Dossier: Lianne Klapper McNally

Lianne Klapper McNally is approximately 51 years old. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, and graduated from Stanford University. She met the Gans organization in approximately 1988, during a period of rapid growth for the “school” when a second New York City “work group” was established.


Though never a “teacher” in the Gans group, Lianne has played various prominent roles during her years of involvement with the organization. Her most public role came in 2000-2002, when she directed “Artists and Orphans: A True Story,” a documentary film featuring Gans which was eventually nominated for the 2002 Academy Awards, under the category of “Best Documentary Short Subject.” The film was based upon the adventures  of a travelling group of Gans group performers in the Republic of Georgia (of the former  USSR), and their interactions with the occupants of a Georgian orphanage. Controversy erupted before the Academy Awards ceremony, when Rosie O’Donnell, a narrator of the film, publicly repudiated her involvement with the film and, in her words, “the cult” behind it.  Additional controversy emerged at CBS News, Lianne’s employer at the time, when correspondent Mike Wallace disavowed his alleged endorsement of the film. In the aftermath of these events, Lianne ceased attending classes for two years. She returned in approximately 2004 and in recent years has played an active role in Gans group recruiting efforts.


Lianne has been married twice. Her first marriage, to David Kulko (son of Sharon Gans), lasted nine months. As part of the divorce, Lianne was told she “could have any man she wanted [in her “Monday/Wednesday group],” according to the account of one of the men she subsequently approached and considered. She ultimately chose Chris McNally, at the time married to another student in the Gans group. In another divorce, McNally left his first wife (recovering at the time from cancer surgery), and married Lianne. McNally is the
de-facto leader of one of the New York groups. The couple has one child. The couple’s primary residence is in mid-town Manhattan, with a weekend residence in Elizaville, New York. Chris McNally owns Falcon Enterprise Associates, a firm that specializes in construction related services.


A former member of the Writers Guild of America (East), Lianne began her career as a New York-based writer/producer. As a freelancer, she worked with HBO, Showtime, National Geographic, and Sally Jesse Raphael. She then moved to CBS News, where she worked in the marketing arm of the news organization. After leaving CBS, Lianne worked for SKIP of New York, a non-profit helping severely sick and developmentally disabled children. She currently serves in a formal advisory role at Allen Stevenson, a Manhattan private school.

Originally posted at (now offline).

Comments, corrections, and additions welcome at

Comments are closed.