Audrey Skirball-Kenis

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Audrey Agnes Skirball-Kenis (born Audrey Marx, 1915 in Birmingham; died June 19, 2002) was a philanthropist and thoroughbred horse owner.

Audrey was the daughter of Birmingham banker Otto Marx, Sr and Agnes Mosier Marx of Paris, France. They married in New York City where Marx and Company also did business. Mr Marx split time between his mansion on Highland Avenue, an apartment on Broad Street in New York City, and an estate at Riverdale-on-Hudson upstate. She and her brother, Otto Jr were raised in New York and spoke French at home until beginning school.

When she was 26, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Audrey moved to California to join the United States Signal Corps. She remained there and had two failed marriages. She and friends purchased her first racehorse in 1972 and together they founded the 3 Plus U Stable.

Marx's third marriage was to a former rabbi, film producer and real estate developer Jack Skirball in the late 1940s. Skirball was a long-time benefactor of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Together they began planning construction of the Skirball Cultural Center in Santa Monica, which opened ten years after his death in 1985.

In 1987, Audrey Skirball married wine importer Charles Kenis. With her he became interested in raising thoroughbreds and eventually founded the Thoroughbred Owners of California. The couple also established the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and founded the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater Projects in West Los Angeles, an organization that helped sustain the Los Angeles Arts Festival when it was threatened with dissolution in 1990.

Skirball-Kenis died at age 87. She was survived by two daughters, Sally and Aggie, and two stepchildren, Stephen and Andrea.

References

  • "3 Plus U adds up to success." (February 24, 2001) Thoroughbred Times
  • "Audrey Skirball-Kenis; Philanthropist, 87" obituary (June 24, 2002) The New York Times