According to her family, Shirley Baskin Familien passed away quietly on the evening of October 13 with her children at her side. She was a pioneer in the development of public television as well as a multidisciplinary artist, philanthropist, and businesswoman. She was 101.
Since the beginning of KCET in 1964, Familien has been actively involved. She was on the board for seven decades during which time the channel produced the iconic shows Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan, as well as The Cousteau Odyssey and American Family for PBS. The Emmy-winning American Playhouse was one of the stations that made up the network. California’s Gold, a folksy film by Huell Howser, was also made in the KCET lot up to Howser’s passing in 2013. In 2011, The KCET Women’s Council recognised Familian at the group’s annual fundraiser, the Star Luncheon.
Familian was an artist who utilised stamps to make collages, images, and new versions of commonplace objects like a stool or mannequin. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum have all featured exhibitions of her work.
She married Burton “Butch” Baskin, a recent veteran of World War II, after graduating from college. In order to create Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, Butch Baskin teamed up with Shirley’s brother Irv, who had received dairy industry training from their father. Shirley worked side by side with them to expand what began as a chain of six stores into the biggest ice cream business in the world.
She was 47 when her first spouse passed away. Aaron Goldfarb and she had a brief second marriage before he passed away. She tied the knot with Isadore Familian when she was 60, and they were married for 20 years.
Shelia Baskin Her children Edie Baskin Bronson, Richard Baskin, and Richard “Skip” Bronson, as well as her grandchildren Anabella, David, Scott, and Jon and great-grandchild Goldie Bronson, are all still living.
Donations to the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and UCLA Neurosurgery Institute can be made in place of floral tributes.
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