Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   13 December

Armenia’s highest authorities were present at requiem service of Kirk Kerkorian in Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

YEREVAN, JUNE 24, ARMENPRESS. Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II held a requiem service in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in memory of benefactor Kirk Kerkorian. As Armenpress reports, Serzh Sargsyan – President of the Republic of Armenia, Galust Sahakyan – President of the National Assembly of Armenia, Hovik Abrahamyan – Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, ministers, MP-s and devout people attended the ceremony.

In an interview with the journalists, the Prime Minister noted, “We should do our best to have such people again by nurturing [the generation] together. It can be a great contribution to the Armenian people, to Armenia.” Galust Sahakyan in his turn said that when you honor the great sons of the nation you, too, and the entire nation are honored. Sahakyan added that Kirk Kerkorian’s modesty should be instructive for everyone.   

Kirk Kerkorian, an eighth-grade dropout who traded his way to a $15-billion fortune and for a time was the richest person in Los Angeles, has died. He was 98. As Armenpress informs citing LAtimes, Kerkorian’s death was confirmed Tuesday by Anthony Mandekic, the CEO of Kerkorian’s company, Tracinda Corp. He said Kerkorian died Monday evening at his home in Beverly Hills of age-related causes. "He was the most brilliant person I've ever run across, and so respectful of everyone," Mandekic told The Times. "He gave everything he could, right to the end. We have lost such a great icon. He was truly something special." Kerkorian took an unlikely path to tremendous wealth. He didn't invent a ubiquitous product, like software entrepreneur Bill Gates, or specialize in one industry, like entertainment czar Sumner Redstone, or patiently nurture the same holdings for decades, like investment master Warren Buffett. Instead, Kerkorian bought and built and sold and bought again. He bought MGM Studios three times, always to his benefit, if not the studio's.

He accumulated large chunks of Chrysler Corp. when the automaker was considered all but defunct in the early 1980s, selling as it recovered. He did the same with a beleaguered General Motors in 2005, less successfully but still profitably. Kerkorian instinctively sensed the promise of Las Vegas on his first visits immediately after World War II, when it was an isolated desert town with only one luxury hotel, mobster Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo. He eventually acquired many of its most famous properties, including the Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand. “I've had more people tell me, did you envision this or that?” Kerkorian told The Times in a rare interview in 2005. “I just lucked into things. I used to think that if I made $50,000, I'd be the happiest guy in the world.”

He opened the first MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the 1970s, the world's largest resort hotel at the time, and years later, he built another MGM Grand, then also the world's largest. Jim Murren, chief executive of MGM Resorts International, said in a statement Tuesday that the company was "honoring the memory of a great man, a great business leader, a great community leader and an innovator."

Kerkorian always tried to act with a minimum of flamboyance. He never would have named a hotel after himself, the way his Las Vegas rival Steve Wynn did. When he wasn't making deals, his great joys were playing tennis with friends, and going with the masses to the movies at local theaters in Century City and Westwood. Kerkorian rose from hard-scrabble poverty to comfort to extreme wealth, powered by little more than energy and guts. He might have called himself lucky, but like most successful entrepreneurs, he made his own way. Kerkor Kerkorian, later Americanized to “Kirk,” was born in Fresno on June 6, 1917. He was the fourth and last child of immigrants from Armenia. The boy's formal education ended in the eighth grade at a school for delinquent kids at 6th and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles. Despite all his achievements and wealth, this bothered him until the end of his life. 


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