Shirley Baskin Familian, the creator of KCET, died on Sunday, October 23, 2022, at the age of 101. According to her family, Familian died in her house on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard, surrounded by her children. According to Shirley’s family:
“Shirley had a great desire and love for life, and she constantly advocated peace, understanding, and generosity of spirit among everyone she met, qualities she embodied herself.”
The reason for the death of Familian remains unknown. Her medical history has not been disclosed, and she may have died as a consequence of age-related issues. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be donated to the UCLA Neurosurgery Institute or the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.
#RIP Shirley Baskin Familian, 101; co-founder and longtime board member of @KCET in L.A. was the wife and sister of the guys who launched @BaskinRobbins with six stores in 1945. She wrote out the “Free Birthday Ice Cream Cone” cards by hand. https://t.co/YBh0s8hA4M
— Mike Barnes (@MikeBarnes4) October 29, 2022
Shirley Baskin Familian was on the board of KCET for 60 years.
On November 21, 1920, Shirley Baskin Familian and her family relocated to Seattle. Later on, they moved to Tacoma, Washington, to attend Annie Wright Seminary. Shirley continued her education in art and design at the University of Washington, where she served as president of the Associated Women Students. Shirley met her first husband, Burton Baskin, when she was in college. Burton then spent four years in the Navy during WWII before marrying Shirley and relocating to Southern California.
Burton and Shirley’s brother Irv established a partnership and launched the ice cream brand Baskin Robbins, which opened its first shop in Glendale, California, and then expanded to other locations. Shirley also assisted the pair in the development of the ice cream brand and authored the Free Birthday Ice Cream Cone cards, which were widely distributed in the United States for a long period.
Burton Baskin died of a heart attack at the age of 54 in 1967. Shirley subsequently married Aaron Goldfarb, who died a short time afterward. Following this, she married businessman Isadore Familian, who died in 2002 at the age of 60. Shirley is also well-known for her work with KCET, where she managed series such as Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, The Cousteau Odyssey, and American Family beginning in 1964.
Shirley Baskin Familian was also recognized at The KCET Women’s Council’s annual fundraiser, Star Luncheon, in 2011. Shirley was also an artist who utilized stamps to make collages, images, and other versions of ordinary items like stools and mannequins. Her work has been shown in the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Shirley’s children Edie Baskin Bronson, Richard Baskin, and Richard Skip Bronson survive her, as do her grandkids Anabella and David, Scott and Jon, and great-granddaughter Goldie Bronson.