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.
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.