Lester Ziffren Attorney and civic leader
Lester Ziffren, 85, an attorney and civic leader who was devoted to his alma mater, UCLA, and many other causes, died Monday of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family said.
After earning his law degree in 1952 from UCLA, Ziffren served as a deputy attorney general from 1953 to 1959 under California Atty. Gen. Pat Brown.
Ziffren then formed a law firm with two brothers, Leo Ziffren, an entertainment lawyer, and Paul Ziffren, who would chair the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. (Paul died in 1991 at 77.)
Later, Lester Ziffren became a partner in the prominent local firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
An administrative corporate attorney, he continued practicing law until a few years ago.
Born in 1925 in Davenport, Iowa, Ziffren was the youngest of six children. His mother, who spoke only Yiddish, ran the family's grocery store.
During World War II, he did intelligence work in Paris for the Army, said Mimi Ziffren-Adams, his only child.
He also received his bachelor's degree from UCLA, where he later chaired the National Advisory Council of the Neuropsychiatric Institute. Ziffren also served on the board of the UCLA Foundation and UCLA's School of Medicine and Center on Aging.
In 1971, he became the youngest president elected to head Temple Israel of Hollywood, The Times reported at the time.
He was a founding board member and benefactor of the Skirball Cultural Center and served in leadership roles on boards affiliated with Hebrew Union College, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Los Angeles Opera.
Ziffren lived with Paulette, his wife of 58 years, in Beverly Hills.
Gus Mercurio, an American-born actor who starred in several Australian TV series and appeared in films such as "The Blue Lagoon," "The Man from Snowy River" and "Crocodile Dundee II," died Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia, from complications during surgery for a chest aneurysm. He was 82.
Times staff and wire reports