PASSINGS: Robert Pritzker, Liviu Ciulei



One of three brothers who built family business empire

Robert Pritzker, 85, a billionaire industrialist and one of three brothers who built the Pritzker family’s business empire, died of Parkinson’s disease Thursday in Chicago, said his executive assistant, Becky Spooner.


The Pritzker clan is among the nation’s wealthiest, worth more than $19 billion combined, according to Forbes magazine. It is in the process of dividing its empire among 11 adult cousins, the result of a family rift.

With his elder brother, Jay, Pritzker created a holding company called Marmon Group. They built it into a $7-billion conglomerate of dozens of firms that included manufacturers of railroad equipment, medical supplies and Hammond organs.

In 2002, Pritzker stepped down from the Chicago-based company after five decades at the helm. Jay died at 76 in 1999, and their younger brother, Donald, who ran the family’s Hyatt hotels enterprise, died at 39 in 1972.

Robert Alan Pritzker was born June 30, 1926, in Chicago. His grandfather arrived penniless in Chicago in 1881 from a Jewish ghetto near Kiev, Russia. His father, A.N. Pritzker, was a lawyer who made his fortune in business.

Pritzker and his family are known for their philanthropy. Their name is attached to the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, widely considered the most prestigious award in the field, and the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

In 1996, Pritzker gave $60 million to the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1946. The school now has a Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering.


Known to downplay his wealth, the father of five traveled economy class, wore bow ties and was described in a rare 1988 Forbes interview as being steeped in “pleasant rationality.”


Romanian film and theater director who was honored at Cannes

Liviu Ciulei, 88, a Romanian film and theater director who won a directing award at the Cannes Film Festival, died Monday in a hospital in Munich, Germany, where he lived. No cause was given.

As an actor, director and set designer, Ciulei was one of the most influential figures in Romanian theater and film. He won the best director award at Cannes in 1965 for “The Forest of the Hanged” and made more than 20 films, both as an actor and director.

Liviu Ciulei (pronounced LEAVE-you CHOO-lay) was born in 1923 and studied theater and architecture in Bucharest. He began his acting career in 1946, as Puck, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and began to direct in 1957.

For 10 years he was artistic director at Bucharest’s prestigious Bulandra Theater and from 1980 to 1985 he held the same position at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. During his tenure as director, the Guthrie received a Tony Award for best regional theater in 1982.

Ciulei later taught at Columbia University and New York University.

Times staff and wire reports