Maurice Kanbar

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Maurice Kanbar
Maurice Kanbar.jpg
Born1930 (age 90–91)

Maurice Kanbar (born 1930)[2][3] is an American entrepreneur and inventor who lives in San Francisco, California. He is particularly well known for his creation of SKYY vodka and is also noted for his extensive real estate investments.


Kanbar is stated to own 50 patents on various consumer and medical products, invented the D-Fuzz-It comb for sweaters, Tangoes Puzzle Game, the Safetyglide hypodermic needle protector, a cryogenic cataract remover, a varicose vein stripper, a new LED traffic light, and Zip Notes, rolled sticky notes with a centerline adhesive strip.[4] He created New York's first multiplex cinema, the Quad Cinema, which was the first movie theater in Manhattan to have four small auditoriums in one building.[5]

In the beverage industry, Kanbar had a success with SKYY vodka,[6] also introduced Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream Liqueur[7] and more recently launched Blue Angel Premium Vodka.[6]

He produced the animated film Hoodwinked! which was released in January 2006[8] and grossed over $100M worldwide.[6]

Kanbar owned over 17 acres of commercial property in West Oakland, CA, including the American Steel Building, home to more than 150 artists, makers and small businesses, and the historic Pacific Pipe building, both purchased by 11 West Partners in late 2016. He also owned nearly 20 commercial high-rise buildings in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, including the Bank of America Center, the art-deco inspired Philcade Building, Pythian Building, Atlas Life Building and Adams Building and the 41-story First Place Tower.[9] His extensive investments in Tulsa led to a legal dispute with his former business partner Henry Kaufman, with each suing the other.[10][11][12] At one point Kanbar's company was reported to have owned as much as one-third of all available office space in downtown Tulsa[13] although these properties were subsequently sold.[3][14] In 2017, Kanbar sold a portfolio of at least 13 Tulsa buildings to his operating partner, Stuart Price.[15]

Kanbar is a 1952 graduate of Philadelphia University (then known as Philadelphia Textile Institute), where he studied materials science. In 2005, he donated $6 million for the construction of the school's new campus center, then the largest donation in the school's history.[16] In 2012, he gave Philadelphia University another $15 million for a new interdisciplinary college, now named the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce.[17][18] In 1997, Kanbar donated $5 million to the Tisch School of the Arts, part of New York University, which named its film school after him: The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.[19][20] Kanbar Hall, an academic building at Bowdoin College, the alma mater of Maurice's brother, Elliott, was funded by donations from the Kanbar Charitable Trust and from Elliott.[21] Kanbar, who is Jewish, has given millions of dollars to various Israeli charities as well.[22]

Kanbar owns and lives in an eight-story residential tower in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco; he received attention for his 1999 decision to evict his tenants in order to become the sole occupant of the building.[23] He is a member of Mensa.[24] He has received honorary degrees from Philadelphia University,[18] Kenyon College,[25] Bar-Ilan University,[26] and Yeshiva University.[1]


  1. ^ a b Maurice Kanbar, Doctor of Humane Letters Archived 2009-11-01 at the Wayback Machine, Yeshiva University website (retrieved March 2, 2010).
  2. ^ Copyright registration for Maurice Kanbar, Secrets from an inventor's notebook (accessed March 2, 2010).
  3. ^ a b Robert Evatt, "Downtown Tulsa investor a man of many passions", Tulsa World, December 3, 2010.
  4. ^ "Zip Notes Sticky notes on a roll" Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, (Office Products International), October 18, 2007 (accessed March 2, 2010).[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ Edward Lewine, "New Yorkers & Co.; The War of the Film Worlds", New York Times, December 7, 1997.
  6. ^ a b c Bruce Bellingham, "Maurice Kanbar is back in the vodka business – this time it’s Blue Angel", Northside San Francisco, March 2009.
  7. ^ Mark Athitakis, "Crushed", SF Weekly, April 11, 2001.
  8. ^ Dennis King, "Review: 'Hoodwinked' ", Tulsa World, January 13, 2006.
  9. ^ Kanbar Properties main page (accessed May 9, 2012).
  10. ^ Robert Evatt, "Kanbar sues former business partner", Tulsa World, August 16, 2007.
  11. ^ Robert Evatt, "Kaufman countersues ex-pal Kanbar", Tulsa World, May 16, 2009.
  12. ^ 9th Circuit Court of Appeals oral argument in Kaufman v. Kanbar 2/11/2010
  13. ^ Robert Evatt, "Building a portfolio", Tulsa World, June 14, 2006.
  14. ^ Robert Evatt, "Kanbar selling assets to push development", Tulsa World, March 2, 2010.
  15. ^ Rhett Morgan, "Tulsa developer Stuart Price acquires downtown Kanbar properties", Tulsa World, February 5, 2017.
  16. ^ "Philadelphia University to Dedicate The Kanbar Campus Center on Saturday, September 30", Philadelphia University press release, September 27, 2006 (accessed March 2, 2010).
  17. ^ Peter Key, "Skyy Vodka creator gives Phila. U. its biggest gift", Philadelphia Business Journal, May 9, 2012.
  18. ^ a b "College of Design, Engineering and Commerce Named for Maurice Kanbar ’52, H’03", Philadelphia University press release, May 9, 2012.
  19. ^ Monica Roman, "Kanbar gives $5 mil to NYU film school", Variety, April 10, 1997.
  20. ^ Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television undergraduate main page (accessed May 9, 2012).
  21. ^ "Kanbar Hall Wins 'Outstanding Building' Award", Bowdoin College Campus News, March 31, 2006.
  22. ^ Driven by ideas: inventor-philanthropist Maurice Kanbar honored by AFMDA
  23. ^ Emily Gurnon, "Eviction Shock in Pacific Heights", San Francisco Examiner, July 27, 1999.
  24. ^ American Mensa. "Famous and Notable Mensans (whitepaper)". Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2007-10-15. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Celebrating Accomplishments" Archived 2012-08-05 at, Kenyon College news release, April 2006.
  26. ^ Edon Ophir, "The Inventor Who Makes Movies", Jerusalem Post, May 6, 2008 (also available here).

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