Max Palevsky, a computer executive and arts philanthropist who helped finance various political campaigns, including Tom Bradley's first successful run for mayor of Los Angeles, died Wednesday in Beverly Hills at age 85, his wife said.
Jodie Evans told City News Service her husband died in his sleep from heart failure.
Born to Polish immigrant parents in Chicago, Palevsky worked as a computer logic designer at Bendix Corp. and as director of Packard Bell Computer Corp. before founding Scientific Data Systems Inc. in 1961.
The Xerox Corp. acquired the company for a reported $1 billion eight years later, and Palevsky became a director and chairman of the Xerox executive committee. He retired in 1972.
In the ensuing years, he helped found Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, and served as a director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Constitutional Rights Foundation and People for the American Way.
He also became a director and board chairman of Rolling Stone magazine, revitalizing the then-struggling publication by buying a substantial share of the stock.
Palevsky produced several films, including "Marjoe," which won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 1973, Costa Gavras' "State of Siege," Marcel Ophuls' "Sense of Loss," "Island in the Stream" and "Fun with Dick and Jane," according to his family.
He also helped financed films including Terrence Malick's "Badlands."
Palevsky, a Los Angeles resident since 1950, used much of his fortune to build major art collections and finance political campaigns, including Bradley's 1973 mayoral run.
An early supporter of George McGovern during his 1972 presidential campaign, Palevsky also backed the presidential runs of Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. He was also a powerful backer of former Gov. Gray Davis.
Palevsky was credited with preventing the destruction of the Aero Theater, which is now run by American Cinematheque. He bequeathed his collection of Arts and Crafts furniture and Japanese prints to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In addition to his wife, who co-founded CODEPINK, Palevsky is survived by his son Nicholas; daughter Madeleine and son-in-law Jeff, and their children Penelope, Jimmy and Sonny; his son Alexander and daughter-in-law Alison and their son Miles; his son Jonathan and Jonathan's fiancee Lindsay May; his son Matthew; step-son Jan Krajewski III and his sister Helen Futterman.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the ACLU, LACMA or the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.