BEDFORD, N.Y. -- William Louis-Dreyfus, 84, of Bedford, a billionaire business mogul and the father of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, died Friday, Sept. 16.
Known locally as a generous philanthropist and art-collector who gave away much of his fortune to needy organizations such as The Harlem Children's Zone, he also opened an art gallery in Mount Kisco to support local organizations including the Bedford Hills Free Library and the Horace Greeley Scholarship Fund, according to People.com.
His private art collection was said to be worth between $10 million and $50 million and included works by hundreds of artists in all disciplines, said lohud.com.
Born in France in 1932, Louis-Dreyfus grew up in Paris before moving to America with his mother when his parents divorced. His father, Pierre Louis-Dreyfus, was famous in his own right for taking part in the French Resistance during World War II, and as part of his family's giant corporation, the Louis Dreyfus Group, said People.com.
Louis-Dreyfus started his career as a lawyer, after graduating from Duke University's School of Law. He then went on to form and serve as the chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services. Although he was known for his businesses acumen, he was also a poet, who served for 10 years as the chairman of the Poetry Society of America, added People.com.
After living for years in Manhattan, he moved to Bedford, in the early 2000s.
During Sunday's nights Emmy Awards show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus dedicated her seventh Emmy to her father: “I’m so glad he liked 'Veep' because his opinion was the one that really mattered,” she said.
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis B. Louis-Dreyfus of Bedford, and three daughters.
Funeral arrangements, are being handled by the Cassidy-Flynn Funeral Home in Mount Kisco, which stated services will be private, said lohud.com.
Messages to the family can be made here. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the following organizations:
- Neighbors Link of Northern Westchester. www.neighborslink.org.
- Duke University School of Law, Attn: William Louis-Dreyfus Fund –Wrongful Convictions Clinic, Box 90389, Durham, NC 27708.
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