Longtime Malibu resident Fred Beck passed away Sept. 14, peacefully in his sleep.
Fred was born in Seattle, Wash., on May 31, 1927, to Frederic and Neill Beck. Upon graduating from University High School in west Los Angeles, Fred was drafted into service and joined the Navy prior to the end of World War II.
After his service in the Navy, Fred attended UCLA on the GI Bill, where he excelled in track and field and earned UCLA’s Most Valuable Distance Runner award in 1950. Fred also distinguished himself in journalism and student government. Upon graduation, Fred entered the media business and joined the burgeoning field of national advertising, becoming one of the original West Coast “mad men” in the late 1950s and 60s. Fred, along with his colleagues at Time/Life and Sports Illustrated helped usher in the marriage of mainstream national advertisers with professional sports in American media so ubiquitous today.
Not to miss a beat, Fred and his wife Nancy moved their family of four (soon to be five) to the “Wild West” of Malibu in 1958, where Fred and his fellow sailor/surfers helped define the California beach lifestyle we know today, building, sailing and racing Malibu outriggers.
While at Time/Life, Fred was recruited to be marketing director of the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. Fred moved his family to Sun Valley, where he developed a passion for skiing, fishing and hiking in the majestic Sawtooth Mountains. Fred maintained his love for Idaho over the years, and frequently spent months there visiting dear friends, hiking and cycling. Fred had an oversized passion for both the ocean and the mountains.
Fred leaves behind his beloved wife Gaye, three sons, loving in-laws, five grandchildren and many friends dear to him. Fred was a World War II veteran, loving husband, father, grandfather, athlete, journalist and craftsman. His lust for life and Malibu helped usher in words that are now part of the modern culture vernacular. He was one of the original Southern California “watermen” and one of America’s original “mad men.” Without ever forgetting his family and friends, he always managed to “live the dream.” Fred was a dear friend to many. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, any donations may be made in Fred’s name to Saint Michaels Indian School, Box 650, St. Michaels, AZ 86511.
A private memorial will be held.