Kirk Kerkorian Passes Away at 98

Kirk Kerkorian
Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian

LOS ANGELES–Armenian-American billionaire and philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian died Monday at his home in Beverly Hills, his business partner said Tuesday. He was 98.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Kerkorian’s death was confirmed by Anthony Mandekic, the president and CEO of Kerkorian’s company Tracinda.

A casino and entertainment magnate, Kerkorian was also the founder of the Lincy Foundation, which for years supported Armenian schools, as well as launched several development projects in Armenia. In 2011, the Lincy Foundation was shut down and the balance was transferred to UCLA, which established the Dream Fund. The fund continues Kerkorian’s legacy of assisting Armenian schools and other community educational endeavors.

Long a fixture on the Forbes list of richest people in the world, in 2014 Kerkorian was ranked the richest Armenian on the Forbes billionaires list.

As recently as Monday, Asbarez reported  about Kerkorian’s effort to produce a big-budget film on the Armenian Genocide. The film, called “The Promise,” is set to star Christian Bale and Oscar Issac and will be directed by Terry Jones of “Hotel Rwanda” fame.

Kerkorian made his first visit to Armenia in June 1998. That same year, he was granted honorary citizenship by then-President Robert Kocharian for his backing of the 100th United Armenia Fund (UAF) airlift of humanitarian assistance to Armenia. The Los Angeles Times described the 100th airlift as, “the largest to any one country since the United States government’s historic Berlin airlift after World War II.”

Time Magazine named Kerkorian the 10th largest philanthropic donor in the U.S. in 2000. His efforts benefited not only the Republic of Armenia, but also projects in the U.S., including educational, medical, social service programs, scientific research projects and other charitable endeavors.

In 2008, Kerkorian was honored for his philanthropy by the USC Armenian Studies Institute. During a brief chat with Horizon correspondent Hayk Tovmasyan, Kerkorian reflected on his vision for Armenia.

“I’d like to see a more happy, more free, more prosperous Armenia. I want everything for Armenia,” Kerkorian said.


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  1. LIZA PAPAZIAN said:



  2. Armen K said:

    Sorry to hear. He did a lot for Hayastan, Artsakh, and Armenians in his lifetime, not all of which were fully understood or appreciated. The controversial closure of the Lincy Foundation and investments into UCLA in 2011 should never cast clouds on him as a highly dedicated Armenian and human being. He obviously didn’t give up on Armenians; this is also evidenced through his most recent pledge to support the production of a major film on the ongoing Genocide. May he rest in peace and many more like him come into this world.

  3. Norin said:

    Although I cannot agree with his liquidation of the Lindsy foundation and subsequent transfer to the UCLA endowment , may he RIP. You were one of our last giants Kirk. May God bless your soul. Thank you.

  4. Joyce - Joe Stein said:

    We thank God for the life and work of Kirk which so bountifully blessed Armenia and Armenians! May he rest in peace.
    Joyce and Joe Stein

    • Ray Sark said:

      We lost a father that we never saw in person. May his soul rest in peace.
      He was a hope to lean against.

  5. Adrek said:

    May God bless his soul, and may he rest in peace. He was a great man for helping and supporting his fellow Armenians, and all other educational and cultural causes dear to his heart. He will be missed because of what he did while he was on earth.

  6. Harut said:

    God Bless Your Soul Duk mer het ek Paron Kerkorian menk bolores piti zezanis orinak versnenk ev anek ayn inch vor ogut e Hamayn Hayutyane ev Hamayn Marthkutyane Vor anum ek duk.

  7. Satenik said:

    May his soul rest in eternal peace. He did a lot for Armenia and for many other good causes. That is enough for him to be blessed for all the good work that he did. He was a humble and private man. Lots of respect for him. May his family find comfort.

  8. Shiraz Iskenderian said:

    He was an exemplary figure in the Armenian world and hopefully others will follow in his footsteps. His memory will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

  9. Raffy said:

    Kirk, I did not know you, but your passing deeply saddened me. I have seen the fruits of your generosity in Armenia. I hope your vision for Armenia is fulfilled, even if you are no longer with us.


    It was sad for me to learn the passing of KIRK KERKORIAN, A quiet man with a big heart. Thru his LINCY FOUNDATION his philanthropic donations reach THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA, and many Armenian non-profit organizations and other non-armenian institutions in the US, with hundred of millions of dollars distributed with the condition that his name would not be recognized as the donor.
    He was the largest shareholder of MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL.

  11. Sosy Kevonian said:

    One of the last bastion of our people. God bless his soul…..

  12. Gary Tchakmakian said:

    Thank you from all of us, rest in peace my friend well done.

  13. Vrej Isaghoulian said:

    A giant of a man in his dedication to all that make men as great as they can be.

    Armenia, Armenians and the World at large, will always be more happy, more free and more prosperous because of your generosity.

    May the Lord Bless His Soul. Rest in Peace Mr. Kerkorian.

  14. S J said:

    May you rest in peace Kirk. Our heartfelt gratitude will be with you forever. A legend who was born to make a difference. Thank you Kirk your legacy will live on.

  15. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Armenian-American billionaire and philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian was great by soul, brilliant by mind, and honest by heart.

  16. Vagharshak Sevulyan said:

    He is now with all other Armenians in heaven looking on us . May God Rest his Soul. Amen.

  17. Artur said:

    Kirk you made all Armenians proud, you will live on in our hearts forever. You will never be forgotten. I hope in this lifetime i can accomplish and give back like you did, see you in heaven Kirk