PASSINGS: Larry Totah, Rita Bronowski, Thomas Guinzburg

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L.A. architect

and designer


Larry Totah, 55, a Los Angeles architect and designer who created the look of retail boutiques, restaurants, furniture and home furnishings, died Sept. 3 at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. He had lymphoma, said close friend and family spokeswoman Andrea Kreuzhage.

His projects included the minimalist Maxfield clothing boutique on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, the since-closed Noa Noa Polynesian-themed restaurant in Beverly Hills and hairstylist Vidal Sassoon’s remodeled Beverly Hills home.

Totah also designed a line of furniture characterized by curves and bright colors and sporting names like Ribbon breakfast table and Cake sofa.

Born June 30, 1955, in Victoria, Texas, Totah studied architecture and design at the University of Houston, UCLA and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.


San Diego


arts patron

Rita Bronowski, 92, a San Diego arts patron who since the mid-1970s had dedicated herself to preserving the legacy of her late husband, Jacob Bronowski, a scientist, philosopher and poet perhaps best known for creating the public television series “Ascent of Man,” died Sept. 2 at the Pacific Palisades home of her daughter Judith Bronowski. The cause was not given.

Born Rita Coblentz in London on Sept. 15, 1917, she studied at St. Martin’s College of Art and became a sculptor. The couple were married in 1941 and came to the United States in 1964 when her husband was invited to become a fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla.

The couple had four children: Lisa Jardine, who became a noted British historian; Judith Bronowski, a filmmaker; Nicole Bronowski Plett, an arts writer, critic and editor; and Clare Bronowski, a Los Angeles attorney.

While living in La Jolla, Rita Bronowski supported the La Jolla Playhouse, where she served on the board of trustees, the Old Globe Theatre and other area arts groups.

After her husband died in 1974, she helped edit and shepherd into publication books he had begun: “A Sense of the Future,” “The Visionary Eye,” “”Magic, Science and Civilization” and “The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination.” She also narrated new epilogues to accompany a rebroadcast of the BBC “Ascent of Man” series on PBS in 1984.



Co-founder of

Paris Review

Thomas Guinzburg, 84, who helped found the Paris Review, the celebrated literary journal, and later ran the publisher Viking Press, died Wednesday in New York. The cause was complications from heart surgery, said his longtime companion, Victoria Anstead.

A Yale graduate and World War II veteran, Guinzburg helped launch the Paris Review in 1953 with its legendary founder George Plimpton, who served for nearly five decades as the magazine’s editor until his death in 2003.

As one of America’s premier venues for fiction and poetry, the Paris Review has published work by some of literature’s great stars, including Philip Roth, Jack Kerouac and V.S. Naipaul.


Guinzburg served as the magazine’s first managing editor and later as president of its board.

He started at Viking Press, the publisher founded by his father, Harold Guinzburg, in 1954, eventually becoming its president. He left the company in 1978.

In his later years, Guinzburg shifted his attention to philanthropy. He helped form a group of donors called the Dream Team at the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, which grants wishes to adult cancer patients, much like the Make-A-Wish Foundation does for children. And he sponsored the I Have a Dream foundation, created to help cover the cost of college tuition for low-income students.

—Times staff and wire reports