Morris (Morey) Mirkin, who opened the first Budget Rent-a-Car office at Wilshire and Robertson boulevards in Los Angeles in 1958, died of cancer Thursday at his Beverly Hills home. He was 66.
Mirkin, an Air Force veteran of World War II, also was a thoroughbred horse breeder. Horses under his colors have won the Hollywood Park Gold Cup and the All-American Handicap at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif.
From Mirkin's first rental lot evolved an operation that now is among the largest franchise vehicle rental systems in the world. At present the company is represented at more than 2,800 locations in 95 countries.
Mirkin sold Budget in 1968 to Transamerica Corp. but retained his holdings in Southern California and Nevada. He also owned the Chrysler Building in Chicago, said Wanda Henderson, a family spokeswoman.
He was born in Sioux City, Iowa, to Russian immigrant parents and sponsored a Sioux City Picnic at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills each year.
He is survived by his wife, Claudia, seven children and three sisters. Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Hillside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Morris Mirkin Foundation, 146 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, 90215, an organization the family established to help children with learning disabilities.