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11. Alfred P. Sloan Jr. (1875-1966)

THE 50: PEOPLE WHO MOST INFLUENCED BUSINESS THIS CENTURY

October 25, 1999

Ross and Loos invented managed health care at their Los Angeles clinic in 1929 as a way to provide affordable coverage for employees of the Department of Water and Power. The Ross-Loos Clinic then charged $1.50 a month for a full range of medical services, including hospitalization, transport by ambulance and physical therapy. Their idea, called prepaid health care, was viewed as leftist and threatening by the mainstream medical establishment and the two doctors were expelled from the Los Angeles County Medical Assn. But Loos, a California-born surgeon, and Ross, a native Canadian who had worked as a doctor for the Canadian-Pacific Railroad, fought the expulsion and were reinstated by the American Medical Assn. "This form of medical service is here to stay, and there will be great expansion along this line," Loos predicted in 1931. Their clinics did grow, and by 1935 enrollment exceeded 42,000. In 1933, another pioneering doctor, Sidney Garfield, set up a similar plan for construction workers building the California Aqueduct. Garfield was later hired by steel magnate Henry J. Kaiser to provide health care for his employees, and the Kaiser-Permanente health system was born. Today, 23 million Californians are covered by various managed-care health plans. The Ross-Loos clinics have had several owners, most recently MedPartners Inc., which exited the managed-care business after years of losses and sold the clinics to KPC Medical Management of Long Beach.

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22. Harry Warner (1881-1958) and Jack Warner (1892-1978)

Pioneers of Sound Films

Harry, Albert, Samuel and Jack Warner released the first talking picture, which revolutionized the film industry and turned Warner Bros. into one of the dominant studios during Hollywood's golden age. The Warners bought a nickelodeon in 1903 and in the next two decades distributed and produced films. In 1923 they formed Warner Bros. Harry, who was president, realized they were overly dependent on independent film distributors, so he bought a distributor and eventually owned 500 theaters. Sam pushed the company into sound films. Bell Labs had developed a sound technique, which other studios passed on. But Warner Bros. worked with Western Electric to develop a sound-on-disc process for synchronized sound. In "The Jazz Singer" (1927), Al Jolson spoke some dialogue, and audiences went wild. The next year, Warner Bros. released the first complete sound film, "Lights of New York," which cost $40,000, but grossed $2 million. Jack was film production chief and Warner Bros. thrived in the Great Depression by turning out gangster films and other features faster than its rivals, while paying its stars (Jimmy Cagney, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart) less than other studios. Warner Bros. declined in the '50s with the advent of TV and a government-ordered sale of its theaters. Jack was the last remaining brother when he sold his stake in 1967. Warner Bros. is now part of Time Warner.

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23. Louis B. Mayer (1885-1957)

Movie Studio Magnate

For three decades, Mayer ran Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and developed a stable of movie stars that turned MGM into the most celebrated film studio of its time. Born in Russia, raised in Canada, Mayer was running a junk business in Boston when he bought a struggling movie theater in 1907. Within a few years he'd built a regional theater chain. He then began producing films and in 1918 moved to Los Angeles to open Louis B. Mayer Pictures. By 1924 Loew's theater chain had bought three studios to create MGM and put Mayer in charge as vice president and general manager. The studio thrived in the '30s as MGM turned out films with expensive production values while Mayer created a storied roster of stars from Greta Garbo to Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Judy Garland. Mayer's taste for patriotic, escapist, family films led to the Andy Hardy series, as well as "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz." At once ruthless and patriarchal, Mayer had 6,000 employees and at his peak was the nation's highest-paid executive at $1.25 million a year. As television began to take hold and MGM's fortunes dropped, Mayer was replaced in 1951 by his former assistant Dore Schary. Several years later, Mayer failed in an attempt to win back control of the studio.

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24. Thomas Watson Sr. (1874-1956)

IBM's Visionary Leader

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