By Iman Sadri
February 12, 2017
The adage, ‘Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives’ maybe an overused cliche to some, but it is an accurate summation of the life of Houman Hivand. Houman’s premature death last week came as a great shock and tragedy to those who knew him. Houman touched the lives of all that he came across. If he had at least one conversation with someone, that person would never forget Houman Hivand.
Houman was not just the life of the party, he was the party. Always gregarious and interested in what you had to say and what you were about. He would never judge, only offer any altruism that he could. Houman loved life. He lived with passion and exuded an excited energy. From his workouts to his motorcycle rides to treating his patients, he did it all with passion.
Houman was not just the life of the party, he was the party.
Houman left behind a young daughter, Chloe, and a wife, Arlene. But he also left an immeasurable legacy of positivity to those who’s lives he touched. His generosity was uncanny. Those who knew him best would say that he would give his last dollar to someone in need if he could. This selflessness was one of the many traits that made Houman stand apart in a crowd.
Another quality that set him apart, quite literally, was his physique. Standing 6’3, with a muscular build, chiseled face and GQ looks, Houman looked the part of a Brad Pitt in the film Troy. Being of Persian heritage, he would argue that he wouldn’t be a Trojan or Spartan in any future film, but a Persian warrior at the Apadana in Persepolis.
One of Houman’s great loves was working out. He made it a habit to workout no matter how long of a day that he may have had at the office. His workouts were intense and committed, exemplifying how he lived. He was committed to excellence. This was demonstrated by his studiousness in graduate school and his two a day workouts while working 8-8. And we he partied, it was always the party to be at. He truly worked hard and played hard.
I first met Houman when I visited New York in the fall of 2003 for an interview at NYU while I was still in the newspaper business in Sacramento, working towards graduate school. I was introduced to Houman by my lifelong friend Danny Javaheri. Danny and Houman were classmates who graduated from the NYU College of Dentistry in 2004.
By the time I started at NYU in Fall of 2004, Houman and Danny had already graduated. They left large shoes to fill. Danny was Class President all four years and Houman was Student Body President. Dr. Hivand was a legend at N.Y.U. He was adorned by his classmates, admired by his professors and respected by the Dean of the both the dental school and all of NYU.
Several years back I showed Houman a cartoon about talking international organs that I made, called O’rgans. The organs speak with different accents, and Houman agreed that his unique accent would fit well as a character. Houman’s vast life experiences prior to graduate school included a lengthy duration in Europe. Danny would joke years earlier that in their dental school class Houman’s classmates would get him to say, ” I can’t believe it’s not butter.” – to mimic Fabio.
Vegas – Christmas 2011
It was a late December night, two days before Christmas. My friend and former classmate Ranbir Singh was crashing at my place, after dinner. He was planning on staying over in Irvine and then head back to L.A. in the morning. That night Houman called me to ask what I was doing the rest of the weekend. I told him that I was off the next two days and was just planning on relaxing. He said to pack and that he would come and pick me up at 9 am the next morning to head to Las Vegas till Sunday evening.
Every Christmas Persians flock to Vegas for an annual fete of festivities, concerts, and after parties at the clubs on the strip. Houman planned to come and get me to head to Nevada for the Annual Vegas Persian Fest. After learning that Ranbir was staying over he insisted that he accompany us on the trip as well. After telling Houman that Ranbir was conservative and that he didn’t drink or party too hard, Houman insisted to bring Ranbir along, that it would be a life changing experience for him. And it did turn out to be one.
The highlight of the weekend was not the Tiesto concert 2am at XS. Or partying with Houman and many of my friends the entire weekend. It wasn’t getting brunch at 3 pm at the Caesar’s after sleeping till 2pm. It wasn’t the half dozen Persian concert events we attended. It was when Ranbir, Houman and I were all in the bathroom of our hotel, getting ready to go out.
Houman was shaving, I was trying on a shirt and Ranbir was adjusting his beard. Ranbir, being a devout Sikh was tiding up his turban and grooming his beard with the same hairspray that Houman was using to style his hair. It was one of those instant classic moments.
On February 12, 2017 we celebrate the life of Houman Hivand. Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives. Houman Hivand’s life albeit cut tragically all too short, was a life that many could only dream to live in a dozen lifetimes.
Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives. Houman Hivand’s life, albeit cut tragically all too short, was a life that many could only dream to live in a dozen lifetimes.
Iman Sadri blogs for Persian Media outlets, is the founder of @HollywoodSmileTV and was a dear friend of Houman Hivand’s from 2004-2017