Sam Gilbert, longtime supporter and sometimes controversial booster of UCLA athletics, died at his Pacific Palisades home Saturday night following a long illness. He was 74.
Gilbert, an avid basketball fan, was a benefactor of many UCLA players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Sidney Wicks. He also served as an adviser and an agent.
In 1981, when the UCLA basketball program was placed on probation for two years, the NCAA ordered the university to disassociate Gilbert from recruiting at the school. When UCLA was censured last September for minor violations, Gilbert reportedly had been involved, but he denied the charge.
Gilbert owned Sam Gilbert and Associates, a construction company which built more than 500 homes in the West Los Angeles and Laurel Canyon areas, as well as the Trident Building on Olympic Boulevard and the Beverly Hills Center.
Gilbert attended Hollywood High School and UCLA. He served in the OSS in World War II. He was an inventor and he had a brief career as an amateur boxer.
He is survived by his wife Rose and three children, Margaret, Michael and Robert.
A memorial service will be held at Westwood Memorial Park next Sunday.