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Louis Warschaw; Business Leader, Political Activist and Philanthropist

Obituaries

November 20, 2000|KENNETH REICH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Louis Warschaw, a former head of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, philanthropist, delegate to the 1948 Democratic National Convention and Los Angeles business leader, is dead at 83.

Family members said Warschaw died Friday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of prostate cancer.

For many years, Warschaw was deeply involved in California politics with his wife of 63 years, Carmen Warschaw, a former member of the Democratic National Committee.

The Warschaws were centrists in the Democratic Party, and were long closely allied with powerful Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh in his contests with Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown and the liberal California Democratic Council.

Although Warschaw was the treasurer of Brown's first campaign for governor in 1958, he later broke with the governor over what he thought was Brown's less than enthusiastic support of Carmen Warschaw's unsuccessful bid in 1966 to head the state Democratic Party.

At the same time, Warschaw evicted then-state controller, later-to-be U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston from his rent-free suite in the Subway Terminal Building, which Warschaw's insurance company owned, to protest Cranston's lack of support for his wife.

As a delegate to the 1948 Democratic convention, Warschaw was part of a group led by Jimmy Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who later became a California congressman, that briefly pushed Dwight D. Eisenhower for the presidential nomination against incumbent President Harry S. Truman.

Later, Warschaw was aligned in municipal politics with Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty, a conservative Democrat.

When Yorty became mayor in 1961, Warschaw was serving on the Los Angeles Building and Safety Commission, to which he had been appointed by Mayor Norris Poulson. Yorty moved him to the prestigious Airport Commission, where he served as president for several years, heading a major airport expansion.

He also served on California's Hoover Commission, reviewing the efficiency of state government.

Warschaw was born in New York, but came to California as a child of 18 months. He grew up in Arcadia and graduated from USC.

His business interests encompassed banking, insurance and real estate. He served as chief executive and president of Signal and Imperial Insurance companies, president of General Ore and Chemical Corp., general partner in the Arlan commercial real estate company, and, in 1978, founded Warland Investments, one of the largest real estate developers in Orange County.

He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of California and served on the bank's executive committee from 1972 to 1985.

As a leader of civic organizations in Los Angeles, Warschaw was a past president of the Jewish Centers Assn., a member of the board of governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a founding member of USC's Institute for the Study of Jews in American Life.

A patron of the arts, he was a founder of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, formerly known as the Music Center. As a lifelong collector of Middle Eastern antiquities, he contributed the Warschaw collection to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles.

He endowed two research chairs at Cedars-Sinai: the Carmen and Louis Warschaw Chair in Neurology in 1988, and, this year, the Warschaw, Robertson, Law Families Chair in Prostate Cancer. This led to the recent establishment of the Prostate Cancer Research Center at the hospital.

Warschaw is survived by his wife; two daughters, Susan W. Robertson and Hope I. Warschaw; their husbands, Carl Robertson and John Law; and three grandchildren, Cara W. Robertson, Chip W. Robertson and Jack H.L. Law-Warschaw.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending. The family asked that those wishing to honor Warschaw's memory contribute to the Prostate Cancer Research Center at Cedars-Sinai, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90048.

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