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Obituaries in the News

June 8, 2002

Martin Aronstein

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Martin Aronstein, a five-time Tony Award nominee for theatrical design who was known for his groundbreaking use of lights, died May 3 of heart failure. He was 65.

Aronstein designed more than 100 Broadway plays over his career, starting with ``The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore″ in 1963. Other credits included ``Forty Carats,″ ``Cactus Flower,″ ``Tiny Alice,″ ``Promises, Promises″ and ``Play It Again, Sam.″

Aronstein received Tony nominations in three successive years for ``Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death″ in 1972, ``Much Ado About Nothing″ in 1973 and ``In the Boom Boom Room″ in 1974.

He was nominated twice more for ``Medea″ in 1982 and ``Wild Honey″ in 1987.

In 1996, he won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Angstrom Award for career achievement in lighting.

George Louis Graziadio Jr.

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ George Louis Graziadio Jr., who co-founded one of the largest banks in Southern California and was a major donor to charities and universities, has died. He was 82.

Graziadio died of cancer Thursday at his home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, said George McQuade, a publicist for Pepperdine University.

Graziadio was chairman of Comerica Bank-California, which bought Imperial Bancorp two years ago for $1.3 billion in stock.

Graziadio and George Eltinge formed Imperial Bank in 1963. It later became Imperial Bancorp and grew into one of the largest banks in Southern California, specializing in lending to the entertainment and emerging technology industries.

Graziadio was a noted contributor to charitable causes and universities. In 1996, he made a $15 million donation to the business school at Pepperdine University in Malibu. At the time, it was one the largest gifts ever to a business school, which was later named after him.

Shirley Greitzer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Shirley Greitzer, a pianist and the former director of placement at the Juilliard School, died May 29. She was 76.

Greitzer was the director of placement at Juilliard for nearly a decade, beginning in 1990. During her tenure there, she arranged for students to perform in lunchtime concert series throughout the city, in part to give them experience performing in front of live audiences. She insisted that they be paid.

Born in Dallas, Greitzer first performed professionally with the Dallas Symphony. At the age of 17, she was awarded a scholarship to Juilliard, where she became Rosina Lhevine’s assistant and studied chamber music with Felix Salmond and Louis Persinger.

Greitzer was the harpsichordist for the Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York in the early 1970s. She also served as executive director of the Waterloo Music Festival School from 1979 to 1988.

Barbara Preiskel

NEW YORK (AP) _ Barbara Preiskel, a lawyer who fought to break down racial barriers in entertainment law, died Tuesday of leukemia. She was 77.

In 1947, Preiskel became the second black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. From 1959 to 1983, she was a lawyer and executive with the Motion Picture Association of America, where she aided the association’s president, Jack Valenti, in a legal battle over state and local censorship laws, many which tried to censor depictions of interracial relationships.

Preiskel served on numerous corporate boards, including the Washington Post Company, General Electric, and Levi Strauss & Company. She was also a member of many charity boards, most recently the Sept. 11 Fund, and a trustee of Yale, Wellesley and Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

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