Frederick R. Weisman
businessman, art collector, philanthropist
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minn.
Weisman embodies the stereotypical American Dream. Raised in a household headed by his Russian immigrant parents, he began his career in the produce business, eventually landing a job with Hunt Foods. He married the founder's daughter and became the company president, amassing a considerable fortune. In 1970, he branched out, founding a firm to distribute imported cars on the east coast. Mid-Atlantic Toyota thrived, and when he sold it 20 years later he increased his wealth. He invested his money in art, particularly Modern American paintings and sculpture, donating some to museums and maintaining some 350 prized pieces in his private museum in his mansion in Holmby Hills, outside Los Angeles. Apart from artworks, he also donated money to museums, four of which were eventually named for him, and to medical concerns, including the Venice (Calif.) Family Clinic devoted to serving the poor and homeless.