Arts, Jewish causes philanthropist Bram Goldsmith dies at 82

Marcy Oster

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Bram Goldsmith, who left a deep imprint on Los Angeles and its Jewish community, in his Beverly Hills home.

Goldsmith died on Sunday at the age of 92.

Born in Chicago in 1923, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Goldsmith served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and then launched his business career in Los Angeles, first in real estate construction then joining City National Bank.

During Goldsmith’s tenure, 20 years as chief executive and 38 years as chairman, City National Bank became known as “the bank to the stars,” providing highly personalized services to a Who’s Who of Hollywood celebrities.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

In 1984, he was the highest paid banker in the United States at an annual salary of $3.1 million, more than the combined salaries of the next three CEOs at Bank of America, Citibank and Chase Manhattan.

As his bank’s and personal wealth grew, Goldsmith became a patron of the arts but increasingly put his energy and money into Jewish causes.

“There is no single individual in the history of the Jewish community in Los Angeles who has had greater impact and leaves a greater legacy than Bram Goldsmith,” Jay Sanderson, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told the Jewish Journal.

Among numerous local and national offices, Goldsmith served as national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal.

Bram and his wife Elaine Goldsmith were major supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, endowing two buildings, a professorial chair and an instrumentation fund.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at