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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Eli Broad, Who Helped Reshape Los Angeles, Dies at 87 - The New York Times

Eli Broad, Who Helped Reshape Los Angeles, Dies at 87 - The New York Times
Eli Broad, Who Helped Reshape Los Angeles, Dies at 87
The businessman, who made a fortune in home-building and insurance, spent lavishly to try to make the city a cultural capital.

Eli Broad, a businessman and philanthropist whose vast fortune, extensive art collection and zeal for civic improvement helped reshape the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, died on Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 87.

Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, confirmed his death but did not specify the cause.

Mr. Broad (pronounced “brode”) made billions in the home-building and insurance businesses and spent a significant part of his wealth trying to make Los Angeles one of the world’s pre-eminent cultural capitals.

Few people in the modern history of Los Angeles were as instrumental in molding the region’s cultural and civic life as Mr. Broad. He loved the city and put his stamp — sometimes quite aggressively — on its museums, music halls, schools and politics. He was, until he began stepping back in his later years, a regular figure at cultural events and could be seen holding court in the V.I.P. founders’ room at the Los Angeles Opera between acts.

Mr. Broad played a pivotal role in creating the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and brokered the deal that brought it Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo’s important collection of Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art. When the museum teetered on the verge of financial collapse in 2008, Mr. Broad bailed it out with a $30 million rescue package.

He put his name on the Los Angeles landscape as well. The best known of his many contributions to the city is the Broad, a $140 million art museum that he financed himself that houses Mr. Broad’s collection of more than 2,000 contemporary works. It opened in 2015.

He also gave $50 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and led the fund-raising campaign to finish the Walt Disney Concert Hall when that project was dead in the water.

The museums, medical research centers and cultural institutions emblazoned with the names of Mr. Broad and his wife, Edythe, include the Broad Art Center at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Broad Center for the Biological Sciences at the California Institute of Technology; and centers for regenerative medicine and stem-cell research at three California universities.

There are “very few in L.A.’s history who have come remotely close to his sense of duty and his willingness to put his own time and effort — pressing his political connections, strong-arming business peers into stepping up for the arts — the way he did,” said Joanne Heyler, the founding director of the Broad. CONTINUE READING: Eli Broad, Who Helped Reshape Los Angeles, Dies at 87 - The New York Times