Edie Wasserman, philanthropist was 95

Edie Wasserman was called the first lady of Hollywood and with her late husband, the studio powerhouse Lew Wasserman, was a major donor to local institutions. She died today in Beverly Hills of natural causes, a family spokesman announced. The Woodland Hills campus of the Motion Picture and Television Fund is named for the Wassermans. A major new eye research and patient-care facility under construction at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute is to be called the Edie and Lew Wasserman Building. End of an era in Hollywood, says The Wrap:

Though Lew Wasserman commanded a higher profile in the industry, his wife played a key role in his rise from agent to the chief of MCA/Universal.

She was known to be her husband's eyes and ears in the town, helping him build and maintain relationships with actors and industry executives. An invitation to a cocktail party at the Wassermans' Beverly Hills home was seen as sign that a star or aspiring power player had arrived....

Edie Wasserman's time at the center of Hollywood society spanned decades, starting in the 1950s, when her husband was an agent to the town's top talent, through the 1990s, when he found his influence at Universal increasingly diminished following Seagram's purchase of the studio.

Early stories: LAT, Variety, Reuters, UCLA Newsroom

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Hollywood stories on LA Observed:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
Volleying with Rosie Casals
LACMA costumes curator on Queen Victoria as fashion icon
Costume designer Mary Zophres moves on from 'La La Land'
Robert Osborne, 84, host on Turner Classic Movies
Oscars end on a surprise plot twist*


LA Observed on Twitter