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January 16, 2013
Philanthropist co-founded the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque.
Philanthropist, professional sports team owner and co-founder of the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque George Gund III died at 75 in California on Jan. 14.
“George Gund was a firm supporter of the Cleveland Institute of Art over many decades, and has given so much time and treasure to so many social and cultural institutions that enrich the lives of others around the country,” said CIA President and CEO Grafton Nunes. “He was a tireless champion of foreign and independent film. Here in Cleveland, we benefit year-round from his foresight through his co-founding of the CIA Cinematheque. Our sympathies go to his family members and those at the Gund Foundation.”
In 1984, Gund co-founded the Cinematheque with the late Ron Holloway and John Ewing, who remains director of the program. Cinematheque showed its first film on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in July 1985 and moved to its permanent home at CIA in August 1986.
“George Gund changed my life,” a grateful Ewing said. “It was fortuitous that our paths crossed, we discovered that we shared a love for Eastern European films, and he wanted a Cinematheque in Cleveland. Fortunately, he had the means and the clout to make his dream of a Cinematheque come true.”
Gund was also a founding trustee of the Cleveland International Film Festival, the long-time chair of the San Francisco Film Society, and former owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cleveland Barons and San Jose Sharks professional hockey teams.
Over the years he served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Musical Arts Foundation (Cleveland Orchestra), the Cleveland Museum of Art, Pacific Film Archive, Sundance Institute, National Museum of the American Indian, and UC Berkeley Art Museum.
Gund was the son and namesake of George Gund II, who served as CIA board president from 1942-1966 and for whom the Institute’s East Boulevard building is named. Last fall, the George Gund Foundation, a long-time supporter of CIA, announced that the foundation and family members of the senior Gund, including George Gund III, would collectively make a second $5 million commitment to CIA’s campus unification project. In recognition of a total of $10 million in Gund giving toward the campus project, CIA’s new Euclid Avenue building, to be adjoined to its Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts, will also be named for George Gund II.
George Gund III is survived by his wife, the film producer Iara Lee; his son George Gund IV; two grandchildren; and siblings Gordon, Graham, Geoffrey, Agnes and Louise Gund. His son Greg Gund died in 2005. A public memorial in San Francisco is being planned, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
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