Photo: Abraxis BioScience
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong
Yesterday I wrote about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the former surgeon turned billionaire cancer-drug developer, philanthropist, and now owner of what was Magic Johnson's small share in the Los Angeles Lakers.
Soon-Shiong started out in South Africa as the child of an immigrant Chinese village doctor. Today the 58-year-old is the wealthiest person in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, ahead of familiar names like Eli Broad and David Geffen.
I shared a bit of what I learned about the billionaire Lakers fan on this morning's Madeleine Brand Show, which featured a segment on Soon-Shiong and how he became the wealthiest Angeleno that most people have never heard of, until now.
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Photo by David Cohen/Flickr (Creative Commons)
A Los Angeles billboard for the top-rated show, September 2006
L.A's Univision radio host Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo traveled last year to "La Casa Blanca," Spanish for the White House, to interview President Obama in the Oval Office; today, Obama will visit "la casa de Piolín" for an in-studio interview with Sotelo during his visit to Los Angeles.
Scheduled to air Monday, it will be Obama's third interview with nationally syndicated host of the immensely popular Spanish-language morning show "Piolín por la Mañana." The first took place when he was campaigning for office in 2007 (and during which Obama sang "Mi Mexico Lindo y Querido," below).
This interview will cover the upcoming elections, immigration reform (for which Sotelo has been an influential advocate, rallying listeners to march in 2006) and "other themes of interest to the Hispanic community in the United States," the show's website reads.
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Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong
So who is the billionaire Lakers season ticket holder to whom Magic Johnson has sold his 4.5 percent ownership stake in the team?
Besides being a cancer-treatment innovator and reportedly the wealthiest guy in town (he was ranked wealthiest Angeleno by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and tied with others for 154th among the world's billionaires by Forbes), Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has an interesting personal history. He's a second-generation South African of Chinese descent, transplanted to Los Angeles.
His parents left China, where his father was a village doctor, during World War II. Soon-Shiong was born and raised in South Africa under apartheid rules, which were also applied to Asians.
KCET, which gave him a Visionary Award earlier this year, has a video interview on its website in which Soon-Shiong describes one experience as a young physician in South Africa during which his first cancer patient, a white man, initially refused to let him examine him. Later, after all went well, the patient praised the "Chinaman" for his work.