Michael Armand Hammer, a businessman and philanthropist known for his generosity in Santa Barbara, died Nov. 20 after a long battle with cancer.
Mr. Hammer was the father of actor Armie Hammer, whose most recent movie, “Death On The Nile,” was released earlier this year.
Mr. Hammer was the grandson of Armand Hammer, who ran the Occidental Petroleum Corp.
“Michael took over and operated the business at a fairly young age. Michael’s grandfather Armand Hammer was credited with introducing Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev and thereby effectively ending the Cold War,” Scott Perry, a longtime friend of Michael Hammer, told the News-Press.
“Michael was a big car enthusiast; he liked the Montecito Motor Classic and supported it. He always took the time to talk to people about his cars,” said Mr. Perry, owner and operator of the Lemon Tree Inn in Santa Barbara.
“He was an extremely nice guy and very generous,” Mr. Perry recalled. “The two words to describe him would be ‘kindness’ and ‘fairness.’ That was how he operated. He was extremely generous, especially in the Santa Barbara community.
“He contributed to a lot of charities, probably too many to number,” Mr. Perry said. “He was an extremely generous supporter especially in education and those (causes) benefiting children. Some of his largest beneficiaries include: Lotusland, Santa Barbara Police Activities League and the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara.”
Judie Lugo, executive director of the Police Activities League, praised Mr. Hammer in an email to the News-Press.
“SBPAL is extremely grateful for the longtime support of Michael Hammer,” she said. “He was a champion of the DRAGG youth automotive program and donated the DRAGG Camaro to support SBPAL’s outreach after the program’s conclusion. Mr. Hammer’s generosity helped make it possible for us to reach deserving youth in Santa Barbara with academic support, enrichment activities and mentorship from local police officers.”
Mr. Perry also described Mr. Hammer as generous. “I think that is the main thing, with not only his donations but his time and attention. He was also extremely intelligent. He was extremely generous and very kind.
“In all the time I spent with him, he was very friendly with everybody. He was a friend to all. I never saw him have an unpleasant exchange with anybody.”