Armenian-American Billionaire Philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian Dies at 98

LAS VEGAS (A.W.)—Armenian-American billionaire investor and real estate giant Kirk Kerkorian died on the night of June 15, MGM Resorts International confirmed. He was 98 years old.

Kirk Kerkorian (1917-2015) (Photo:
Kirk Kerkorian (1917-2015) (Photo:

Kerkor “Kirk” Kerkorian was born in 1917 in Fresno, Calif., to Armenian immigrants Aharon and Lily Kerkorian. He was the youngest of four children. “Our first language, although we were born here, was Armenian,” Kerkorian once recalled. “We didn’t learn the English language until we hit the streets.”

Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation, named after his two daughters, made vast charitable contributions throughout the years, especially in the aftermath of the 1988 earthquake that shook Armenia. The foundation made major contributions on various infrastructure projects, including the repair of 420 kilometers of major highways and the construction of 3,700 new apartments in the country’s northwestern regions hit hard by the 1988 earthquake. In May 2005, Armenia’s then-President Robert Kocharian awarded Kerkorian with Armenia’s highest honor, the Medal of Fatherland, which carries the title of “National Hero of Armenia.”

In February, it was reported that Kerkorian was planning on funding a feature film about the Armenian Genocide. Just this month, reports claimed that Terry George of “Hotel Rwanda” would direct the film, set to be shot in Spain. It was also reported that Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac will co-star in the film, called “The Promise,” and that Mike Medavoy will be its lead producer.



  1. Very thankful to this man for doing so much for the Armenian people, nation, and cause. A real Armenian hero for sure!

  2. 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. Mr.Kirk Kerkorian was not only a sucessful Armenian gentlemen he served also as a unique example for many Armenian and not Armenian youth as a great surviver, benifactor and a human being.In his lifetime he had a lot of ups and downs like bankrupcy, broken relationship etc. He never forgot his roots and his faithful friends and was allways helpful, a man with a real Armenian character.

    God Bless His Soul


  4. A true Armenian. We lost a great man today. One that put his money where his heart was. because of him that Armenia has better roads drinking water and all around financial support.
    Thank you Kerkor, may God rest your soul.

  5. No good work will secure salvation. Salvation is free gift from G-D, so that no one boasts. Salvation in Hebrew is Yeshua (Jesus), so we read in John 3:16

    (transliterated from Aramaic)
    For God loved the world in this way: so much that he would give up his Son,
    The Only One, so that everyone who trusts in him shall not be lost, but he shall have eternal life.

  6. God bless Mr Kerkorian. So sad to hear this. Mr Kerkorian has done a lot of good for our community, both in Armenia and the diaspora. The UCLA incident did take me by surprise at first, but when I found out some things, I must say we can’t blame Mr Kerkorian for anything. And I put the entire blame on some self-serving phonies amongst us who caused such a reaction.

    And as opposed to some “Armenians” I can also name who are the epitome of selfishness, vanity and immorality, Mr Kerkorian was a true-to-heart benefactor for Armenians, and always insisted not to get publicity for any help he provided, which was immense. A great positive role-model. He did it for the simple reason of helping his people in a time of need and nothing more. For that he deserves the highest praise and gratitude.

  7. May God rest his soul. Asdvadz hokin lusavoreh!! Mr. Kirk Kerkorian was a giant who never forgot his heritage or ancestory. His support of Armenia/Armenians is a testimony to this. I can relate to his learning English once he hit the streets and respect his rise from boxer to corporate magnate. Armenians have lost a hero and hopefully there will be others who have become financially successful who will try to fill his shoes.

  8. God bless Kirk Kerkorian. He was big businessman and very humble person as people mention in their stories. Armenia should recognize his very valued support in certain way. Hope his wealth does not get lost for Armenia and Armenian community all over the world…

  9. Proudly read of his contributions to a world which was not always kind to him; his integrity won over adversity which is the Armenian “style”.

  10. I can only hope that the Turkish lobby will not impede the making of the film. It has in the past. Please have the courage and the money to make this film. It is long past due.

  11. Note to the world: While he loved Armenia and the idea of helping it, Kerkorian’s deeper familial roots were actually in Pazmashen, near Kharpert.

  12. May he rest in peace
    I hope someone writes a biography of Mr Kerkorian unless it is already done and I don’t know about it
    More people should know what this great man has done to Armenians his success and his philanthropy

  13. During World War II, he piloted, for the RAF Air Transport Command in Canada, flying Mosquito bombers on dangerous delivery runs from Canada to Scotland.

    RIP Mr. Kerkorian.

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