Funeral Details

Bernard F. Helman

July 12, 1947 - March 29, 2024


Date and Time

Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 11:00 AM


Shalom Memorial Park
1700 West Rand Road
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004
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Rabbi Toby Manewith


Winter/Rubin Residence
806 Broadview Avenue
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
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Upon return from the cemetery until 8PM. Please park on the east side of street.

Memorial Contributions

Charity of your choice
St. Louis Public Radio
3651 Olive Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63108


BF (Bernard Frederick) Helman died peacefully Friday, Mar. 29, in suburban St. Louis, after a long illness. He was 76.

Actor, poet, writer, film expert and enthusiastic observer of politics, BF was truly a Renaissance man, with sharp wit and endless curiosity.

He was born in Granite City, IL, where his parents owned and operated a popular women's clothing store, Helman's.
He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a concentration in advertising followed by an advanced degree in Communications at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

BF held several positions in Chicago but his passion was the theater. He had numerous stage roles, and extensive on camera and voice over work, locally and nationally. He appeared in commercials and high profile corporate projects. A long time speciality was dramatic and comedic roles in syndicated radio dramas and programs.

BF's passion project above all others was the Defiant Theatre Company in Chicago, where he acted and supported the group in countless other ways.

After more than 40 years, BF grew tired of the cruel Chicago winters and endless urban chaos. He relocated to St. Louis where he spent his last 10 years. He acted in community theater and actively participated in ROMEO groups, "really old guys eating out."

His extended family in St. Louis, including his closest friend the late Barry Freedman, made sure BF was on the guest list for holidays and important occasions.
His friend group, locally and around the country, supported him during his illness: Johnny Heller, Don Rubin, Barbara Weiner, Allen Levin, Marshall Dyer, Barry Murov, Hedy Ehrlich, Ava Ehrlich and a close group of cousins.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Morris and Reeva Helman. He is survived by his brother Howard Helman (Phyllis), of Redondo Beach, CA, numerous cousins and theater friends all over the country.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 4, at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, IL. Contributions may be sent to the charity of your choice or KWMU, St. Louis Public Radio, 3651 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63108, To attend the funeral live stream, please visit our website. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Buffalo Grove Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal condolences and stories of Bernard F. Helman below and we will share them with the family.
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We are very grateful , Stuart, Penny, Darren and Scott that just very recently had the opportunity to visit with him over the phone. We all have great memories of our cousin, who was a fine and compassionate person. Always enjoyed our cousins zoom meetings on the internet. We all had a chance to meet and greet. He will surely be missed. His memory will live in our hearts forever.

Penny and Stuart Avig
April 2, 2024
I have been a friend of Bernie's since 1965 where we met at Northwestern. Sadly, the last time I tried to speak with him was on March 29th and he was barely intelligible. Although we only saw each in person after college, B.F. Will always have a special place in my heart. He was w good soul with a rapier wit. Rest in peace my wonderful friend.

Jon Pevna
April 2, 2024
I came to know and admire BF over the past several years through my great friend, Barry Freedman. We would sit around over lunch and dive into the worries of the world. BF was passionate about the transparency of no goods, from Trump down to local yahoos. He would bang the table describing in detail their deceptions. We had a great time. When he was first diagnosed with cancer, Barry became his lifeline taking him to treatments, watching over him. Even though we all felt Barry was potentially in rougher shape. But Barry was the living example of "never say die". I admired them both for their commitment to each other. When Barry passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack, it was like the sky had fallen. Ava, with great kindness took on the care of BF knowing he was going to follow Barry. Several others including Heddie, Fuzzy and myself pitched in but it was Ava's tireless work till the last minute that allowed BF to pass away peacefully. He was strong, passionate, till the end. I loved this irrascible guy.
Allen Levin

Allen Levin
April 3, 2024
Even though he slept for most of the last hour I spent with him, I think he knew I was there, but the time before that he was displaying his acerbic wit to the max. With the passing of BF, I am the last of the Foamin’ Romans. Poet, actor, observer of the world, we will miss you.

Drew Karandjeff
April 3, 2024
When I married Ed, BF's cousin, 45 years ago I also was fortunate enough to get a whole family of Helmans. There were opportunities to meet at family events, zoom meetings with the cousins, and phone conversations with BF.
He was a charming, sweet, and incredibly funny person. His grasp of trivia was encyclopedic. We shared many similar perspectives and ideas on life. He would always make me feel welcome.
It has been heart wrenching to watch his decline from his illness. We will miss his company. He was the real deal, a whole lot of talent rolled up in one man.
We are with you in spirit today, BF. I hope you are seated next to someone who shares your political ideas and sense of humor.
With Love,
Bobbi Helman

Ed & Bobbi Helman
April 3, 2024
I enjoyed getting to know him with the Monday Lunch group. He will be missed>

Garry Tobin
April 4, 2024
I knew BF, MrBF through SAG-AFTRA Chicago Radio Players. His voice, personality and talent were his claim in our hearts. Ten years ago he left Chicago and now his final bow. We miss him.

Michaela \'Mickey \' Nelson
April 4, 2024
It's been a long time since BF and I visited. When he was living in Chicago I often saw him at theater events and in the neighborhood. What a lovely human being he and will always be in my memories. May he Rest in Peace.

Diane Dorsey
April 4, 2024
Got to know BF through my dear friend Barry Freedman. He became a lunch companion for several years. We talked politics, sports, books and movies. He was a great guy to spend time with. He will be missed. Rest in peace, BF.

Paul Pennick
April 4, 2024
R.I.P my dear cousin. You will always be in my heart & memory. I can still hear your articulate voice and your great sense of humor. We will miss you and think of you often. Love, Candy &Gary

Candy & Gary Frenkel
April 4, 2024