Lewis B. Cullman, an investment banker and arts patron who, with his second wife, Dorothy, gave hundreds of millions to cultural and educational institutions in New York City over many years and helped charities raise millions more, died on Friday June 7 2019 in Stamford, Conn. He was 100.
His death, at Stamford Hospital, was confirmed by his current wife, Louise Hirschfeld Cullman. The scion of a family that owned the Benson & Hedges and Philip Morris tobacco companies, Mr. Cullman was born into wealth, made fortunes in business and on Wall Street, and sat on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Botanical Garden and many hospitals, universities and corporations.
Mr. Cullman was the founder and president of Cullman Ventures, Inc., a diversified corporation that included the At-A-Glance group, which manufactures and markets diaries, calendars, and appointment books. He attended Hotchkiss in Connecticut, where he skied, played tennis, succeeded Henry Ford II as business manager of the school newspaper and graduated in 1937. He graduated from Yale University in 1941, earned an M.S. from New York University in 1942, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy until the end of the war.
While his father and two of his brothers built tobacco empires, Mr. Cullman made most of his millions in a company that produced and sold desk calendars and appointment books. His father, Joseph F. Cullman Jr., had bought Benson & Hedges in 1941 and merged it in the 1950s with Philip Morris. Joseph’s eldest son, Joseph III, became chief executive and chairman of Philip Morris, and another son, Edgar, became chief executive and chairman of General Cigar Company.
Mr. Cullman married Thais MacBride in 1942. They divorced in 1957. In 1963 he married Dorothy Freedman Benenson. In 2010 he married Louise Kerz Hirschfeld, the widow of Al Hirschfeld, the celebrated caricaturist.
In addition to his wife, his survivors include a son from his first marriage, Duncan; two stepsons, Jonathan and Antony Kerz; and eight grandchildren.