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Roger L. Stevens

theater producer, fund-raiser for the arts
Born: 3/12/1910
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan

Real-estate mogul Stevens became a highly respected Broadway producer, often collaborating with Robert Whitehead. In addition he was a board member of several theaters and a remarkable promoter of the arts. He helped speed Congressional approval of the National Endowment for the Arts, becoming its first chair. In 1961 President Kennedy asked him to lead the effort to build a national cultural center. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 1971, was the result. Stevens oversaw that organization until 1988. In that year, President Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Died: 2/2/1998

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