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Dorothy Buffum Chandler (19 May 1901 – 6 July 1997) was a Los Angeles cultural leader. She is perhaps best known for her efforts on behalf of the performing arts.
Born Dorothy Mae Buffum in 1901 in La Fayette, Illinois, she moved to Long Beach, California, in 1904 with her family. Her father, Charles Abel Buffum (later mayor 1921-1924), and her uncle, Edwin, opened the first of what would become the 16-store chain of Buffum's department stores.
She attended Stanford University, where at a school dance she met Norman Chandler, eldest son of the family that had published the Los Angeles Times since 1883 and was a significant social and political force in the area. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi Women's Fraternity. The two married in 1922, and had two children, Camilla and Otis (1927). At the time of her death in 1997, she had eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
In 1945, her husband became publisher of the Times, a position he held until he was succeeded by their son, Otis, in 1960. Norman Chandler died in 1973, and Dorothy Chandler never remarried.
Chandler (nicknamed "Buff" or "Buffie") worked at the Times or its parent, the Times Mirror Company, from 1948 to 1976. She was a director of Times Mirror from 1955 until 1973, when she was named director emeritus.
She initiated the Times Woman of the Year award, which was given to 243 women from 1950 through 1976
As the wife of the publisher of the city's leading newspaper, Dorothy Chandler became active in Los Angeles cultural circles.
In 1950, a financial crisis closed the Hollywood Bowl during its summer season. Chandler chaired a committee that organized a series of fundraising concerts that was able to reopen it, and she later served as president of its parent organization, the Southern California Symphony Association.
From this early success, she started a longer effort to build a performing arts center for Los Angeles. In 1955 she raised $400,000 at a benefit concert at the Ambassador Hotel featuring Dinah Shore, Danny Kaye and Jack Benny. This fundraiser began a nine-year crusade that raised some $20 million of the estimated $35 million total cost; the remainder was paid through private bond sales. She was featured on the cover of the December 18, 1964, issue of Time magazine, which praised her fundraising efforts as "perhaps the most impressive display of virtuoso money-raising and civic citizenship in the history of U.S. womanhood."
The Los Angeles Music Center held its first performance on December 6, 1964. The complex was completed in 1967, consisting of three venues: the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, named in honor of Chandler, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre. The Chandler Pavilion served as the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1964 until 2003, when the Music Center opened its fourth hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
On September 17, 2005, the Walt Disney Concert Hall held a Dorothy Chandler memorial concert.
Chandler served as a regent of the University of California from 1954 to 1968, during its period of most rapid growth, when the system grew from five to nine campuses. She also served as a trustee of Occidental College from 1952 to 1967.