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Chandler, Dorothy Buffum (1901–1997)

Chandler, Dorothy Buffum (1901–1997)

American newspaper executive, civic activist, and the major force behind the building of Los Angeles' Music Center. Name variations: Buffy. Born Dorothy Buffum in Lafayette, Illinois, on May 19, 1901; died on July 6, 1997; one of three children of Charles Abel (owner of a chain of department stores) and Fern (Smith) Buffum; graduated from Long Beach High School, 1919; attended Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California; married Norman Chandler (publisher of the Los Angeles Times from 1944 to 1960), on August 30, 1922; children: Otis Chandler (publisher of the Los Angeles Times from 1960 to 1980); Camilla Chandler.

Dorothy Chandler, wife of Norman Chandler, president and publisher of the Los Angeles-based Times-Mirror Company, became administrative assistant to her husband in 1948. She helped him establish an afternoon paper, the Los Angeles Mirror, and worked with the women's department of the Los Angeles Times. Although Chandler became a director of the company in 1955 (she retired in 1976), it was her long involvement in civic affairs that prompted Life magazine to refer to her in a 1956 article as the "great lady of the West."

In 1950, Chandler initiated the Los Angeles Times Women of the Year Awards, which were presented annually to southern California's outstanding women. She was a recipient of this award in 1951 in recognition of her work in fund-raising for the financially distressed Hollywood Bowl. She was active with the Southern California Symphony Association and served as director of the San Francisco Opera Association. Chandler also raised funds for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and helped make possible the orchestra's tour of the Orient in 1956. She chaired the board of the Civic Auditorium and Music Center Association of Los Angeles County and served on the boards of Children's Hospital, Occidental College, and the University of California. Named to President Dwight Eisenhower's U.S. Committee on Education Beyond the High School, Chandler traveled to the USSR in 1955 and later appeared before an Education and Labor subcommittee to urge adoption of a more liberal cultural-exchange program. In the early 1960s, Chandler raised a "staggering $18.5 million," wrote a Time magazine correspondent, to build the Los Angeles Music Center, "and organized a company to float another $13.7 million in bonds to finish the job." The Music Center now houses the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, from which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has held its yearly awards ceremony.

suggested reading:

Time (cover story on Dorothy Chandler). December 18, 1964.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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