Max Palevsky

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Biographical Information

Palevsky, 85, died in 2010 of heart failure at his Beverly Hills home, said his wife, Jodie Evans. He gained prominence in the 1960s when he turned Scientific Data Systems, a builder of mainframe computers, into a hugely lucrative business that he sold to Xerox in 1969 for $1 billion. He went on to serve as a director and chairman of Xerox's executive committee before becoming a founder and director of Intel Corp. He left the corporate world during the 1970s to produce movies, bolster the coffers of Rolling Stone and delve into politics.

"He was an early supporter of George McGovern during his ill-fated 1972 presidential campaign, then ran Bradley's successful 1973 bid for mayor. He also was a major backer of Robert F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter during their presidential bids, and various campaigns of former Gov. Gray Davis. And, with Lear, he was a member of the "Malibu Mafia," a loose alliance of extremely wealthy Westside Democrats who used their influence to promote liberal causes and candidates...

"He made a dramatic reentry into the political fray in 2000 when he wrote a $1-million check to the campaign finance reform initiative co-authored by Ron Unz, a conservative Silicon Valley tycoon...

"According to "The Power and the Glitter," a 1990 book about the interplay between Hollywood and Washington by former Los Angeles Times political writer Ronald Brownstein, Palevsky donated more than $319,000, which financed McGovern's successful direct-mail operation... He became the biggest backer of Proposition 25, the initiative on the 2000 statewide ballot that sought to limit individual contributions, ban corporate donations and require overnight disclosure of any contributions over $1,000... Palevsky felt so strongly about campaign finance reform that for the first time in his life he raised money for a Republican, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who spoke out strongly on the issue during his 2000 candidacy for the Republican nomination for president...

"Palevsky, whose fortune later earned him a spot in the Forbes 400, went on to serve as chairman or chief executive of Xerox's executive committee, Silicon Systems and Daisy Systems Corp. He was one of the first major investors in Intel... Palevsky amassed one of the world's premier collections of the American Arts and Crafts movement, including numerous pieces by Gustav Stickley.

"In 1990, he gave 32 pieces of Arts and Crafts furniture to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; three years later, he added an additional 42 pieces to his gift. In 2000, he donated $2 million to LACMA for Arts and Crafts works. He supplied about a third of the 300 objects displayed in a 2004-05 LACMA exhibit, "The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America: 1880-1920." Last year, the museum presented "The Arts and Crafts Movement: Masterworks From the Max Palevsky and Jodie Evans Collection."...His passion for art embroiled Palevsky in controversy in the 1980s when he withdrew a $1-million pledge to help build a permanent downtown home for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art...

"In addition to Evans, he leaves a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz; four sons, Nicholas, Alexander, Jonathan and Matthew; a stepson, Jan Krajewski III; a sister, Helen Futterman; and four grandchildren.

"In his last years, he increased his philanthropic efforts, giving $20 million in 2000 to his alma mater, the University of Chicago.

"He professed little involvement in business affairs, having turned over the management of his finances to others. The man who had played a major role in creating today's computer-obsessed society also confessed that he no longer had much interest in technology. In fact, he had begun to disparage the revolution he helped spawn, believing that computers and the Internet had become "substitutes for interaction with the real world."

""I haven't touched a computer, watched TV or used a credit card in 15 years. I am," he told the Times in 2001, "a Luddite."."[1]

" His interests were eclectic: he rescued Rolling Stone magazine from bankruptcy in 1970 by buying a substantial shareholding and becoming chairman of the board. He also moved into independent film production, in a joint venture with the former vice-president of Paramount Pictures, Peter Bart.

"Palevsky produced and financed a number of Hollywood films, including Islands in the Stream (1977) and Endurance (1998). In 1988 the author Albert Goldman dedicated his controversial biography The Lives of John Lennon to Palevsky... Max Palevsky was married five times and had six children. His first marriage, in 1952, to Mary Joan Yates, was dissolved in 1968; with her large divorce settlement she became a philanthropist in her own right. His fifth wife, Jodie Evans, is a political activist. " [2]


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  1. latimes Max Palevsky dies at 85; computer magnate and philanthropist, organizational web page, accessed February 17, 2013.
  2. telegraph Max Palevsky, organizational web page, accessed February 17, 2013.