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Budget Rent-A-Car Founder Dies

January 22, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ Jules Lederer, founder of Budget Rent-A-Car and former husband of columnist Ann Landers, has died of a heart attack. He was 81.

Lederer died at his home near London on Thursday.

Lederer dropped out of school in the ninth grade and sold everything from pens and hats to logs and newspapers before starting Budget, which grew into one of the nation’s largest rental car companies.

``He lived in the lingo of business,″ said his and Landers’ daughter, Margo Lederer. She described her father as a street-smart, lifelong salesman.

Budget quickly became a success by offering an affordable alternative to the growing leisure and business travel market. In its early years the company rented out cars from offices near airports at $5 a day and 5 cents a mile.

He and Landers, born Esther ``Eppie″ Friedman, married in 1939. She began writing the advice column that made her famous in 1955.

They divorced in 1975, a decision Landers announced in ``the most difficult column I have ever tried to put together.″

``How did it happen that something so good didn’t last forever? The lady with all the answers does not know the answer to this one.″

Born in Detroit, Lederer also lived in Milwaukee, New Orleans, Chicago and Sioux City, Iowa. He moved to London about 25 years ago after selling Budget and separating from Landers.

Landers continues to live in Chicago. She did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Lederer’s death.

Besides his older daughter, he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; daughter Anthea Lederer; a brother; a sister; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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