Former MCA exec Albert A. Dorskind, who created the Universal Studios tour and developed much of Universal City, died Sunday in Los Angeles of prostate cancer. He was 82.
After negotiating the purchase of 378 acres of the old Universal Studios lot, including a money-losing commissary, Dorskind, who was president of MCA Inc., realized he could bolster studio income by inviting tour buses to drive through the lot and stop at the commissary during off-peak hours. He soon persuaded MCA chairman Lew Wasserman to invest $4 million to design trams and install restrooms, food courts and parking lots. The Universal Studios tour was inaugurated July 4, 1964.
He also oversaw the construction of the 14-story MCA headquarters designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as well as two hotels, the amphitheater, movie complex and theme park that today anchor Universal CityWalk.
An important L.A. civic leader, Dorskind presided over numerous city and state economic development and tourism agencies.
An avid photo collector, he also helped launch the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s photography department in 1984. Dorskind boosted the new department’s holdings by donating works from his own collection by such photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.
Dorskind also served as president of the Permanent Charities Committee of the Entertainment Industries and on the boards of numerous charitable and civic orgs.
Born in New York, he earned a law degree at Cornell and then began working for the FCC in Washington, D.C. Dorskind came to Los Angeles as an attorney for Paramount Pictures and assistant manager of its television station KTLA before moving to MCA.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Sue; a son and a daughter; a brother; and three grandsons.
Donations may be made to the Education Project on Heart Disease in Women of the American Medical Women’s Assn. Foundation, 801 N. Fairfax, Alexandria, VA 22314, or to the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center, 8631 W. 3rd St., Suite 1001E, Los Angeles, CA 90048.