19 years; their marriage ended in divorce. He leaves behind his children, Kathryn Leigh Gomez and Maximo Gregory Gomez, both of New York City; his brother George Gomez and sister-in-law Laurah Gomez of Palos Verdes California; and his partner, Amy Levin.

Undergraduate Class of 1973