Steven Spielberg’s ‘lucky charm’ mother dies aged 97
LEAH ADLER, a well-known restaurateur, former concert pianist and painter, died at her home in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
She was 97 years old. Most of America and the world first heard her name when her son, Steven Spielberg, kissed her and described her as “my lucky charm” while accepting an Academy Award as director of the film Schindler’s List.
Although invariably linked to her famous son, during the last four decades of her life she earned almost equal renown as proprietor at the strictly kosher Milky Way restaurant, popular with Orthodox rabbis, showbiz luminaries and tourists.
Born on 12th January, 1920 in Cincinnati as Leah Posner, she was raised during the 1920s and the subsequent Depression. At five, she learned to play the piano and studied at her city’s music conservatory. Shortly before the US entered the war, she had a single date with Arnold Meyer Spielberg, corresponded with him while he served with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific, and married him after his discharge in 1945. Over the next 10 years, the couple had four children, son Steven and daughters Anne, Sue and Nancy. “Leah and I had an open house in the sense that we gave all our children a lot of freedom to do their own things and develop their imaginations,” Arnold Spielberg recalled in a 2012 interview. Leah and Arnold divorced in 1965 and two years later she married Bernard Adler. Nancy Spielberg said her mother was “best remembered for her limitless love for the people around her.” She is survived by her four children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.