Bernard “Bernie” Briskin
Passed peacefully at his home on February 29, 2020 at age 95, surrounded by all his children, grandchildren and his beloved wife.
Born May 21,1924 to Sara and Samuel J. Briskin in New York, he came to
Los Angeles a year later at the very start of the Golden Age of Hollywood. His father, Sam, whom Bernie idolized, was one of the original movie moguls alongside the likes of Harry Cohn, Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner. After the Second World War Sam joined with Frank Capra, William Wyler and George Stevens to create many iconic films, including the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Bernie’s early education was at Black-Foxe Military Institute in Hollywood, followed by prep school on the east coast at the Worcester Academy where he participated on the lacrosse and swim team. He returned to California for high school and graduated from Beverly Hills High. In school he excelled in academics and lettered in varsity swimming.
Following graduation Bernie enlisted and served from 1943 to 1945 in the United States Marine Corps and then enrolled at Stanford and graduated from UCLA. He was on the varsity swim team at both universities.
Bernie graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the UCLA School of Business, which later became the Anderson School of Business that he has supported for many years.
Bernie started his career with a position at The May Company. He went on to become a valued employee of Norton Simon. After 10 years Bernie acquired Telautograph, where he was President from 1963 through 1978.
In 1978 Bernie became owner, President and CEO of the Arden Group until his retirement in 2014. During some of that period Arden Group owned, among other interests, Gelson’s Markets, Mayfair Markets, Farrells Ice Cream, Arden Dairies and other well-known businesses in Southern California. He was overwhelmingly loved by his loyal employees and totally trusted by the businesspeople he dealt with. He was noted by Forbes, and Malcolm Forbes himself, as a superb businessman.
Bernie and Judy have been philanthropists in Los Angeles and deeply involved in their community at large. They became critical supporters and volunteers in the fabric of medical research, synagogue life, women’s healthcare, the homeless and educational opportunities for underprivileged youngsters throughout innumerable charitable organizations in Southern California.
They’ve led fundraising campaigns, contributed and raised countless sums for medical, religious, and educational institutions, leaving a meaningful charitable legacy throughout Southern California. Some of the city’s finest organizations, Cedars-Sinai, City of Hope, UCLA, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Venice Family Clinic, Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Foundation, Weizmann Institute of Science and The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts, many of which bear the family’s name as an enduring testament to their generosity and leadership.
He was a past President of Temple Israel of Hollywood and until his death he continued to actively serve on the Board of Directors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the Venice Family Clinic.
Bernie touched so many lives and his interests and passions covered a varied spectrum: from finance and politics, to wine and his “sweet tooth” addiction to chocolate. He was never at a loss of topics for in-depth and informed discussion with family, work colleagues and friends.
Bernie is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Judy, who was by his side until his last breath; his children of whom he was so proud, Jeffrey, Sharon, Deborah, Julie, Matt, Rex, Cam and Kevin; his adoring grandchildren, Sam, Miles, Sara, Claire, Kate, Madeline, Simon, Oliver, Christopher, Sara, Danielle and Jason; and his great-grandchildren, Charlie, Aubree, Christopher, Lucas, Kayla, and Lexi. Bernie is also survived by his first wife, Carol Weisman. Nothing made him happier than to be surrounded by his family and he was always there for them whenever they needed him.
The family is indebted to Bernie’s caregivers Roger, Gilbert, Lui and Au who attended to his every need with the utmost compassion through to the end.
Bernie was an indominable force and a source of inspiration to everyone who has had the privilege of knowing him. As a friend to everyone, he enriched their lives with his wisdom and limitless love.
Services and final resting will be held at Hillside Memorial Park on Tuesday March 3rd at 1pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations, in Bernie’s name, can be made to one of the charities listed above