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Frances Klein; Jeweler to Celebrities

Obituaries

August 18, 1999|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Frances Klein, Beverly Hills antique jeweler to such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand, has died.

Klein, also known in charitable and social circles, died Thursday at 84 at her home in Los Angeles.

Her jewelry regularly adorned the famous on their annual night to shine at the Academy Awards presentation. The Klein collections of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and other bejeweled pieces also appeared in several motion pictures--among them "Mommie Dearest," about Joan Crawford.

Klein sold her Rodeo Drive shop in 1997, but it still bears her name.

A native of Turners Falls, Mass., she traveled to Europe and appeared in Hollywood productions as a chorus girl. She met her husband, Sidney J. Klein, in Tucson in 1942, and the couple spent the first 18 years of their marriage in Chicago.

After they moved to L.A. in 1960, Frances developed her wizardry in collecting antiques, particularly jewelry. She began selling estate jewelry and antique pieces from one small case in a store on Beverly Drive. As she became more successful, she acquired the Rodeo Drive shop and Sidney joined her in running it.

A popular figure on the charitable dinner circuit, Klein lent her name, talent and wares to fund-raising events and provided jewelry for fashion shows.

In 1988, she chaired the Jewel Gala sponsored by the USC Friends of Fine Arts at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to raise money for scholarships. She was one of the five jewelers honored at the ball.

Klein also worked to raise funds for Child Help, a group that aids abused children, and regularly participated in the Rodeo Drive Committee's annual International Gala to raise money for various charities.

In 1966, Gov. Pat Brown named her to the advisory board of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute.

In addition to her husband of 57 years, Klein is survived by her daughter, Karen, two grandchildren and one great-grandson.

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