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Steven Spielberg mourns death of father Arnold Spielberg at 103



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In this file photo, Steven Spielberg and father Arnold attend the 78th Annual Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo: Steve Granitz, WireImage)

Film director Steven Spielberg’s father Arnold, a pioneer in the world of computers, died Tuesday at 103 of natural causes, Steven’s production company announced. 

Steven Spielberg, 73, along with siblings Anne Spielberg, 70, marketing executive Sue Spielberg, 66, and producer Nancy Spielberg, 64, sat by their father’s bedside Tuesday and “gently returned the gift of storytelling their father had, for decades, imbued in all of them,” according to a news release from Amblin Entertainment. 

“You are our hearth. You are our home,” Steven Spielberg told his father on Tuesday night. 

Arnold Spielberg’s love of stories inspired all four of his children to go into creative fields, while he largely spent his career developing technology. 

After joining General Electric in 1956, he worked as part of the team that designed the GE-200 series of mainframe computers, which allowed multiple users to connect with one computer to solve problems, and was involved in developing the patent for the first electronic cash register, among other projects. 

A 1950 photo made available exclusively to USA TODAY shows Steven Spielberg, at age 4, with his parents, Leah and Arnold. (Photo: HBO)

His work proved to be significant in the development of realtime data acquisition, and he received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Pioneer Award in 2006.

“When I see a PlayStation, when I look at a cell phone — from the smallest calculator to an iPad — I look at my dad and I say, ‘My dad and a team of geniuses started that,'” Steven Spielberg once said, according to the news release. 

Anne Spielberg recalled in the news release that HAM Radio operation instilled a love of storytelling in him from a young age, helping him “create an idea of what was possible,” an activity he passed down to his children. 

“He would put the headphones on me and tell me to listen for sounds of the universe,” Anne Spielberg said. “He would say that if we just listened closely, there was more out there than we could ever imagine, and that there were people out there with stories, just like ours, ready to be shared.”

During World War II, Spielberg served as a radio operation and chief communications man for the Army stationed in India, where he wired barracks for sound and repaired troops’ movie projectors. 

Spielberg’s first wife, Leah Spielberg Adler, the mother of all four of his children, died in 2017 at age 97. His second wife, Bernice Colner Spielberg, died in 2016 at age 95, according to an obituary in the LA Times.

He is survived by four stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and “countless adoring cousins, nieces and nephews,” according to the release. 

“Due to circumstances and safety precautions around the ongoing pandemic, a celebration of life will be held at a later date, tentatively set for Fall of 2021 and aligned with the Jewish tradition of unveiling the headstone,” the news release announced.

The Spielberg family asked for donations to be made to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans or the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America in lieu of flowers. 

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