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The Culture Broker

Franklin D. Murphy and the Transformation of Los Angeles

Margaret Leslie Davis (Author)

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Hardcover, 495 pages
ISBN: 9780520224957
August 2007
$85.00, £62.95
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Franklin Murphy? It's not a name that is widely known; even during his lifetime the public knew little of him. But for nearly thirty years, Murphy was the dominant figure in the cultural development of Los Angeles. Behind the scenes, Murphy used his role as confidant, family friend, and advisor to the founders and scions of some of America's greatest fortunes—Ahmanson, Rockefeller, Ford, Mellon, and Annenberg—to direct the largesse of the wealthy into cultural institutions of his choosing. In this first full biography of Franklin D. Murphy (1916-994), Margaret Leslie Davis delivers the compelling story of how Murphy, as chancellor of UCLA and later as chief executive of the Times Mirror media empire, was able to influence academia, the media, and cultural foundations to reshape a fundamentally provincial city. The Culture Broker brings to light the influence of L.A.'s powerful families and chronicles the mixed motives behind large public endeavors. Channeling more than one billion dollars into the city's arts and educational infrastructure, Franklin Murphy elevated Los Angeles to a vibrant world-class city positioned for its role in the new era of global trade and cross-cultural arts.
preface: the art of the trustee / xi
prologue: something to prove / 1
The Kansas Mission . The Mad Governor versus the Boy Wonder . Imprinted by the Heartland

part i: chancellor

one: into the pastel empire / 21
A City Rethinking Itself . The Three Powerful Southern Regents . Lure of an Adolescent City . The Investiture of Otis Chandler

two: ucla in worldwide terms / 42
Taking Command: Hail to the Hills of Westwood . Funding Culture in the Cold War . The Titan Chancellor . Symbols of Authority . The Scions Paul Mellon and Henry Ford II

three: turmoil and golden moments / 75
Opening Night, Los Angeles Music Center . Opening Night, Los Angeles County Museum of Art . The Shadow behind the Golden Glow: The Watts Rebellion of August 1965 . University in Turmoil . Colossal Construction . A Threat to Clark Kerr . The Rise of Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Clark Kerr

four: 1968—year of crisis / 102
The Embattled Chancellor . Resignation . The Death of Howard Ahmanson

part ii: chairman

five: the chancellor becomes ceo / 119
“A Beauty to Behold” . The Interlocking Directorate . Politics and the Mighty Chandlers . Jubilant Republicans and the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

six: the chandler empire in the watergate years / 138
A Time of Scandal . The Picasso Room . A Family Crisis . The Passing of Norman Chandler . “A Cancer on the Presidency” . Pressures and Prestige . The Forced Retirement of Dorothy Chandler

seven: power and philanthropy / 172
Pushing the New York Times off Its Perch . Henry Ford II versus Lee Iacocca .The Legacy of Howard F. Ahmanson . The Impact of the Ahmanson Foundation on Los Angeles . The Confirmation of Nelson Rockefeller . The Chairman of Times Mirror Retires . Golden Donors

part iii: trustee

eight: the los angeles county museum of art / 209
The Pursuit of Norton Simon and Armand Hammer . The Challenge for a New Director . The County Museum in Peril . Los Angeles in “Art Heaven”

nine: the national gallery of art / 239
Joining Forces with J. Carter Brown . The Visit of Princess Diana . Courting Collectors Armand Hammer and Walter Annenberg . Trusteeship and Successorship

ten: the samuel h. kress foundation / 261
The Kress Brothers . Giveaways and Preservation

eleven: the j. paul getty trust / 273
Family Dynamics . An Afternoon with J. Paul Getty . The Getty Curse . The Richest Museum in the World . A Golden Moment for Harold Williams . An Acropolis for Los Angeles

twelve: three that got away / 319
The Deceptions of Armand Hammer . The Lost Treasures of Norton Simon . The Fateful Wounding of Walter Annenberg

part iv: steward

thirteen: changing of the guard / 347
A Time of Loss . New Era, New Leaders, New Priorities . Building a Multicultural City . Linking Los Angeles’s Libraries . Civic Pride and Civil Unrest . Rescue for the Huntington Library

fourteen: the doge of los angeles / 373
Chaos at the County Museum . Shifting Leverage . Final Bows

afterword: the mosaic city / 389
acknowledgments / 393
notes / 395
selected bibliography / 451
index / 463
Margaret Leslie Davis is a California lawyer and is also the author of Dark Side of Fortune: Triumph and Scandal in the Life of Oil Tycoon Edward L. Doheny (UC Press, 1998) and Rivers in the Desert: William Mulholland and the Inventing of Los Angeles (1993), for which she won the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award in nonfiction.
“Margaret Leslie Davis' ongoing examination of Los Angeles through the lives of its civic and cultural leaders is a grand project, deserving of generous praise. More than any writer of our time, she is methodically supplying this city with an understanding of itself. . . . Davis' devotion to the task is evident in her choice of subjects . . . and in the rigorous research that is her signature. She is amassing a body of work without peer and, in the process, is delivering subtle lessons for today's leaders -- or what's left of them.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“From his long encouragement of Howard Ahmanson and his foundation, from the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, from the mighty Getty to the National Galley to the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History to the Norton Simon to the Kress Foundation to the Franklin D. Murphy sculpture garden at UCLA to the Skirball Cultural Center (for exploring the relationship between Jewish culture and American -ideals)--in ways large and small, modest and grand, Murphy built and left his monument for all the rest of Los Angeles, California, and the nation. . . . It was a magnificent achievement, now handsomely and fully told by Margaret Leslie Davis.”—The Weekly Standard
“Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what makes modern Los Angeles tick. . . . Her earlier books made me a Davis fan, and I eagerly gobbled up every word of this lively and enlightening volume.”—Www. Leonardmaltin.com
"Los Angeles as a cultural capital did not exist in 1960 when Franklin D. Murphy, M.D., rode into town. Over the ensuing thirty years, more than any other single individual, it was he who put it on the cultural map. In a brilliant work that includes a set of now-it-can-be-told institutional histories, Margaret Leslie Davis writes the history of an exceptional city at an exceptional time through the life story of a little-known but utterly exceptional man."—Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize winner and Distinguished Professor of English, University of California, Irvine

“Rarely has a city and a man been better suited to one another. In this fascinating biography, Margaret Leslie Davis tells us how one man—as chancellor, corporate leader, and cultural entrepreneur—supercharged the transformation of a regional city into a world-class metropolis.”—Kevin Starr, Professor, University of Southern California, and former California State Librarian

"Once again, Margaret Leslie Davis has chosen a fascinating subject and produced a compelling—and revelatory—biography. Franklin D. Murphy may not have been the most visible architect of the ‘new’ Los Angeles but he may well have been the single most influential figure of his time, leaving his fingerprints on everything from the expanded UCLA to the Getty Center. Anyone who lives in 21st century L.A. should learn about the man who shaped the city’s culture as we know it.”—Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian

"Franklin D. Murphy left an enormous imprint on Los Angeles because he touched so many different spheres. Thankfully, Murphy has a biographer whose protean knowledge rivals her subject's. Margaret Leslie Davis's fluency across topics—medicine and education; art and architecture; industry and media; philanthropy, politics and civic affairs—is absolutely stunning."—Rick Wartzman, Los Angeles Times columnist and author of The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire

"At the height of his cultural and educational authority, Franklin Murphy was everywhere in Los Angeles. In this fine biography, Margaret Leslie Davis has traced his extraordinary influence and legacy. The Culture Broker is a careful tracing of the life and work of arguably the most important cultural figure in all of 20th century Los Angeles."—William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

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