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Max Palevsky, art collector and computer technology pioneer, dies at 85 [updated]

May 5, 2010 | 12:31 pm


Max Palevsky, an immigrant's son who made a fortune in the early days of the computer industry, then used his millions to build notable art collections and finance liberal campaigns, including the late Tom Bradley's first successful bid for Los Angeles mayor, died Wednesday at his Beverly Hills home. He was 85.

The cause was heart failure, said his wife, Jodie Evans.

Palevsky was best known for selling Scientific Data Systems to Xerox in 1969 for $1 billion. He went on to serve as a director and chairman of Xerox's executive committee and later helped found Intel Corp.

He left the corporate world during the 1970s to produce movies, finance a then-struggling magazine called 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 Kennedy and Jimmy Carter during their presidential bids, and various campaigns of former Gov. Gray Davis.

His open checkbook and activism led to his branding in the 1970s as one of the "Malibu Mafia," a loose alliance of extremely wealthy and well-connected Democrats that included television producer Norman Lear and philanthropist Stanley Sheinbaum.

In later years, Palevsky seemed to sour on politics and concentrated more of his attention on art. He built important collections of Arts and Crafts furniture and Japanese woodblock prints, which have been featured in shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Click here to read the full obituary.

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Max Palevsky in 2005. Credit: Los Angeles Times