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John Edward Anderson (September 12, 1917 – July 29, 2011)[1] was an American billionaire businessman, the president and owner of Topa Equities, Ltd. Anderson oversaw more than 40 wholly owned subsidiaries in agriculture, automotive dealerships, insurance, real estate, oil, and wholesale beverage distribution. In 2006, he was ranked #189 on the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, with a net worth of $1.9 billion.[2] He made charitable donations to the University of California, Los Angeles, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and other Southern California educational institutions during his lifetime.[3] Anderson died from pneumonia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.[3]

John E. Anderson
Born(1917-09-12)September 12, 1917
DiedJuly 29, 2011(2011-07-29) (aged 93)
Net worthUS$1.9 billion (2006)
Margaret (m. 1942–1965)

Marion (m. 1967–2011)


Early yearsEdit

Anderson was born on September 12, 1917 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[3] He was the son of a barber.[4] Anderson was the valedictorian of his high school class.[4] Anderson also earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America in 1931.[5][6] He attended UCLA from 1936 to 1940, playing on the ice hockey team,[7] and graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in business administration.[8] While at UCLA, he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.[9] He then attended Harvard Business School on a scholarship, graduating with a MBA after World War II had broken out.[4] While at Harvard, he was a George Fisher Baker Scholar.[10] Anderson entered the military on the staff of an admiral, and passed his CPA exam while in the Navy.[4] Anderson continued his education after the war, earning his JD from Loyola Law School in 1950.[10][11] He graduated first in his class at Loyola, and was offered a full-time teaching position.[4] For the next 25 years, Anderson taught at the law school in mornings and evenings while he worked at his law firm.[4]


Anderson was the founding partner of Kindel & Anderson law firm in 1953.[9][11] On April 1, 1956, Anderson founded Ace Beverage Co. with exclusive rights to distribute Budweiser in Los Angeles, California.[2] In 1980, he founded Topa Properties, Ltd., which owns high-rise office buildings in Los Angeles, Ventura County, California, and Honolulu, as well as a sizeable amount of property in the US Virgin Islands.[12] His portfolio included 4,000,000 square feet (370,000 m2) of commercial property and 4,500 residential units.[2] He created the Silver Star new car dealership group in Thousand Oaks, California, including Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Jaguar and Range Rover. He was a chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, a trustee and former president of Saint John's Hospital and Health Center Foundation and trustee of Claremont McKenna College.[8][10] Anderson was on the Board of Visitors at the Anderson School of Management, which is named after him.[13] Anderson also taught several business courses at UCLA.[8]

Anderson received the Southern California Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1987 and the Master Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002.[10] He was honored as the Business Person of the year by the U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002.[10]


Among his charitable endeavors, Anderson and his wife Marion donated more than $50 million for the construction of a new building for Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where Marion Anderson was a board member. Beginning in 1987, the Andersons donated $42 million to the University of California, Los Angeles.[14]

Anderson received the Distinguished Service Award, Loyola Law School in 1985.[10] Two years later, in 1987, the UCLA Graduate School of Management was renamed the John E. Anderson School of Management after he donated $15 million[15] He received the Outstanding Individual Philanthropist on National Philanthropy Day award in 1989[10] He also received the UCLA Alumnus of the Year award and the UCLA Medal in 1995.[10] In 2002, he received the John E. Anderson Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UCLA John E. Anderson School of Management[10] He received the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice in 2004.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1942, Anderson married his UCLA sweetheart, Margaret Stewart, and they had five children.[4] Margaret died of cancer in 1965, and he married Marion in 1967.[4] His daughter Debbie died at the age of seventeen in a car accident in 1969.[4] Anderson's son John, Jr. is an executive vice president of Topa Equities, Ltd., his daughter Judith manages the agricultural ranch in Ojai, California. His sons also manage the family's beverage distribution and automotive businesses. He resided in the East Gate Bel Air section of Los Angeles, California.[2][16]

Death and legacyEdit

Anderson died on July 29, 2011. He had 15 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.[4] His widow Marion ran the Marion & John E. Anderson Foundation charity.[4] On May 14, 2015, she donated $100 million to UCLA Anderson.[17] She died on May 14, 2017.[18]


  1. ^ "John E. Anderson Dead At 93". Huffington Post Los Angeles. July 30, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "The 400 Richest Americans #189 John Edward Anderson". Forbes. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  3. ^ a b c Dennis McLellan (July 30, 2011). "John E. Anderson dies at 93; billionaire and UCLA benefactor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 7, 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Darmiento, Laurence (2004-03-22). "Secrets of his success: long hours, old-school ethics have earned John Anderson respect". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  5. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  6. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scout Award". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  7. ^ "UCLA Hockey History". Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  8. ^ a b c d "John E. Anderson Elected to Mellon 1st Business Bank Board of Directors". Archived from the original on 2004-10-16. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  9. ^ a b Zwahlen, Cyndia (1987-11-09). "Smile of steel: John Anderson bites off a far-flung empire". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "2002 John E. Anderson Distinguished Alumnus Award winner". Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  11. ^ a b "Loyola Law School Corporate Excellence". Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  12. ^ "Topa Properties, Ltd. About Us". Archived from the original on 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  13. ^ "Senior Leadership at UCLA Anderson". Archived from the original on 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  14. ^ Samantha Masunaga (August 1, 2011). "John E. Anderson, namesake of UCLA's school of management, dies of pneumonia at 93". Daily Bruin. Retrieved August 7, 2011
  15. ^ "UCLA Campus Names - Management". Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  16. ^ BlockShopper website
  17. ^ Larry Gordon, UCLA's Anderson school to get $100-million gift from namesake's widow, The Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2015
  18. ^ Khouri, Andrew (May 17, 2017). "Marion Anderson, noted UCLA philanthropist, dies at 86". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
Educational offices
Preceded by
Calvin Perry Stone
52nd President of the American Psychological Association
Succeeded by
Gardner Murphy