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Margie Petersen, Co-Founder of the L.A. Petersen Automotive Museum, Dies in Beverly Hills

The longtime philanthropist raised millions of dollars for children's charities and cancer research.

Margie Petersen, who co-founded the Petersen Automotive Museum with her late husband, publishing magnate Robert Petersen, died in her Beverly Hills home Friday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 76. 

Born in New York, Petersen (née McNally) worked as a model and actress in television commercials, including spots for Ivory Soap and Coca-Cola.

During her marriage, Petersen spearheaded many philanthropic efforts with her husband, having worked with the Music Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Orphanage Guild and Childhelp U.S.A. 

Petersen was an active participant in projects aimed at battling cancer. She helped raise millions of dollars for a women’s cancer research center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. In 2008, the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation gave $15 million to the St. John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. She was also a founder of STOP Cancer, and a member of the Associates for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Studies.

Robert Petersen died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 80. The Petersens were predeceased by their two young sons, who died in a small plane crash in 1975. 

Memorial services for Margie Petersen are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036; or to any charity of choice in Petersen’s honor.

This story was compiled with information from City News Service.

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