Max Palevsky, who took the fortune made when he sold his company to Xerox in 1969 for $1 billion and invested it in a startup that would become Intel, died of heart failure May 5 at the age of 85, the New York Times reports. Palevsky was also known for his love of politics and his world-renowned Arts and Crafts furniture collection.
Max Palevsky, a co-founder of chip giant Intel who made a fortune in the
technology business before turning his attention to philanthropy and politics,
died May 5 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 85.
Palevsky died of heart failure, his assistant, Angela Kaye, told the New York
Palevsky became involved with computers in the 1950s after
hearing a lecture by John von Neumann at the California Institute of
Technology, according to the New York Times. He started his computer career at
Bendix, then joined Packard Bell's computer division in 1957. Four years later,
he and 11 others formed Scientific Data Systems, which built smaller business
computers. Xerox bought the company for $1 billion in 1969.
Palevsky, with his new fortune-his take from the sale was $100
million-helped fund a startup that grew into Intel, now the dominant processor
According to reports, Palevsky left the corporate world behind
in the mid-1970s, using his money to help fund entities and political
candidates he believed in, from Rolling Stone magazine to the presidential
campaigns of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter. He also funded movies and
amassed a world-class Arts and Crafts furniture collection that is now in the
Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Even before he left Intel, Palevsky's interest in Democratic
politics was evident through such endeavors as his backing of Robert Kennedy's
As he got older, he became troubled by the amount of money being
poured into politics and took up the issue of campaign finance reform, a cause
that brought him into conflict with the Democratic Party that he had so long
supported. He contributed to the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was
a strong proponent of new campaign finance rules, and gave $1 million to a
campaign finance reform measure in California.
Democrats were opposed to the bill initiative, which eventually failed.