Krim, Trustees' Former Leader, Is Dead at 84

Photograph: Arthur B. Krim.

Arthur B. Krim, the noted motion picture executive and lawyer who was adviser to three U.S. Presidents and chairman emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia, died Sept. 21 at his home in Manhattan. He was 84.

Krim was a 1930 graduate of Columbia College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a 1932 graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was editor in chief of Columbia Law Review. He was elected a Columbia Trustee in 1967 and became Trustees chairman in 1977, serving in that capacity until 1982, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

"No man has done more than he to lead the University to this new and promising epoch in the history of our University," said a resolution of the Trustees upon his retirement, which praised his "unselfish interest, brilliant intellect, forceful resolve and dynamic leadership."

Krim received Columbia College's highest award, the Alexander Hamilton Medal, in 1976, and an honorary doctorate from the University in 1982.

After graduating from law school, Krim joined Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon, serving as partner from 1935 to 1978, when he became of counsel to the firm.

A leader in the field of motion pictures, Krim was president of Eagle Lion Films Inc. from 1946 to 1949 and president of United Artists from 1951 to 1969, and then its chairman until 1978. He was founding chairman of Orion Pictures from 1978 to 1992. Under his creative management, which gave new artistic freedom to film makers, audiences were presented with such Academy Award-winning productions as Marty, West Side Story, Tom Jones, Midnight Cowboy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky and Annie Hall. At the 1975 Academy Awards ceremony he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Krim was an adviser to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter in the fields of civil rights, health, higher education, arms control and Africa and Middle East relations. He was devoted to the cause of the American civil rights movement, including equal rights for gay Americans, and a leader in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa, counting among his many friends the late Oliver Tambo, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela.

In recent years, with his wife, Mathilde, a founder and chairman of the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR), he supported the fight against AIDS.

A leading figure in Democratic politics, Krim was chairman of the Democratic National Finance Committee (1966-68) and the Democratic Advisory Council of Elected Officials (1973-76). He was a board member of the Weizmann Institute of Science, the African-American Institute and Occidental Petroleum Corp. at his death and had served on the boards of the U.N. Association, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Arms Control Association.

Born in New York City Apr. 4, 1910, Krim served in the Army in World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He received medals from both France and Italy.

In addition to Mathilde, his wife of 35 years, he is survived by their daughter, Daphna, of Washington, D.C.

Columbia University Record -- September 30, 1994 -- Vol. 20, No. 4