Actress and Art Patron Jennifer Jones Dies

Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Jones, who died December 17 at age 90, may be best known for her performace in The Song of Bernadette, but she also played a critical role for the Pasadena Art Museum, stepping into her late husband Norton Simon’s position as president of the museum in 1996. Though her top honor in the acting world would have seemingly been her legacy, Jones’ ability to fill Simon’s shoes in the later portion of her life lead to a far more significant cultural mark. Simon had built one of the world's greatest private collections since World War II and took over the Pasadena Art Museum in 1974, which he ran until his death in 1993. He left the collection to Jones, who had no formal art training. As the museum’s president and board chairman, she asked longtime friend and architect Frank Gehry to give the building a boost in 1996, increasing not only the museum’s physical appearance, but bringing in newfound appreciation and henceforth, visitors to the world her husband led her into.