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Philanthropist 'Dolly' Green; Heiress Owned Thoroughbreds

September 05, 1990|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dorothy Wellborn Green--better known as Dolly Green, the socialite, philanthropist and racing stable owner--died Tuesday at her Bel-Air home after a long illness.

An aide said Miss Green had requested that her age not be disclosed.

Miss Green, the last surviving child of Beverly Hills founder and oil magnate Burton E. Green, bought into thoroughbred horse racing in an attention-getting way in 1980 when she spent $2.2 million for five yearlings at the Keeneland sale in Lexington, Ky.

"Oh, it was the most exciting thing," the irrepressible Miss Green later said of the auction. "I couldn't believe, after all these years, I was actually bidding on a horse. . . . Then to bid that kind of money for a horse. My, I did have some trepidations."

Conceding that her only involvement with horse racing before that auction was attending races, Miss Green was initially considered a "mystery woman" in horse-racing circles.

But she worked at her new interest, spending part of her profits from the $3.6-billion sale of her father's Belridge Oil Co. to Shell Oil Co. in 1979 to build her stable of horses and hire top trainers and jockeys. At one point, she owned 74 Thoroughbreds.

In 1986, Miss Green's filly, Brave Raj, won the $1-million Breeders' Cup race for juvenile fillies at Santa Anita and was voted the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old.

"It was quick, short and wonderful, wasn't it?" was her reaction to the victory run.

In 1984, Miss Green established the Dolly Green Equine Research Lab of the Southern California Equine Foundation in Hollywood Park.

Miss Green had served as trustee of the Burton E. Green Foundation, which was set up in her father's name after his death in 1965 at the age of 96.

Her own charities included endowment of the Dolly Green Scholars Award at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute. She was a former member of the Los Angeles Junior League and the advisory board of the Los Angeles Orphanage Guild.

A popular socialite and hostess for six decades, Miss Green reportedly startled her socially prominent parents in her youth by refusing to be presented at a formal coming-out party.

"I wish to perfect myself in several studies. I would rather study languages, even law, if I could do so, in preference to a life of parties and dinners and teas," she said.

Miss Green was an alumna of Marlborough School. Her late sister, Liliore Green Rains, who had no college education, left $240 million to Pomona College, Stanford University, Loyola Marymount University, Caltech and two hospitals, when she died in 1985.

Her other sister, Burton Bettingen, died in 1986. Miss Green is survived by a niece and a nephew.

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