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Philanthropist dies at 65

By Jessica Roy

Nov. 1, 2007 11:09 p.m.

A noted alumna and philanthropist who supported a wide variety of scholarships and programs, Dini Ostrov, has died. She passed away at age 65 on Oct. 19 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Her love for writing and the arts was reflected in the wide range of activities and groups she participated in as an active alumna. She served on the UCLA Board of Directors, Gold Shield Alumnae of UCLA, and William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Advisory Council. She was a founding member of the UCLA Women and Philanthropy Board of Directors and of the UCLA Film and Television Archive Council.

While an undergraduate, Dini Seigel joined the Daily Bruin as a cub reporter in 1960. She worked in the newsroom alongside another reporter named Les Ostrov. She was promoted to city editor, then to managing editor, and finally, editor in chief. By the time she graduated with a degree in history, Dini and Les were Mr. and Mrs. Ostrov.

As a news writer, Ostrov was known for her skills as an investigative journalist. When she became editor in chief, she received a note from the dean of students: “Dear Poison Pen – Congratulations on your election to editor. ““ Snake.”

“He respected her. … She was never shy about pointing out things going on in the administration,” said Les Ostrov, Dini’s husband of the past 42 years.

“She was a superb writer … and her whole life, she supported writers,” he added.

When Dini gave birth to her son, Kevin, in 1965, the announcement ran on the front page of the Daily Bruin, under “What’s Bruin.” The couple also had a daughter, Cindy. Both went on to graduate from UCLA.

Dini’s involvement with the school lasted long past graduation.

“She pretty much got involved with UCLA on a full-time basis in the early ’70s,” Les said.

Ostrov also established The Dini Ostrov Endowed Collection in French Letters, Language and Architecture, and supported the UCLA Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, UCLA New Wight Gallery, UCLA Medical Center, and the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

She was also personally involved with students in the School of Theater, Film and Television. She sponsored the Reel Spirit/Stage Spirit: Dini Ostrov Awards in Archive Studies, Directing, Playwriting and Screenwriting, and stayed in touch with all of the student beneficiaries. Bob Rosen, dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, said she went above and beyond just funding scholarships.

“This was not simply somebody who sent a check. It was someone who became involved with the students,” Rosen said.

Dini read scripts and gave comments and advice to her students.

Juli Ann Sipos was one of Dini’s students.

“She would hold little luncheons. … You felt like you were part of this literary salon,” Sipos said.

Sipos also said Dini had a tradition for her graduates.

“She would come to graduation with all these pens, these beautiful Montblanc fountain pens, and she told us she wanted to sign our first big movie script with it. And I did,” Sipos said.

Shelley Anderson, who graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in school administration in screenwriting, was well acquainted with Dini.

“I became one of “˜Dini’s scholars,’ which she called us, and if you were picked as one of Dini’s scholars … you had a friend for life,” Anderson said.

“Her generosity and her belief in us knew no limits,” Anderson added.

Ostrov and her husband were also involved with the film archives at the School of Theater, Film, and Television.

“She supported retrospectives of important directors, but most of all, she was in love with writers. … She also was involved with providing support to actually preserve these films,” Rosen said.

Ostrov and her husband funded the restoration of many classic films, such as “Holiday,” “The Big Sleep,” “Ball of Fire,” and “His Girl Friday.” The couple also put together events celebrating the greats of the silver screen, including Howard Hawks, Barbara Stanwyck, and Billy Wilder.

Though most of her work was focused on North Campus, Ostrov acknowledged the accomplishments of South Campus students ““ but believed the work of both sides were equal in worth.

Rosen often repeats his favorite quote from Ostrov about the division between North and South campuses: “Medical science helps us to live longer. The arts give us a reason to do so.”

A memorial service for Dini Ostrov will be held on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. in the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA. If you plan to attend, the family respectfully requests you let them know by calling 310-794-3193 or by e-mailing [email protected].

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Jessica Roy
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