Money manager A. Morgan Maree III dies

Known for protecting celebrities' wealth from taxes

A. Morgan Maree III, who as head of the business management firm A. Morgan Maree Jr. & Associates helped Hollywood stars manage their money for more than three decades, died March 21 at his home in Fallbrook, Calif. He was 83.

In 1953, Maree came to the firm started by his father A. Morgan Maree Jr. 31 years earlier and was assigned the young Robert Wagner as his first client. Maree evolved as the entertainment industry evolved, with Maree helping to protect celebrity wealth from taxes first and make sure they provided for retirement with carefully chosen investments.

Other clients included Humphrey Bogart, Robert Taylor, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, David O. Selznick, Natalie Wood, Ava Gardner and Nancy Sinatra. Many studio heads requested that the firm take care of their actors.

Maree retired in 1987, two years after the death of his father. The firm lives on in Westwood under Maree's successor, CEO Hugh Duff Robertson.

Maree started with his father's firm after completing his MBA at the University of Chicago. His dad innovated the long-term payout of a movie star's salary over many years to best reduce the tax in a single year.

"Maree's formula was to pay clients' bills, give them an allowance and invest the surplus in areas that would assure income after their careers ended," the Los Angeles Times wrote in his father's obituary.

Maree's son, A. Morgan Maree IV, noted that beyond preservation of wealth, Maree comforted stars like actress Gloria Manon, who came every April more terrified of the IRS than of stage fright.

Maree, a close friend of John Cassavetes, also acted in Cassavetes' 1980 film "Gloria," starring Gena Rowlands. He did community theater in Palm Springs and cable access local programming in Lake Arrowhead after he left Hollywood.

In addition to his son, Maree is survived by his fourth wife, Mary Harvest Maree; children Sean Patrick Haymes Maree and Samantha Haymes Maree; and sister Marianne Maree Cooper.

A private service will be held this month in Palm Springs.