William J. Bird; Los Angeles Estate Attorney Active in Community

William J. Bird, a prominent Los Angeles estate attorney who handled the fortunes of such luminaries as Jules C. Stein, Lew R. Wasserman and Hal B. Wallis, has died. He was 55.

Bird died Feb. 10 after a fall in his home, said his close friend Gordon Crawford.

Along with managing the trusts of principal donors, Bird also handled funds for the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, the Wasserman Foundation, the Wallis Foundation and the Thornton Foundation set up by TRW co-founder Charles B. (Tex) Thornton.

Recognized as an expert in probate and estate planning law, Bird lectured at UCLA and USC and was a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

He was also active in the community. He had chaired the board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the Los Angeles branch of the English Speaking Union. He was also active in Ear International, the Fraternity of Friends of the Music Center and the Music Center United Fund.

Born in Sussex, England, Bird earned his bachelor's degree at Harvard University and his law degree at Stanford, where he was on the Stanford Law Review's board of editors.

He is survived by his wife, Toni; his mother, Edna, and three children, Bryan, Camilla and Michael.

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