Businessman and philanthropist Dan David died Monday in a London hospital after a serious illness. He was 82.
Born in Romania, David made his fortune in automatic photo machines, starting his career by purchasing a franchise from the British passport-photo company Photo-Me International with a $200,000 loan from a French Jewish businessman who became his partner for many years. Eventually he became the principle shareholder in Photo-Me.
He was the founder of the Dan David Prize, which awards three $1 million prizes annually to people who contribute to human achievement in the realms of past, present and future.
David had been a member of a Zionist youth movement. After finishing his university studies in economics, he became a press photographer. In 1958, his newspaper asked him to go to West Germany on an assignment. When he requested an exit permit from the Romanian secret police, his past as a Zionist activist came to light and he was fired from the newspaper. He left Romania for France, and in 1960, came to live in Israel.
Among his businesses, David was the president of Fomat, which manufactures automatic photograph booths, and last year purchased the controling interest in Leader Holdings and Investments.
Of the Dan David Prize, David told TheMarker in 2007, "During the Internet festivities, in the late '90s, I had a lot of money and I decided I didn't need so much for myself and wanted to give some back to the community."
David is survived by his wife, Gabriela, and a son, Ariel.
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