The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is mourning the loss of longtime center benefactor and board member Luanne Wells, who passed away on July 15 at the age of 87.
Wells joined the board of directors in 1998, when it was known as the Beverly Hills Cultural Center Foundation, and continued to serve as a board member until her death. She had served as a director and a member of the board’s Executive Committee for 23 years.
“It was definitely, definitely a loss,” said Rachel Fine, executive director and CEO of The Wallis. She added that Wells was graceful, intelligent, thoughtful and generous. “She was a beautiful human being.”
The center sent out an email remembering Wells last week. Her influence on The Wallis is seen in the center’s Wells Family Education Courtyard, which is located between the historic building and the center’s auditorium and “couldn’t be a more beautiful space,” Fine said.
“It’s such an important space and extension of the education wing and the educational work that we do,” she added. “It’s such an important gathering space for our students of all ages, all backgrounds. It’s particularly wonderful when your work can be divided between the classroom and outdoor space, and she made that possible.”
Fine said the center would be pleased to honor Wells in other ways. She said representatives have been in touch with the family.
“If they choose to have any sort of gathering at The Wallis, we would certainly be honored.”
Wells’ passion for The Wallis building likely began when she attended Beverly Hills High School and frequented a candy store at the former U.S. Post Office location, Fine said.
While her love for the historic building is evidenced by the “beautiful landscaping to which she committed much time, energy and care,” Wells was also very enthusiastic about the arts, she said.
“I saw her at many performances over the years,” Fine added.
In addition to her work at The Wallis, Wells and her late husband, Frank, who served as the president of Disney until his death in 1994, created Environment Now, an organization that promotes environmental programs that benefit California’s waters and forests.
Other philanthropic endeavors included the creation of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA and the launch of the Santa Monica Baykeeper and San Diego Baykeeper, two environmental advocacy groups.
Additionally, Wells was a member of the California Institute of the Arts’ Board of Trustees, the Getty Conservation Council, the Junior League of Los Angeles and the Blue Ribbon of the Los Angeles Music Center.
She also served on several boards, such as the Bravo Colorado Vail Valley Music Festival, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and a rescue program for wild animals.
Wells, an avid Lakers fan who spent much of her free time breeding horses and cultivating different species of trees in Malibu, will be missed by many.
“She’s irreplaceable and will be deeply missed by everyone at The Wallis,” Fine said. “Luanne was near and dear to me and everybody else on the board. It’s important to recognize her and her legacy.”
Luanne (Cosgrave) Wells will be laid to rest today at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.