Lew Wasserman, philanthropist, former chairman and chief executive of Music Corporation of America (MCA) and one of the last old-time movie moguls, died June 3 from complications of a stroke. He was 89.
Wasserman was born March 22, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Russian immigrant parents, Isaac and Minnie, proprietors of a struggling restaurant. In 1936, the same year that Carl Laemmle lost control of Universal Studios, a 22-year-old Wasserman, with only a high school education, began at the bottom at MCA's Cleveland office, a talent agency with a celebrity roster that included Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra. Wasserman worked his way up the corporate ladder and, a decade later, on Dec. 16, 1946, became MCA's president.