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O. Erteszek, 73; Lingerie Queen of Olga Co.

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Olga Erteszek, who came to Los Angeles with $10 in her pocket and became the queen of ladies’ lingerie, died Friday of cancer in her Brentwood home. She was 73.

Erteszek, renowned for her innovative designs, was the first woman to receive the California Industrialist of the Year award when she and her husband, Jan, were honored in 1985 for lifetime contributions to the state’s businesses and manufacturing. Many of her lingerie designs were awarded patents for their originality.

Born in Krakow, Poland, Erteszek came to Los Angeles in 1941 with her husband, and together they used their only $10 to rent a sewing machine and buy fabric to produce her first garter belt samples. Although they spoke little English, they were able to sell an order for two dozen to Bullocks Wilshire.

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From that start, the Olga Co. became an industry giant, offering 150 garment designs in 2,000 variations of style and color. The company generated $67 million in yearly sales and had 1,800 employees before it was sold to Warnaco Inc. in 1984.

Erteszek is survived by three daughters, Christina Johnson, Victoria Foote and Mary Rudolph, and four grandchildren. Her husband died in 1986.

A memorial service has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.


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