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Howard Gittis, 73, Named Among Top 100 U.S. Lawyers

October 4, 2007
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Howard Gittis
Howard Gittis, 73, vice chairman of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., died on Sept. 16 at his home in Manhattan.

Gittis, who spent 22 years at MacAndrews & Forbes, also served as chief administrative officer and closest adviser to Ronald O. Perelman, who headed the firm, which invests in consumer products and entertainment companies.

He was a director at MacAndrews & Forbes, as well as at Jones Apparel Group Inc.; M&F Worldwide Corp.; Panavision Inc.; Revlon; REV Holdings Inc.; and Scientific Games Corp.

Born in Philadelphia, Gittis graduated from Central High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

He was a member of the board of overseers at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where Gittis Hall and the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies are named in his honor.

Before joining MacAndrews & Forbes in 1985, Gittis was a partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, where he served as the chairman of the executive committee.

His tenure at Wolf Block lasted more than 25 years and focused on general litigation, real estate, and corporate acquisition and divestiture work. In 1985, the National Law Journal listed Gittis among the 100 top attorneys in the United States.

Gittis also served on the board of trustees at Temple University for 27 years, including six as chairman. Temple named the student center after him.

In addition, he donated funds to Temple to support the university's general operations, made a $5 million pledge to Temple to create the Ronald O. Perelman Professorship in Entrepreneurial Finance at the Fox School of Business and Management in 2004, and provided three matching grants to Temple's annual fund in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

Gittis was also a member of the board of trustees of the New School in New York, and he spent seven years on the board of the New York-based Food Allergy Initiative.

He served as New York finance chairman for Republican Sen. John McCain's campaign for president. In the mid-1970s, he was the attorney for Philadelphia Mayor Frank L. Rizzo during a recall attempt.

Among his many honors, Gittis received the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award, the Temple University Russell H. Conwell Founders Award and the Temple University Hospital Auxiliary Acres of Diamonds Award.

He is survived by daughters Caroline Gittis Werther, Hope Gittis Sheft, Marjorie Gittis Katz and Emily Gittis Lambert; sister Lenore Gittis; and seven grandchildren.

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