Edward L. Masry

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Edward L. Masry
Masry photo.png
Edward Louis Masry

(1932-07-29)July 29, 1932
DiedDecember 5, 2005(2005-12-05) (aged 73)
Resting placeValley Oaks Memorial Park
Westlake Village, California
Alma materLoyola Law School
J.D. 1960
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Wilson
Joette Levinson

Edward Louis Masry (July 29, 1932 – December 5, 2005) was an American lawyer, a partner in the law firm of Masry & Vititoe and also a mayor and city councilman for the City of Thousand Oaks, California.[1][2] With the help of his legal assistant Erin Brockovich, Masry built a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) of California in 1993. Their successful lawsuit was the subject of the Oscar-winning film, Erin Brockovich (2000), starring Julia Roberts as Brockovich and Albert Finney as Masry.

Early life[edit]

Masry was born in Paterson, New Jersey, to Syrian immigrant parents who ran a silk apparel business.[1] He moved west to Southern California with his family when he was age eight, settling first in Venice and later in Van Nuys.[2]


As an undergraduate, Masry attended L.A. Valley Junior College, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of California Los Angeles, and University of Southern California, and served with the U.S. Army in France[2] from 1952 to 1954 during the Korean War era, attaining the rank of corporal.[3] Although he never received a Bachelor's degree, Loyola Law School in Los Angeles accepted him on an exemption due to high placement test scores, and he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1960. Thereafter, he was admitted to the State Bar of California, and set up private practice in 1961.


Masry's law firm was instrumental in bringing about the multi-plaintiff direct action suit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company, alleging contamination of drinking water with hexavalent chromium in the Southern California town of Hinkley. The case was settled in 1996 for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit in American history.[4]

The case was adapted for the successful 2000 film Erin Brockovich, with Albert Finney portraying Masry. He had a non-speaking cameo appearance in the film as a restaurant patron sitting behind Julia Roberts, as did Erin Brockovich, who played a waitress.

Personal life[edit]

Masry died at age 73 at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, due to complications related to diabetes.[2] He had resigned from the City Council of Thousand Oaks one week earlier because of his medical condition.


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Erin Brockovich Diner behind Erin Uncredited
2001 American Justice Uncredited


  1. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (December 8, 2005). "Edward L. Masry, 73, pugnacious lawyer, dies". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Oliver, Myrna (December 7, 2005). "Ed Masry, 73; Attorney won major settlement from PG&E, sat on Thousand Oaks council". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  3. ^ In Memory of Edward L. Masry - Hon. Brad Sherman of California in the House of Representatives; Tuesday, February 14, 2006 United States Government Publishing Office. Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  4. ^ Pierson, David; So, Hemmy (February 4, 2006). "PG&E will pay residents who sued over groundwater pollution". Retrieved October 20, 2016.

External links[edit]