Jonas Seinfeld, also known as “Malibu Joe,” died April 3 in Tarzana with his family at his side. He was 85 years old.
Seinfeld was born May 28, 1926 and was originally from Brooklyn, N.Y. He loved to recall childhood stories of the 1930s, like going to the movies and shows with his cousin Jack, attending Brooklyn Dodgers games at Ebbets Field and visiting Coney Island with his father, Charles. Additionally, he served in the United States Navy as a lieutenant during World War II, and toured the South Pacific.
After returning from the war, Seinfeld began his studies through the G.I. Bill. He studied theater arts and attended Princeton University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, USC and UCLA, where he met his future wife, Elaine Krasny. While attending Princeton Seinfeld met Albert Einstein and was invited to his campus residence for Passover dinner. He often recited Einstein’s saying, “Imagination is more important than intelligence,” and encouraged others to think outside the box, as he did frequently.
Seinfeld moved with his family from Lansing, Mich. to Los Angeles in 1956 to begin working at Columbia Pictures as a television producer on a show called “Tales of the Texas Rangers.” He became friends with Donald Gold, an assistant director, and they started working as writing partners and continued developing TV series ideas throughout the years.
In the mid-1960s he joined Jack Nadel, Inc. and worked as an advertising account executive. He stayed with Nadel until about 2007, when he retired at age 81. After retiring, Seinfeld joined the Plato Society at UCLA, where he took classes, worked on various projects and did research.
Seinfeld moved to Malibu in 1974.
“Joe loved Malibu Beach as much as life itself,” Seinfeld’s family wrote. “He earned the title of ‘Malibu Joe’ [because] he was a people person, and could talk your ear off about a number of subjects from politics, to movies, books, world events and women.”
Seinfeld could often be found kicking back at the beach, reading various novels and listening to his transistor radio.
Seinfeld is survived by his sons David and Steven and his daughter-in-law Linda. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Elaine, and his cousin Marty Nadel.