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Gene Freed 1930-2009

Gene Freed, Grand Life Master and one of ACBL's most successful tournament players, died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday of complications from a heart ailment. He was 79.

As of the August masterpoint cycle, Freed was No. 22 on the all-time list with more than 28,000 masterpoints. He won hundreds of regional championships and five North American titles.

Eugene H. Freed was born in 1930 in Somerville NJ to David and Mildred Freed. He lived there until about age 15, when the family moved to San Diego. The family lived near San Diego State University, which he attended as an undergraduate, followed by UCLA and USC Medical School.

An ear, nose and throat physician in private practice, Freed worked out of the same office on Wilshire Boulevard near Carthay Circle in Los Angeles for more than 50 years. He did plastic and reconstructive surgery in the early years, was a pioneer in performing tonsillectomies on hemophiliacs, and in his later years specialized in Workers Compensation evaluations.

He had some celebrity friends and patients, including Don Adams (Get Smart, backgammon player at the Cavendish), Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle) and Al Lewis (Grandfather in The Munsters). He served as a physician for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company in the Sixties and Seventies, treating their performers in his office and occasionally backstage.

He played bridge as a boy and in college, and played money bridge and backgammon regularly at the Cavendish Club in Los Angeles.

Freed's son, Michael, said that in 1970, his father took him to learn to play bridge at the Edinburgh Bridge Club in Los Angeles. "We played tournament bridge as partners almost exclusively for about five years," Michael Freed said, "and he continued to play tournament bridge for the rest of his life."

Freed was often in the top 10 in the Barry Crane Top 500 competition, finishing second one year. He was an early and frequent user of online bridge services. Among his bridge partners and friends were Louise Childs (Freed's late wife), Mike Passell, Jim Robison, Gene Simpson and Richard Walsh.

He is survived by his wife, Sandi, son Michael, daughter Leslie, sisters Greta and Marlene and their families.