CBR News has learned that Bill Liebowitz, the owner of the Los Angeles comics chain Golden Apple Comics, died last night of cardiac arrest. He was 63.
CBR News spoke with Tony Edwards, manager of the Golden Apple store on Los Angeles' famed Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood, who said that the death of Liebowitz was completely unexpected. According to Edwards, Liebowitz had been suffering from a cold for a few weeks, but was not hospitalized and Edwards had spoken with Liebowitz via the phone just yesterday. According to Edwards, it's unknown whether his ongoing flu was related to the fatal cardiac arrest.
Edwards noted that memorial arrangements are pending and there will be no funeral.
Liebowitz is survived by his wife and business partner Sharon and their three children.
"He was a sometimes controversial retailer, but Bill helped out a lot of cartoonists," said CBR's own Scott Shaw about Liebowitz. "Bill was really one of the first guys I ever met that promoted comics and cartoonists knowing that retailers would eventually benefit from it."
Liebowitz was also an avid Yo-Yo promoter, having been a champion and instructor for Duncan Yo-Yo's in the 1950s. He held California State and National Titles and continued to promote Yo-Yo's at his stores.
Currently, Golden Apple operates two stores, the afore-mentioned Melrose Store in Hollywood and a store in Northridge, just north of Los Angeles. The Melrose store was a frequent stop for Hollywood actors and actresses.
On a personal note, Golden Apple Comics Northridge was the first comics shop I ever visited, almost 20 years ago. Back then comics came out on Friday's and I'd hop on my bike to pick up my weekly stash. While Bill spent most of his time at the Hollywood store, he did stop by the Northridge store regularly and was always nice to this young comics fan. The Northridge and Hollywood stores were also host to many comic creator signings, where this comics fan got to meet the likes of Matt Wagner, Mike Baron, Marv Wolfman and Frank Miller, who signed at the Northridge store soon after the release of "The Dark Knight Returns," attracting a two to three hour line of fans. My early comic collecting memories are shaped by Golden Apple Comics and Bill Liebowitz.
CBR extends our condolences and best wishes to Liebowitz's family and friends.