Larry Gonzalez, a business executive, and former elected official, passed away peacefully on June 10, 2023, at his home surrounded by his family at 67 years old.
Larry battled pancreatic cancer for 18 months. Much like he lived his life, he fought cancer with courage and resilience. He spent his last few weeks embraced by the love and support of his family, friends, and former colleagues. Larry expressed deep gratitude to God for the life he lived and the opportunity he had to give back to the Mexican-American community as a leader, notable entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, Larry learned from an early age what it meant to work hard. Hard work became the fundamental attribute of his life. Growing up in Estrada Courts, a government housing project in Boyle Heights, Larry started his first business at 8 years old as a shoe-shine boy – taking the bus from Boyle Heights to LAX by himself to work – later recruiting his two younger brothers to grow the business. He was the oldest of three brothers, and he was tasked with finding a way to help support his family – hard work at a young age was how he did it. His perseverance and work ethic propelled him to achieve the American dream.
“Larry was a champion for social justice and dedicated his life’s work to fighting tirelessly for those who were underrepresented, particularly kids from the Latino community living in the inner cities of Los Angeles. Growing up on the East Side, while attending the legendary Roosevelt High School where he was elected student body president and graduated with distinction in 1973, he experienced first-hand what the schools and community needed in order to thrive,” said Latin heat.
Throughout his life, Larry served on a myriad of non-profit boards, including Fire Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Fire Commission, board member on the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, and was also a featured speaker at local schools throughout his career.
He made a significant impact on Los Angeles Schools, particularly his integral involvement in the opening of Bravo Medical Magnet High School. His leadership and unwavering commitment to education led to his appointment as Director of Community Affairs at Univision’s flagship television station, KMEX-TV. That experience garnered him the opportunity to become Station Manager for KMEX Channel 34, the country’s first and largest Spanish-language TV outlet. It was during his tenure at Univision KMEX, that Larry launched one of the largest Hispanic market events, Fiesta Broadway, thus began his 36-year career in entertainment.
Among his many business successes is the creation of All Access Entertainment, a company that would forever change the landscape of events and entertainment in California. As President, Chief Executive Officer, and Executive Producer, he orchestrated remarkable experiences, most notably the world-renowned Fiesta Broadway. Under his leadership, the event grew to become one of the longest-running, major Hispanic market outdoor festivals on the West Coast. The live event drew crowds of half a million, bringing people from all walks of life together and celebrating the beauty of Mexican-American culture. Notable acts included prominent artists in Latin music: Los Tigres del Norte, Veronica Castro, Thalia, Alejandra Guzman, Celia Cruz, Selena, Lola Beltran, and Jose Jose, to name a few.
“Beyond his professional accomplishments, Larry remained humble and down-to-earth, cherishing genuine connections and true friendship. He believed in the power of unity through community, and his legacy will live on through the countless jobs he created, the talented professionals he nurtured, and the political campaigns he championed. Larry’s commitment to his community extended to his role as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Bravo Inc., where he continued to put the community first by providing television and event production services,” said Latin Heat.
He was an avid reader that could be found on the porch on a sunny day reading the Los Angeles Times. On weekend mornings he’d enjoy long bike rides through Pasadena. He loved current events, world news, and politics. He made friends easily and kept them. He never missed an opportunity to make someone laugh. He loved a good time hosting friends and was a great storyteller. Larry was quick to smile, charming, and quick-witted. He was easy to love. An exceedingly kind and humble man, he will be remembered for his generosity, good humor, wise advice, work ethic, high standards, and most of all, his devotion to his family. He took great pride in his two daughters, Aileen and Annette. Their success is a testament to his unwavering love and support as a father.
“A mass will take place Friday, June 30th at 12 pm at Resurrection Church 3324 Opal St. in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, Larry’s family requests that in his memory to inspire and empower future generations, donations be made to the Los Angeles Little League Field Light fund at https://gofund.me/436dede2,” said Latin Heat.
Produced in association with Latin Heat
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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