Audrey Skirball-Kenis

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Audrey Skirball-Kenis
Born Audrey Marx
1915
Alabama, U.S.
Died June 19, 2002
Occupation Philanthropist
Spouse(s) 3, including Jack Skirball
Parent(s) Otto Marx, Sr.
Agnes Mosler Marx

Audrey Skirball-Kenis (1915–June 19, 2002) was an American philanthropist.

Early years[edit]

Audrey Skirball-Kenis was born Audrey Marx in Alabama in 1915, the daughter of Otto Marx, Sr., and Agnes Mosler Marx. Her father's banking business was an early tenant of the eponymous Brown Marx Building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.[1]

Although raised in New York, as the daughter of a Paris-born mother, she spoke French at home until she began school. In 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Audrey moved to California to join the Signal Corps.

Audrey had two brief marriages that ended in divorce before marrying film producer and real estate developer Jack Skirball. The couple were deeply involved in philanthropy, largely in support of Reform Judaism. They planned and funded the construction of the Skirball Cultural Center. Jack died in 1985, shortly before the Center opened.

In 1987 Audrey married wine importer Charles Kenis. Together they established the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, as well as being involved in a variety of other philanthropic projects.

A long-time horse racing fan, Audrey Skirball had joined with friends in 1972 to purchase a thoroughbred, then established the 3 Plus U Stable, which became quite successful. Charles Kenis joined his new wife in this pursuit and became a founder and eventually director emeritus of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.[2]

ASK[edit]

Audrey and Charles founded the non-profit Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater Projects (ASK) in West Los Angeles. Audrey did not actively manage ASK, but Charles served as president of ASK's board of trustees.

In 1990, Audrey and Charles, through ASK, made a highly publicized donation of $500,000 to the Los Angeles Arts Festival's theater and performance programs. The donation saved the festival from closing, and was ceremonially accepted in the Los Angeles mayor's office by Peter Sellers, the festival's director.

Soon, ASK emerged with a reputation as Los Angeles' primary funder of small new theatrical projects. In 2000, ASK spent and gave a total of $1.8 million to charitable activities.

Death[edit]

Audrey Skirball-Kenis died on June 19, 2002, at age 87. She had two daughters, and two stepchildren. Charles Kenis died in Los Angeles on July 21, 2006.[3]

References[edit]

  • Audrey Skirball-Kenis, Philanthropist, 87, Dies (Associated Press, June 25, 2002)
  • Turmoil and uncertainty rock an L.A. art mainstay, L.A. Weekly, June 14–20, 2002
  • "3 Plus U adds up to success". Thoroughbred Times.com. February 24, 2001. Retrieved 2007-07-11.