Las Vegas Sun
June 21 2015
Kerkorian's generosity will influence generations
By John Katsilometes (contact)
Sunday, June 21, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Every so often in life, you encounter someone who truly is larger than
life. Less frequent are the moments you are touched by a
larger-than-life presence who is not, in fact, present.
Having never met Kirk Kerkorian, this is how I best remember him: on
an October night in 2011 at Wynn Las Vegas, at the 16th annual Andre
Agassi Foundation for Education Grand Slam for Children, where
Kerkorian made his presence felt.
To the tune of $18 million.
Smokey Robinson, Michael Buble and Martina McBride were among the
entertainers to grace the stage that night at Lafite Ballroom. But
there was no more beautiful sound than Agassi announcing that
`There has been a gift generously given from a great man named Kirk
Kerkorian, which I get the privilege of announcing for the first time,
publicly,' Agassi told the audience of about 1,000 dignitaries and
supporters. `But before I tell you that gift, let me tell you that if
it wasn't for him and his kindness to my family, I wouldn't be
standing in front of you today. And I mean his kindness long before I
hit a tennis ball.'
The familial ties bonding Agassi and Kerkorian were stronger than the
strings on any tennis racquet. Agassi's father, Mike, worked at the
original MGM Grand when fire erupted at the hotel in November 1980,
killing 85 people, temporarily closing the hotel and putting employees
out of work. The Mike Agassi and Kerkorian shared a strong Armenian
heritage, and Kerkorian made sure the family was not left financially
Unknown for years to even the most avid Agassi fans, Kerkorian
supported Mike Agassi again when the family patriarch underwent heart
surgery in 1995. `We're still waiting for that bill,' Agassi said in
A year later, Andre Agassi told the well-heeled gala audience, `His
generosity didn't stop with me. It continued to millions of people in
Agassi, whose middle name is Kirk in tribute to Kerkorian, also
mentioned the UCLA `Dream Fund' charity founded by Kerkorian in April
`The other thing I want to say about this gift is that it's
unprecedented in our foundation's history,' Agassi said. `It's a gift
that assures us our future in perpetuity and forever. Kirk Kerkorian
has given our foundation $18 million.'
The crowd erupted, the applause lasting a full minute, but even at
that moment, it was difficult to appreciate the full scope of the
gift. Kerkorian's donation had pushed the night's total to $26.1
million, which ensured that the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy had
enough operating funds to live on for the foreseeable future.
`Mr. Kerkorian, I respect you, I love you,' Agassi said, his voice
quivering. `On behalf of this foundation, on behalf of every child who
will walk the halls of Agassi Prep, and on behalf of the millions and
millions of people he has helped and continues to help who he will
never meet, thank you.'
Agassi left the stage, and as it turned out, it would be the last such
fundraising effort for Agassi Prep. It later was announced that the
Grand Slam for Children would take a year off, and it has not been
staged since. There is no need.
The event, which rivaled even the Keep Memory Alive `Power of Love'
gala for its grandeur, required several months of planning and, as
Agassi said at the time, was `taxing to our small staff.'
An unassuming man who never finished the eighth grade made it possible
for multitudes of children to further their own educations.
Watching the tennis superstar reduced to tears was one of the many
testimonials to Kerkorian's legacy. He was the sort of mythic person
who could make even great champions like Andre Agassi feel humbled.
Kerkorian's was a reminder that even while building the grand resorts
that make Las Vegas one of the world's greatest tourist destinations,
building a future for the children of this generation is just as
Kirk Kerkorian Dies at 98kirk kerkorian dies at 98
Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:31 AM
Las Vegas Sun
Posted 28 June 2015 - 12:02 PM
The Fresno Bee
June 26, 2015
Sevag Tateosian: They walked along Ventura Street
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and Pulitzer-winner William Saroyan once
were kids hawking newspapers on Ventura
Kerkorian recently died, and Saroyan's last home in Fresno sold in
Both famous men started with nothing and reached the top of their
Wj | Richard Darby Fresno Custom Publications Photo
By Sevag Tateosian
It was lunch time on that Friday. The weather was hot. The prediction
by the meteorologist was that it would cross the 100-degree
mark. Typical for a summer in Fresno. I didn't bother complaining
because summer in Fresno is hot.
My errands were all complete; I had nothing to do that
hour. Typically, I would take a stroll down the Fulton Mall and chat
with the antique dealer, Ralph, whose shop is right on the mall and
along my walking path.
I wasn't up to taking "the stroll" that day, so I decided to stay in
after eating my packed lunch from home. As I began to dive into the
previous night's leftovers, two recent people who had been in the news
came to mind.
The first was William Saroyan. A few days prior, local writer Mark
Arax wrote in The Bee about Saroyan's last house. The plaque from the
wall identifying the house had been stolen and the house had been sold
I thought about Arax's piece and it made sense. Why didn't a few of us
get together and purchase it to turn into a museum? It could have been
done. It didn't sell for much and the sentimental value would have
outweighed the cost hundredfold.
The next person I thought about was Kirk Kerkorian. He had passed away
a few days prior and, because he was so uninterested in the limelight,
few people knew his story. He always impressed me because of his sharp
business instincts, humble appearance and Fresno connection.
He was a billionaire but many people have told me that he had a simple
car and would drive himself everywhere until his later years. Just a
reminder that his net worth in 2015 was $4 billion. That equals a lot
Although they are gone, their legacies live on. Both achieved the
American dream. They started with nothing and reached the top of their
When he passed, there were some good biographies of him I read several
Of course, anyone who knows the truth about his humble beginnings is
probably long gone now. As my daydream came to a close, it was time to
go back to work. A little after 5 p.m. and on my way home, I passed
the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in downtown Fresno. The
church is on Ventura and M streets, diagonally opposite from Selland
One of the articles about Kerkorian mentioned that he lived down
Ventura Street in Fresno's Armenian town.
In the same article, the author talked about how he "always walked 80
miles an hour" and that his mother walked to that church. I parked my
car, walked to the front of the church and looked down Ventura.
As I looked east, I envisioned a young kid with greased-back hair
marching toward me with a stack of newspapers. Two accounts suggest
that Kerkorian sold newspapers to help his family pay bills.
As I looked west, I envisioned a time period a few years earlier and
another young boy named William Saroyan (who was nine years older than
Kerkorian) approaches me on the same street. He, too, with a stack of
newspapers in his arms that he sold to help his family pay bills. If
only I could go back in time and tell both of them how they would
impact the world and motivate many people.
One helped shape Las Vegas, the world's most famous resort city, and
another touched people around the world with writing that was awarded
the Pulitzer Prize. Although they are gone, their legacies lives
on. Both achieved the American dream.
They started with nothing and reached the top of their industries.
I walked toward my car that evening and wondered how many other people
walked along Ventura Street prior to going on and making a difference
in the world. Probably more than we think.
Sevag Tateosian is host and producer of San Joaquin Spotlight on 90.7
FM KFSR Fresno and CMAC television.
Posted 03 July 2015 - 08:45 AM
PHIL RUFFIN OFFERS FAREWELL TOAST TO FELLOW BILLIONAIRE KIRK KERKORIAN
July 1 2015
KIRK KERKORIAN, who built a $4 billion fortune in Las Vegas and
Los Angeles, died June 15, nine days after his 98th birthday. An
eighth-grade dropout, he trained fighter pilots during World War
II, built a charter flight company, founded MGM Resorts MGM +1.64%
International and made and lost billions as the consummate dealmaker
in movies, hospitality and the auto industry. Fellow billionaire
and man-about-Vegas Phil Ruffin remembers his longtime friend and
occasional sparring partner.
By Phil Ruffin (As told to Dan Alexander)
Kirk did deals the old-school way. Back in 2008 I was buying the
Treasure Island casino, which used to be owned by MGM. I met with Jim
Murren, the company's chairman and CEO, in the Bellagio and offered
him $700 million cash. He called Kerkorian, who was still the biggest
shareholder-and clearly the boss. He told Jim he wanted $150 million
more. I said no thanks and walked out.
Kirk being Kirk, he got on a plane to talk it over face-to-face at the
Bellagio. I said, "Kirk, I think we're just too far apart." I was at
$700 million, he at $850. "Why don't we split the difference?" I said.
"I'll give you $750."
"Do the math," he countered. "That's not half. We're splitting it
$775." He might have been 92, but he was sharp as ever. On his way out
he turned to me. "Don't let the lawyers screw this up." They didn't:
We did the deal for $775 million on the dot.
Kirk paved the way for guys like me. He was a giant in Vegas, but
his interests spanned the globe. He tried to buy Chrysler once-and
was probably lucky that he didn't end up doing so. A big tennis guy,
he was always inviting people to Los Angeles to play. Flying, too,
was a hobby for both of us. We probably owned too many planes, but
we loved chatting about them.
He wasn't known for his philanthropy, but mostly because he chose not
to be. Bob Dole once told me a story: He called Kirk to see if he'd
be willing to donate to the University of Kansas, the senator's alma
mater. Kirk wasn't an alum, just a friend of Bob's. In two days Bob
had a check for a half-million dollars.
I never looked at Kirk's finances, but I understand he gave away
billions without talking about it much. When Kirk Kerkorian said
something, you could put it in the bank.
Posted 08 July 2015 - 11:02 AM
BARBRA STREISAND REMEMBERS KIRK KERKORIAN
10:08 â~@¢ 08.07.15
Legendary American singer and actor Barbra Streisand has shared her
reflections on Kirk Kerkorian, the US Armenian billionaire-financier
and casino mogul who died in Los Angeles, California last month.
"Throughout the years, Kirk Kerkorian was a man of extraordinary
generosity. He rarely sought attention or acknowledgement for his
"In 1969 I opened Mr. Kerkorian's International Hotel in Las Vegas.
Not until New Year's Eve 1993 did I return for the opening of his
magnificent MGM Grand Hotel. At that time, because of his generous
contribution to my foundation, I was able to give support to the
fight against AIDS and the fight for Women's & Children's Rights and
"Then again in 2013 he joined me in the fight against Women's Heart
"He was a unique, rare and very special person and I will always be
grateful to him," reads her post on the social networking website.
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Posted 02 October 2015 - 11:54 AM
Ջեյմս Քրոմվելը և Ժան Ռենոն կնկարահանվեն Ցեղասպանության մասին «Խոստում» ֆիլմում
Ջեյմս Քրոմվելը և Ժան Ռենոն կնկարահանվեն Ցեղասպանության մասին «Խոստում» ֆիլմում
2 հոկտեմբերի 2015 - 15:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Ջեյմս Քրոմվելը և Ժան Ռենոն Քրիստիան Բեյլի հետ միասին կնկարահանվեն Հայոց ցեղասպանության մասին «Խոստում» (The Promise) ֆիլմում, հայտնում է Variety-ին:
Պատմական ժապավենը նկարահանում է ռեժիսոր և սցենարիստ Թերի Ջորջը Ռոբին Սվիքորդի հետ համատեղ գրած սցենարով: Ֆիլմի հիմքում սիրային պատմություն է, որը ծավալվում է 1922 թ.` Օսմանյան կայսրության վերջին տարիներին: Գլխավոր հերոսներն են բժշկականի ուսանողը, որին խաղում է Օսկար Այզեկը, Փարիզում աշխատող ամերիկացի լրագրողը` Քրիսթիան Բեյլի դերակատարմամբ և նրբագեղ մի կին Շառլոթ լը Բոնի դերակատարմամբ, հայտնում է Sputnikarmenia-ն:
Ջեյմս Քրոմվելն էկրանին կմարմնավորի ԱՄՆ դեսպանին, որը հերոս է դառնում, իսկ Ռենոն` ֆրանսիացի ծովակալին:
Նկարահանումները սկսվել են Իսպանիայում և Պորտուգալիայում և կշարունակվեն մինչև դեկտեմբեր:
Ֆիլմը ամերիկահայ լեգենդար գործարար, միլիարդատեր և բարերար Քըրք Քրքորյանի վերջին մտահղացումն էր: Նա վախճանվեց հունիսի 16-ին 98 տարեկանում: Քրքորյանը մահվանից առաջ հոգացել է, որ Հայոց ցեղասպանության մասին իր կինոնախագիծը նկարահանվի:
Ֆիլմը նկարահանում է Survival Pictures կինոընկերությունը, որը ղեկավարում են Էրիկ Էսրաիլյանը և Էնթոնի Մանդեկիչը: Քրքրոյանի Tracinda Corporation-ը ֆինանսավորում է կինոընկերությանը` ինչպես այս, այնպես էլ մյուս կինոնախագծերի դեպքում: Քըրքորյանի իրավաբան Պատրիշա Գլեյզերը պատմել է, որ Survival Pictures-ը ծնվել է գործարարի անհագ ցանկությունից` պատմել ու ներկայացնել ոգեշնչող մարդկային պատմություններ ամբողջ աշխարհի հանդիսատեսին: Նա ասել է նաև, որ Քըրքորյանը շատ վաղուց երազում էր անձամբ մասնակցել ֆիլմի ստեղծման և դերասանական կազմի ընտրության աշխատանքներին:
Գլեյզերի բնորոշմամբ՝ «Խոստումը» լինելու է հոյակապ սիրային պատմություն, ինչպես նաև` առաջամարտիկ՝ մարդու իրավունքների ասպարեզում:
Այս առնչությամբ Facebook-ի իր էջում հրապարակում է արել նաև աշխարհահռչակ ռոք երաժիշտ Սերժ Թանկյանը՝ հայտնելով, որ ինքը ևս մասնակցում է նախագծին: «Անցած մի քանի տարիներին ես եզակի պատիվ եմ ունեցել օգնելու և խորհուրդներ տալու իմ ընկեր Էսրաիլյանին այս խոշոր կինոֆիլմի առիթով», - գրել է Թանկյանը:
Posted 20 January 2016 - 09:55 AM
ZHOGHOVURD: KIRK KERKORIAN'S WILL UNVEILED?
08:54 â~@¢ 19.01.16
Kerk Kerkorian's will, which has been of interest since his death in
2015, has been recently unveiled in conditions of absolute secrecy,
the paper has learned.
Citing its sources from US-Armenian circles, it says that the
billionaire ordered selling his entire property after his demise to
later use its proceeds for charity purposes.
According to the will, the money will be directed to the funding
of all the projects launched in Kerkorian's lifetime. Hence,
only the organizations which received assistance from the
businessman-benefactor's foundations can have any expectations from
the fortune left behind, says the paper.
It notes that Kerkorian's Lincy foundation, which launched US
$200 million worth road-development activities in Armenia in the
early 2000's, was later dissolved, with the businessman refusing to
allocate a single cent to the country, angered at the authorities'
policy of pocketing the sums. And now, Kerkorian's fortune, estimated
to be worth about $3 billion, has to be entirely directed to Armenia,
says the paper.
Posted 23 January 2016 - 12:26 PM
HARUT SASSOUNIAN REFERS TO MEDIA REPORTS OVER KIRK KERKORIAN'S TESTAMENT
20:00, 22 January, 2016
YEREVAN, JANUARY 22, ARMENPRESS. Prominent Armenian benefactor
Kirk Kerkorian's testament is not kept in secrecy. "Armenpress"
reports publisher of "The California Courier" Harut Sassounian told
"Voice of America", referring to different Armenian media reports
over the philanthropist's testament. "Mr. Kerkorian left all his
wealth for charity, but he mentioned no precise names. No doubt,
there is a testator and when it is high time, he or she will decide
which charitable organizations will get the money and how much, and
for which programs. Now it is early to speak about that as there are
still issues needing solution, which will take quite a lot of time.
Probably, after a year the testator will start to make decisions",
Harut Sassounian, who for years ran the activities of the Lincy
Foundation created by Kirk Kerkorian in Armenia, added that the
testament is about launching new programs, but not continuing the
previous ones. Sassounian also informed that by the decision of board
members of the United Armenian Fund, which he had created and chaired
for 26 years, closed the Fund at the end of November. He stated
that the Fund had provided Armenia with $720 million humanitarian
aid. "As our nation is in need of such aid, I opened a new fund called
"Armenia-Artsakh" on December 1", Sassounian mentioned, adding that
the Fund will provide Armenians in both Armenia and Artsakh with all
He stated that in the near future measures will be taken to help
Posted 12 February 2016 - 11:32 AM
No wonder here as to why Mr.Kerkorian does not trust the Republic of Armenia's leaders.
BILLIONAIRE KERKORIAN'S WEALTH SHIELDED PROPERLY FROM ARMENIAN AUTHORITIES' HANDS - NEWSPAPER
YEREVAN, February 12. /ARKA/. Armenia's authorities are searching
for ways to get their hands on a part of the heritage of billionaire
Kirk Kerkorian, an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist
of Armenian descent, which will be allocated to Armenia, Haykakan
Zhamanak reports referring to its sources.
According to the newspaper, it is stipulated in Kerkorian's will that
the Armenian authorities must not control these financial resources.
It became known earlier after Kerkorian's will was opened in the United
States that the philanthropist has ordered to sell his property and
to continue financing the programs he financed while alive.
The billionaire also ordered in his will to set up a special council
for managing this money for implementing the programs in Armenia,
but not a single Armenian official must be a member of this council.
The council is likely to be made up of U.S. citizens, maybe of Armenian
descent, and the U.S. embassy in Armenia will play a major part in
distribution and control of this sum.
Haykakan Zhamanak also remembers that for 22 years of its activity
in Armenia Kerkoryan's Lincy Foundation has provided about $1 billion
to Armenia, but Kerkorian got angry when found out that the Armenian
authorities pocketed a significant part of the last 200 million.
Kerkorian closed Lincy Foundation in 2011 and stopped providing money
to Armenia. Now Armenia is believed to inherit about $200 million of
his three-billion wealth.
Kirk Kerkorian died on June 16, 2015 in Los Angeles. According to
Forbs, his wealth was estimated at about $4.2 billion.
Kerkorian is known as one of the most prominent figures of Las Vegas
and as the "father of the mega-resort".
In 2004, he was bestowed the title of National Hero of Armenia,
the highest state award. ---0---
Posted 29 February 2016 - 02:17 PM
Posted 21 October 2016 - 10:16 AM
I hope this huge amount of money is used fairly for the benefit of Armenia and only Armenia! Corrupt leaders hands off, don't ruin the man's good legacy!!!!!!
Kerkorian left USD 2 billion to Armenia: V. Oskanian
- 19:29 | October 20,2016 | Politics
Chairman of “Hamakhmbum” (Consolidation) party Vartan Oskanian on his Facebook page touched upon the will of billionaire Kirk Kerkorian.
“Today I have read the will of Kirk Kerkorian. I understood that USD 2 billion was bequeathed, which exclusively will be provided to one or more charitable organizations, which have U.S. tax service’s so called 501©3 privilege. The will must be disposed by three mentioned individuals, only one of whom is Armenian. In three years after Kirk Kerkorian’s death (one year has already passed) those three individuals must finish the distribution of that sum.
Though there is no limitation on the decision of these three people, except that the decisions should be made on the principle of majority, I, nevertheless, think these persons carry moral responsibility, which derives from the priorities of charitable donations by Kirk Kerkorian especially during the recent 20 years.
Kirk Kerkorian made charitable donations in three main directions:
- American institutions, especially educational
- Armenian organizations- educational, cultural, publishing etc.
- The largest part of his donations- to Armenia.
I am sure that this factor puts some responsibility on the persons disposing the will in connection with their choice.
It would be right to establish a 5-7 member committee including individuals, who enjoy the absolute trust of Armenians as soon as possible, so that the committee by holding consultations with larger groups, including Armenian government, present a package of proposals to those three individuals. The committee will aim at justifying the provision of large amounts of the will to Armenia, as well as noting the organizations and projects, which should be provided those sums.
This issue shouldn’t be left to the mercy of fate. It will also be unacceptable if individuals or individual organizations, separately by their means, with contradicting proposals, serving their own interest, eliminate those three individuals, who dispose the will,” writes Mr Oskanian.
Posted 30 January 2018 - 12:31 PM
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