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Real Estate Mogul Fred Sands Dies At 77

Fred Sands

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015 – 4:17 PM

By Matt Lopez

Real estate mogul Fred C. Sands died unexpectedly Friday at the age of 77.

Born in New York City on Feb. 16, 1938, Sands, the founder of Fred Sands Realtors and Vintage Capital Group, became Coldwell Banker’s top-producing real estate agent in 1968 after studying real estate and business administration at UCLA.

It was less than a year later that Sands opened the first Fred Sands Realtors office in Brentwood, the beginning of a 30-year career for Fred Sands Realtors, which eventually became the second-largest real estate and financial services company in California.

Fred Sands Realtors employed 4,000 people throughout its network of 72 offices across California and Nevada, generating $9.4 billion in sales volume per year and serving a sophisticated clientele that included U.S. presidents, corporate leaders and numerous Hollywood celebrities before Sands sold the company to Coldwell Banker in 2000.

Fred Sands Realtors invested time and resources into dozens of causes, including Adopt-a-School programs, the Special Olympics, American Cancer Society, United Way and girl and boy scouts.

Showing no signs of slowing down in the business world, Sands most recently served as chairman of Vintage Capital Group, which was founded in 2001. Sands and Vintage Capital Group acquired shopping centers and regional malls throughout the United States. He also chaired Vintage Fund Management, a private equity company that invests in growth companies.

“I never considered retiring,” Sands told The Los Angeles Times in a 2013 interview. “I’ve had friends retire, and nobody wants to go to lunch with them. I like to be active. I like the action, and I can’t see myself retiring.”

Sands, who has lived in Bel-Air with his wife Carla for many years, was named one of the “Top 25 CEOs of the Decade” by California Business Magazine and was a recipient of the American Academy of Achievement Award.

Sands is a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art and served as president of the board of directors and chair of its Investment Committee. He also served on the boards of the Los Angeles Police Foundation and Los Angeles Opera. Additionally, he was chairman of United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts and liaison to the Kennedy Center. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Sands to the California Arts Council.

“I was truly devastated to learn of Fred’s passing,” says Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton. “He was a delightful new friend and colleague in the effort to make Pepperdine better. His enthusiasm for his chosen profession, real estate, was infectious. I had known his name and reputation for years, but I barely had a glimpse of all that made Fred Sands such a special human being. His monetary gift to establish the Fred Sands Institute of Real Estate was generous, but the warmth of his friendship was more generous still. I am proud that the Sands family is forever a part of the Pepperdine community.”

Sands is survived by wife Carla, chairman of the Blue Ribbon of the Los Angeles Music Center; son Jonathan, daughter Alexandra and brother William.

Funeral services will be Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple at 3663 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, 90010.

In lieu of flowers, the Sands family requests donations be made in Sands’ memory to the Museum of Contemporary Art or Pepperdine’s Fred Sands Institute of Real Estate. Contributions to MOCA may be send to 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 90012. Contributions to Fred Sands Institute of Real Estate may be made by visiting

2 responses to “Real Estate Mogul Fred Sands Dies At 77”

  1. Howard Celnik says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Fred Sands passing, though I can’t understand that after providing Beverly Hills residents services for over 40 years, Dr. Arnold Klein did not come up in one of your blasts. As you must know by now, he passed away last Thursday.

    What gives? Cutting edge paper for Beverly Hills? Maybe, not.

    Howard Celnik

  2. Ken Ayeroff says:

    Fred Sands accomplished so much in both residential and commercial real estate. His charitable and educational endeavors are many and have touched the lives of countless individuals — he will be missed. My condolences to his family.

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