PASSINGS: Harold David Berkowitz, Tom McDonald

Harold Berkowitz had practiced entertainment law in the L.A. area since the 1940s.

Harold David Berkowitz

L.A. film industry lawyer

Harold David Berkowitz, 92, an entertainment lawyer who had practiced locally since the 1940s, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home from a stroke, said Kathy Monkarsh, a daughter.

He was a senior partner with Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz & Selvin when the Beverly Hills firm made news in 1981 when about half of its 65 lawyers fled the well-regarded entertainment law firm, partly over pay disputes.


Berkowitz remained active in the firm, which represented 20th Century Fox and the William Morris Agency. His clients included Blake Edwards, Jack Lemmon, Robert Mitchum and many producers, his daughter said.

Known as a “great negotiator,” he later moved to the law firm of Loeb & Loeb, she said.

Born in the Bronx in 1918, Berkowitz entered City College of New York at 16, earned a law degree from New York University and followed his family west.

When his first wife died at age 47 in 1965, he “became mother and father all in one” to their four children, then between 8 and 19 years old, his daughter said.


“He was an enigma,” she said. “His public and private persona were so different. He was brusque . . . but also an artist and a poet.”

His second marriage ended after two decades.

He shared a beach house in Malibu, which he built more than 20 years ago, with longtime companion Constance Austin.

Tom McDonald


Aide to county, state prosecutors

Tom McDonald, 74, a longtime assistant in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office who also was press secretary for two state attorneys general, died March 30 at his home in Los Angeles after a long illness, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley announced.

McDonald was a reporter for the New York Times when in 1961 he became press secretary for California Atty. Gen. Stanley Mosk. After Mosk was appointed to the state Supreme Court, McDonald worked for his successor, Tom Lynch.

In 1971, he became a special assistant to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Joe Busch. He retired in 2007 from the district attorney’s office.


Thomas Currie McDonald was born July 6, 1935, in Los Angeles. He graduated from what was then Loyola University in L.A. and attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

-- times staff and wire reports