Co-founder of KCET and pioneer of public television, was 101 – Deadline

Shirley Baskin’s Familiar, the public television pioneer, multimedia artist, philanthropist and businesswoman who helped found Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, died peacefully on the night of Oct. 13 with her children by her side, according to her family. She was 101 years old.

Familian was deeply involved in KCET since its advent in 1964. During its seven decades on the board, the channel produced the landmark series Cosmos: a personal journey with Carl Sagan, produced or presented The Cousteau Odyssey and American family for PBS. It was one of the stations in the consortium that produced the Emmy-winning film American theater. Huell Howser’s folkloric California’s Gold was also produced on the KCET grounds until Howser’s death in 2013. Familian was honored by the KCET Women’s Council at the organization’s annual fundraiser, Star Luncheon, in 2011.

As an artist, Familian has used stamps to create collages, images, and new versions of everyday objects like a stool or mannequin. Her work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles Craft & Folk Art Museum, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

After attending college, she married Burton “Butch” Baskin, who had just returned from World War II. Butch Baskin teamed up with Shirley’s brother, Irv, who had learned the dairy business from their father, to found Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream. Shirley worked alongside them to transform what was originally a chain of six stores into the largest ice cream company in the world.

Her first husband died when she was 47. She briefly married a second time to Aaron Goldfarb before his death. At 60, she marries Isadore Familian with whom she shares 20 years of marriage.

Shirley Baskin Familian is survived by her children, Edie Baskin Bronson, Richard Baskin and Richard “Skip” Bronson; grandchildren Anabella, David, Scott and Jon; and great-grandson Goldie Bronson.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UCLA Neurosurgery Institute and the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.

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