Philanthropist Bram Goldsmith, former UJA chair, dies at 93
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Philanthropist Bram Goldsmith, former UJA chair, dies at 93

LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Bram Goldsmith, a banking executive who left a deep imprint on Los Angeles and its Jewish community, has died.

Goldsmith, a former national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, died Sunday in his Beverly Hills home. He was 93.

City National Bank, which he served 20 years as chief executive and 38 years as chairman, during his tenure became known as “the bank to the stars,” providing highly personalized services to a Who’s Who of Hollywood celebrities. In 1984, he was the highest paid banker in the United States at an annual salary of $3.1 million, more than the combined salaries of the next three CEOs at Bank of America, Citibank and Chase Manhattan.

As his bank’s and personal wealth grew, Goldsmith became a patron of the arts, but increasingly put his energy and money into Jewish causes.

“There is no single individual in the history of the Jewish community in Los Angeles who has had greater impact and leaves a greater legacy than Bram Goldsmith,” Jay Sanderson, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, told the Jewish Journal.

Along with UJA, Goldsmith served in a number of local and national offices for Jewish organizations.

Goldsmith and his wife, Elaine, were major supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, endowing two buildings, a professorial chair and an instrumentation fund.

Born in Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Goldsmith served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II before launching his business career in Los Angeles, first in real estate construction and then joining City National Bank.