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Donald S. Klopfer, Co-Founder of Random House, Dies

June 02, 1986|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Donald S. Klopfer, who founded the Random House publishing firm with Bennett Cerf nearly 60 years ago, has died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 84.

Klopfer died Friday at Lenox Hill Hospital. Although he retired in the 1970s, Klopfer continued to come to the office almost every day.

"Donald was a great publisher because he was an instinctive publisher--he knew what was good," said Random House Chairman Robert Bernstein. "More than that, he was a man loved by his authors and his associates."

Klopfer was employed at his stepfather's diamond-cutting business in Newark, N.J., when his friend Cerf offered him an opportunity to share in the purchase of the Modern Library.

Klopfer ran the business and production end of the company while Cerf ran the editorial and promotional end. Both took turns going on the road to sell to bookstores.

In 1927, they began a company to publish a wider range of books than Modern's classic reprints, and, to suit their random aim, called it Random House.

Klopfer became chairman of Random House in 1970, after Cerf's retirement.

Klopfer is survived by his second wife, the former Kathleen Loucheim, a daughter, and a stepson.

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