Eli Broad gets candid with ‘60 Minutes’

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‘He who dies with wealth dies with shame,” Andrew Carnegie once said. The famous quote was repeated Sunday night by Eli Broad -- the Los Angeles billionaire and philanthropist -- on the occasion of a profile piece on CBS’ ‘60 Minutes.’ Interviewed by Morley Safer, Broad opened up about his philanthropic activities, his art collection and his reputation for being difficult and demanding.

Sunday’s profile of Broad shed a largely positive light on the 77-year-old businessman. But the segment was also notable for what it didn’t include. Among the conspicuously absent were the leaders of L.A.'s biggest museums, some of whom have had less than amicable dealings with Broad. As Safer put it to the silver-haired billionaire, most people didn’t want to speak on the record about their criticisms.

Those offering praise included Michael Bloomberg, a fellow billionaire and mayor of New York, and Jeff Koons, whose works of art rest in Broad’s extensive collection.

At one point during the segment, Broad stated that his foundation didn’t operate as a charity but rather as ‘a venture philanthropy’ -- which is to say that he expects results from the organizations to which he gives.


Broad also spoke briefly about his two children. ‘They’re well taken care of,’ he told Safer, adding that they didn’t share his ambition to build a big business.

Architect Frank Gehry provided a darker view of Broad, calling the billionaire a ‘control freak.’ Broad had hired Gehry to design his home but ended up firing the architect. They later clashed over the construction of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Also on hand was L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight, who noted that the billionaire was sometimes referred to as Eli ‘Strings Attached’ Broad. Responding to his critics, Broad described himself as a ‘perfectionist,’ saying that he wanted to be respected, not necessarily loved.

Those who missed Sunday’s broadcast can watch it online, along with additional footage that didn’t make the TV cut.


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-- David Ng

Photos, from top: Eli and Edythe Broad. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times. Broad, in front of a rendering of his new art museum to be built in downtown L.A. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times