More than a year after his death, the late comedy writer Mickey Ross has proved a mega Jewish philanthropist. Last week, it was announced that the writer/producer of the hit sitcoms “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Three’s Company” had bequeathed $10 million to The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, one in a series of gifts he earmarked for the Jewish community.
In addition to the lump sum, Ross committed 50 percent of his residual rights to several TV shows to the foundation, which will establish the Michael and Irene Ross Endowment Fund. The fund will have a twofold purpose: providing Southern California’s most vulnerable populations with basic needs as well as funding programs devoted to Yiddish language and culture, one of Ross’ passions.
Ross died in May 2009 at 89 from complications related to a stroke and heart attack. His wife, Irene, died in 2000. The couple had no children.
In addition to his comedic legacy in Hollywood, Ross will be remembered through his numerous philanthropic commitments. In 2008, he donated $4 million to endow an academic chair in Yiddish language and culture at UCLA, his alma mater. And, last January, Ross surprised The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., with a $3 million donation from his estate.