Philanthropist and longtime supporter of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Luanne C. Wells passed away on July 15 at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 87 years old. Born and raised in Beverly Hills, Wells attended Hawthorne School and Beverly Hills High School. She became an important figure in the arts community, joining the board of directors in 1998 of the Beverly Hills Cultural Center Foundation, before it was reimagined as The Wallis. Wells was the widow of the former Disney president, Frank G. Wells, who died in 1994.
Wells served as a director and member of the Executive Committee of The Wallis for 23 years. She was an active member of several Wallis committees including the Architect Selection Committee, Construction Committee, and Landscape Committee. As the namesake of the Wells Family Education Courtyard, she steered generous support to The Wallis early and consistently, allowing the organization to plan ambitiously to include not only performing arts, but also arts learning, education and community service in its programming.
“Luanne Wells was among the longest-serving and most-dedicated members of The Wallis Board of Directors,” Rachel Fine, The Wallis’ Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, said. “As a Beverly Hills High School student, she frequented The Wallis when it was the United States Post Office, which housed her favorite candy store. Her passion for the original historic building is well represented by the beautiful landscaping to which she committed much time, energy and care, as well as the Education Courtyard, which bears her family’s name. With her elegance and grace working in tandem with her intelligence, thoughtfulness and spark, she was an invaluable Board member for more than two decades. She’s irreplaceable and will be deeply missed by everyone at The Wallis.”
Wells and her late husband established Environment Now, where she served as Executive Chairman. Other examples of her philanthropy included the creation of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic at UCLA and the launch of the Santa Monica Baykeeper and the San Diego Baykeeper, where she served on the Board of Directors. She spent much of her spare time in Malibu breeding horses and other animals, as well as cultivating various species of trees.
“We are heartbroken over the loss of Luanne,” said daughter in law and BHUSD School Board Member, Mary Wells. “She will leave a huge hole in all our lives. She was truly an exquisite woman with a formidable presence. We will miss her terribly as a loving and fun-loving grandmother, mother and friend. Her generosity and delight in bringing family and friends together created a legacy for all of us.”
Wells was also a member of the California Institute of the Arts’ Board of Trustees, the Getty Conservation Council, the Junior League of Los Angeles, Blue Ribbon of the Los Angeles Music Center, and served on the boards of the Bravo Colorado Vail Valley Music Festival, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, and Shambala, a rescue program for wild animals.