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Jacqueline Briskin

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Jacqueline Briskin Obituary
Jacqueline Orgell Briskin died on Christmas Eve from complications due to a heart attack she suffered the day before Thanksgiving. She had recently celebrated her 87th birthday. Jackie led an extraordinary life. She was born in London, England, the granddaughter of the chief rabbi of Dublin, Ireland. Her family moved to Beverly Hills in 1937 to escape Hitler and orthodoxy. She said it was like moving to heaven. The sun shined, there were no nannies and she and her brothers, David, Eric, and Richard were free to wander on their own. With the help of his wife Marjorie, their father, Spencer Orgell, opened his eponymous shop on Wilshire Boulevard, where he sold antique silver. As a teen, Jackie's best friend was Susie Gump (of Gumps in San Francisco). In 1948, after a three month courtship, she married the love of her life and best friend, Bert Briskin. Much of Bert's family was in the movie business. Jackie and Bert had three children: Ralph, Liz, and Richard. Jackie and Bert were married for 56 years, until Bert's death in 2004. Significantly, in 1964 Jackie attended a writing class at UCLA taught by Robert Kirsch, the book critic for the LA Times. The class was entitled "The Novel". To her surprise, this was a class about writing the novel, not reading the novel. And so her career began. Jackie was the author of 14 New York Times bestselling titles, including her first novel, CALIFORNIA GENERATION. For the next 40 years, writing was her passion and her joy. Eventually her books sold over 23,000,000 copies and were published around the world, in over 20 languages. Los Angeles was a frequent character in her novels, including PALOVERDE, in which it was depicted as "the original cow town." Jackie and Bert loved travel and adventure and were loyally devoted to their extended family. They were also benefactors in their community of Los Angeles, giving generously to UCLA and the LA Philharmonic, among many others. Towards the end, Jackie told anyone who asked, she had lived a charmed life and felt very lucky, and was exceptionally grateful for it all. Jackie, you are already missed. We love you. X
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 4, 2015
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