One of the things that is such a huge part of Los Angeles and Southern California culture, the automobile, lost one its inconic figures with the death of Robert Petersen, the founder of Hot Rod magazine. A high school drop out, he went on to found Motor Trend, a number of other magazines, and was a serial entrepreneur before that term was invented. In addition to supporting numerous LA charities, his legacy is the 12 year old Petersen Automotive Museum, already recognized as one of the finest car museums on the planet.
Movieland provided an initial stepping stone for Petersen’s successful careers. His mother dead from TB when he was ten, he dropped out of Barstow High School at 15 and worked odd jobs. The LA Times obit notes that Petersen moved “at age 16 to Los Angeles, where he landed an $18-a-week job as a messenger boy at MGM. He worked his way up to the publicity department, where his job was to plant items about the studio’s stars with gossip columnists such as Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper.”