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Mother of Irvine Co. chairman

OBITUARIES / Passings / Marion Newbert Jorgensen

June 21, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Marion Newbert Jorgensen, 96, a philanthropist who was the widow of steel tycoon Earle M. Jorgensen and mother of Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, the Irvine Co. announced. A cause of death was not released.

Bren is one of two sons she had with her first husband, Milton Bren, a Hollywood producer who helped develop the Sunset Strip. Her other son, Peter Bren, is in commercial real estate.

After her first two marriages ended in divorce, she married Jorgensen in 1953 after meeting him at a charity event. His company's products helped fuel Southern California's economic boom, and he was a member of President Reagan's "kitchen cabinet" of supporters. Jorgensen died in 1999.

When Reagan ran for California governor in 1966, the Jorgensens were host to the Reagans and other conservative millionaires at their Bel-Air home for an election-night party to await the results. The election-night gathering remained a tradition for the rest of Reagan's career.

Marion Newbert was born March, 18, 1912, in Chicago, and moved west the next year. After attending Finch College in New York City, she became a civic leader and prominent philanthropist in Los Angeles.

In many organizations, she took a leadership role. She had been deeply involved with St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Santa Monica since the 1950s.

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