Bram Goldsmith, Chairman Emeritus Of City National Bank, Dead At 93
Updated: Monday, February 29, 2016 – 1 PM
By Matt Lopez
Longtime Beverly Hills resident Bram Goldsmith, Chairman Emeritus of City National Bank and Founding Chairman of The Wallis, died Sunday at age 93.
Goldsmith was born in Chicago in 1923 to Bertha and Max Goldsmith. He attended the University of Illinois and joined the U.S. Army in 1942. Following World War II, he returned to Chicago, but then moved to Los Angeles in 1952.
After 25 years as President and Chief Executive Officer at Buckeye Realty and Construction Company – during which time he built more than 30 office towers in Beverly Hills – he was elected to the Board of Directors of City National Bank in 1964. He was named Chairman in 1975, a title he held until 2013. As Chairman and CEO, Goldsmith grew the company’s assets more than five-fold, to $3.2 billion.
“My father was a remarkable man, truly one of a kind,” said his son Russell Goldsmith, City National’s Chairman and CEO. “He accomplished an enormous amount during his long and rewarding life. Among other things, he established the high standards, reputation, values and value proposition that continue to define City National today. We are all very proud of him, and he in turn was deeply proud of this company, what it does for its clients and the thousands of colleagues who made it what it is today.”
The Los Angeles Times in 2012 called Goldsmith the “Banker to the Stars” for a clientele that includes Frank Sinatra, Wolfgang Puck, Vin Scully, Robert Redford, Cher and Paul Newman.
Goldsmith’s many philanthropic and civic accomplishments include: serving as president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles in 1969 and 1970, and chairing the 1965 Los Angeles United Jewish Fund Campaign. Today, the federation’s Los Angeles headquarters is the Goldsmith Center.
Goldsmith also was a national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal from 1970 to 1974, a board member of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from 1979 to 1999, and a board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. He was a lifetime trustee of all three organizations.
He was a board member of the Los Angeles Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 1981 to 1987. He also served as president of Hillcrest Country Club from 1972 to 1975.
Mr. Goldsmith also chaired the Wallis Annenberg Cultural Center Foundation and led the effort to renovate the old Beverly Hills Post Office and convert it to Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
“It is the responsibility of every individual to help contribute to the growth and security of its neighbors and its opportunities,” Goldsmith told The Courier in a November 2014 feature profile.
Goldsmith is survived by his wife Elaine, their two sons Russell and Bruce, and five grandchildren.
There will be a public memorial service in celebration of Mr. Goldsmith’s life at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4 in the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The service will be followed by a reception in the same location.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mr. Goldsmith’s name to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center or the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.