Called the “Man with the Gold Rolodex,” Westlake Village resident David Mirisch knows a thing or two about arts and entertainment, having placed thousands of Hollywood celebrities and famous world-class athletes in over 2,500 events throughout the United States and in seven foreign countries during his five-decade career.
Founding David Mirisch Enterprises in 1960 after a year of working for the number one Hollywood PR firm, Rogers and Cowan, Mirisch launched a glamorous career representing hundreds of movie and television stars, including Merv Griffin, Pat Boone, Johnny Mathis, Raquel Welch, Lynda Carter, Barbara Eden and Lyndsay Wagner.
Fueled by his optimistic belief, “If there is a will there is a way,” the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native graduated from Ripon College in Wisconsin with a degree in Speech before heading West to pursue his future.
“My father, Irving, and three uncles, Harold, Marvin and Walter, sold their candy concession company and moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles to enter the motion picture industry and I, of course, joined them,” recalls Mirisch.
In 1968, Mirisch branched out into charity events, producing a Celebrity Tennis Tournament for the former U.S. Open tennis champion Tony Trabert at Murrieta Hot Springs. That event kicked off thousands of celebrity fundraising events Mirisch produced throughout the United States and internationally.
Mirisch’s long career includes many highlights, such as The City of Hope Victor Awards he assisted with for 28 years. The first nationally televised sports award show (Fox TV), the event was held at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
“During those 28 years I brought over 500 of the world’s top athletes, managers and coaches to Las Vegas to be honored by The City of Hope,” says Mirisch, whose recently published autobiography, The Man with the Gold Rolodex: PR To The Stars, includes photos of the event and celebrity participants.
The best part of the job, says Mirisch, is helping others.
“What I like the best about the business is that I have been able to help raise $35,000,000 for hundreds of nonprofits—from little ones to big ones like Cedars Sinai,” he says.
With plans to continue working with nonprofits, Mirisch notes helping charities put together “a really good ‘steering committee’” is “the basis of any successful fundraising event.”
“My future plans are to keep finding nonprofits that can use my expertise of more than 50 years in fundraising,” says Mirisch, who is also a member of the famous Mirisch Film Company that has produced 72 feature films, won a total of 28 Academy Awards and Three Best Picture Awards.
When he’s not rubbing shoulders with celebrities, Mirisch enjoys playing golf, eating at The Landing in Westlake Village with his wife of 36 years, Sandy, and spending time with his three children, eight grandchildren, and dog Lucky, adopted from the Camarillo Animal Shelter.
Mirisch’s impressive sports scrapbook collection, started 68 years ago, will be featured at the Museum of Ventura County this spring, and “The David Mirisch Celebrity Invitational Golf Classic” takes place in October.
“One of the proudest moments of my life will take place on October 22, at Mountain Gate Country Club,” says Mirisch. “The David Mirisch Celebrity Invitational Golf Classic” will benefit High Hopes, a Southern California-based nonprofit that deals with brain injury.
“For years it was named in honor of my dear friend Pat Boone. But, this year their Board of Directors decided to name it in my honor to recognize my work for them and hundreds of other charities,” says Mirisch. “After putting on over 200 celebrity golf tournaments that were hosted by major stars, I feel this is ‘capping off my life’s achievements.’ I am humbled and honored with this distinction.”