Muhammad Ali, 74

ali-nationofislam-olympicaud-lapl.jpgAli with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad at the Olympic Auditorium in 1964. LAPL/Herald Examiner Collection.

Muhammad Ali, who died today at age 74, had a lot of connections to Los Angeles. He boxed here, famously, beginning with a bout at the Sports Arena on April 23, 1962. In 1964, the boxer renounced his given name, Cassius Clay, and appeared at the Olympic Auditorium with Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad (above.) For a time he lived in one of the city's oldest mansions, the first home built in the Fremont Place development off Wilshire Boulevard near Hancock Park. The home has recently been owned by city commissioner and prominent Obama supporter Michael Lawson, but my information on that is dated and I don't know if he is still there.

Ali has been written about a few times at LA Observed. Here are some posts from the vault.

Most recently, in 2014, David Davis interviewed photographer Al Satterwhite about his portraits of Ali before the champ's defeat of LA boxer Jerry Quarry in 1970. Davis also did a wonderful piece in 2012 about the Olympic Auditorium's house photographer, Theo Ehret, who had also photographed Ali.

Also in 2012, I did a quick post on Ali's Los Angeles fights and other connections.

Ali died Friday at a Phoenix-area hospital, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications. Ali suffered recently from Parkinson’s disease and spinal stenosis, and he lived in Paradise Valley, Arizona at the time he died.

Here he is in 1981 helping talk a despondent man from jumping to his death on Wilshire Boulevard. The video is from CBS News and the reporter is longtime Los Angeles correspondent Terry Drinkwater.

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