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National Lampoon Co-Founder Robert K. Hoffman


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National Lampoon Co-Founder Robert K. Hoffman

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Robert K. Hoffman

DALLAS, Texas -- Robert K. Hoffman, one of three founders of the irreverent National Lampoon magazine and a noted Dallas philanthropist, died of leukemia on Sunday, August 20 at UT Southwestern University Hospital. He was 59.

Hoffman, Dallas businessman, civic leader and arts patron who helped shape the city's future as much as any person of his generation, had been suffering from leukemia since December, according to his family. Hoffman's influence extended from education to urban planning and a recent multi-million dollar private art collection donation.

A longtime art collector, he and his wife, Marguerite, in March gave 224 art objects valued at $150 million to the Dallas Museum of Art. "I now realize the only effective method to travel and connect across time and space is art," Hoffman said in a speech he had a friend read at a March luncheon honoring the couple for their civic contributions.

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Robert K. Hoffman

That gift, coupled with the Hoffmans' role in spearheading additional bequests of 550 objects from friends Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and Deedie and Rusty Rose, put them on Business Week magazine's list of the top 50 philanthropists for 2005.

Born in Dallas on July 18, 1947, Hoffman held strong ties to his hometown and worked hard to improve the quality of life. He chaired the Dallas Plan, a 30-year blueprint for reshaping the city and served as board chairman of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society for a critical five years ending in 1992.

Hoffman was a co-founder and managing editor of the humorous National Lampoon, spawned from the Harvard Lampoon, created while he was a student at the university. Hoffman graduated cum laude in 1970 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. The magazine spun off successful films, the best known being "Animal House."

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Robert K. Hoffman circa 1970

"National Lampoon never would have happened, and none of the things that came out of it would have happened, without Robert," Henry Beard, one of the other co-founders of the magazine, said in The Dallas Morning News in Tuesday's edition. "He had an exceptional pair of talents -- he was extremely smart, and utterly fearless."

The third founder, Doug Kenney, died in the early 1980s. Hoffman and his partners sold their interest in National Lampoon in 1975. Hoffman continued to serve as a trustee of the Harvard Lampoon. Hoffman never completely shed the irreverence of his youth. In a speech at a 1996 business awards banquet, he ended his remarks by quoting the Monkees.

Survivors include his wife, Marguerite Steed Hoffman; three daughters, Augusta, Hannah and Kate; his mother, Adelyn Hoffman and a brother, Dr. Richard Hoffman of Denver. His father, Edmund Hoffman, died on June 4 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

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