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LOS ANGELES � Harry Gershon, a litigator in Los Angeles for about 50 years, died last week at his home in Valencia. He was 85. Gershon had retired in 1999 from L.A.’s Richards, Watson & Gershon, where he spent the majority of his legal career. “He was a very hardworking guy and everything he was involved with was just touched with excellence,” said Mitchell Abbott, a partner at the 75-lawyer firm who worked with Gershon for more than 30 years. Gershon specialized in the prosecution and defense of entertainment, antitrust and complex business lawsuits. His clients included movie star Errol Flynn, Paramount Pictures, the International House of Pancakes, Postal Instant Press Inc. and Sir Speedy Inc. He also represented investors in securities fraud litigation and technology companies in trade secret and patent infringement suits. “He was an artist with cross examinations,” Abbott said. “He could slice the witness open and the witness would never be aware there was anything wrong.” Gershon had a scholarly approach, a “terrific” sense of humor, and a memory his colleagues referred to as “photographic,” often recalling the precise page where a footnote could be found in a law book, Abbott said. Before embarking on a law career, Gershon served as a captain in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He parachuted into St. Mere Eglise, behind German lines, shortly after midnight on the morning of June 6, 1944, helping to prepare for the Normandy invasion a few hours later. He joined the Allied push to Berlin and was injured in Germany in 1945, ending his military career. Gershon finished first in his class at the University of Southern California Law School in 1949 and was editor in chief of the Southern California Law Review. He served as law clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Roger Traynor. In 1951, he began private practice, working for Loeb & Loeb and his own firm in Beverly Hills before joining Richards, Watson & Gershon in 1968. In his free time, Gershon was an avid tennis player. He also loved fine food and wine � as well as an ice-cold vodka martini, provided it was made with top-shelf vodka, Abbott recalled. Gershon would make reservations at his favorite restaurants in Paris a year in advance, and alter travel plans depending upon where he could dine. “Harry enjoyed being a lawyer and he enjoyed life,” Abbott said. “He was responsible for training two generations of lawyers throughout LA. There are a lot of people whose careers were shaped by him.” Gershon was preceded in death by his son, Roger. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, and by his daughters, Deborah, Robin and Sherry. Funeral services were held Monday at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to AIDS research.

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