Jerry Hirshberg, 1939-2019

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November 14, 2019 09:45 AM

Jerry Hirshberg, 1939-2019

He designed everything from Buicks to golf clubs.

Wes Raynal

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Jerry Hirshberg shows off the Nissan Z concept car at the Detroit auto show.

Jerry Hirshberg designed everything from the 1971 Buick Riviera (definitely an Autoweek favorite) to the 1999 revival of the Nissan Z, as well as laptops, children’s furniture and golf clubs. He died Nov. 10 from brain cancer. He was 80.
Hirshberg was born July 7, 1939, in University Heights, Ohio. According to an obituary in The San Diego Union-Tribune, he was a musical prodigy who at 6 years old studied composition and conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He played clarinet for the Cleveland Youth Symphony and as a teenager formed a rock band called Jerry Paul & the Plebes. The paper says he opened for Frankie Avalon, among other acts, and called him a “restless innovator” who also wrote, painted, and “idolized Leonardo da Vinci.”
The founding director of Nissan Design International, Hirshberg started his career in automotive design with GM and eventually was the Buick/Pontiac chief designer.
In 1980, Nissan recruited him, and there he served as the founding director and eventual president of NDI, the company’s first U.S. studio. By the late ’90s, NDI was responsible for some 75 percent of the cars Nissan sold here.

After retiring from NDI in 2000, Hirshberg devoted more time to music and painting. He was a member of the San Diego Port District’s arts advisory board, and his designs were the subject of a 2001 San Diego Museum of Art exhibit. His 1999 book, “The Creative Priority: Driving Innovative Business in the Real World,” tells how at NDI he created an environment that fostered innovation and creativity.
His family says donations in his memory can be made to the Jerry Hirshberg Fund at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (contact is Susan Erburu Reardon at 213-972-3541) or in his honor to the Cleveland Institute of Art.

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Source:https://autoweek.com/article/car-news/jerry-hirshberg-1939-2019

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