Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Richard Adlai immigrated to the United States in 1952 to attend Wayne State University in Detroit and he quickly moved to Los Angeles in 1954 to finish his degree at USC. Eventually settling in Toluca Lake, he began his career at Paramount Pictures working as the assistant to Cecil B. DeMille on The Ten Commandments. Richard transitioned to working for film processing labs (FotoKem, Technicolor) before co-owning his own and eventually moving into the literary world.
In 1965, his adventure novel, King Tarick, was published in several languages, and Richard owned and operated the Toluca Lake Bookshop through the mid-1970s. In 1982 he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University which launched a decades-long love of import/export and marketing. Richard retired his own company, Hilton Commercial Group, in the 1990s but found retirement boring and joined the Mojave Food Group/McCormick Spice family as a marketing consultant up until 2017.
Although blind for the last 18 years of his life, Richard remained a voracious reader, extremely knowledgeable in Roman and Greek history, a lover of the performing and fine arts (Mozart, Maurice Jarre, opera, David Lean films: Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, the musical Hair, and the art of Paul Gauguin (to name a few) and his hero was Alexander the Great. He shared his wanderlust with his family and was especially fond of France, Greece, Italy, Tahiti and every nook and cranny of California.
Richard passed away peacefully surrounded by his greatest loves—his family—and is survived by his children: Tarik, Tracey and John of Los Angeles; sisters Huda, Amal, Basima, Sahirah (Iraq) and Sabah (Los Angeles); a brother, Adil (Iraq); daughter-in-law Allison Adlai; grandson Jack Skywalker Adlai; ex-wives, Gail Findley (Las Vegas) and Marciana Saint-Jean (Los Angeles) and extended family across the U.S. and around the globe.
Services were held February 27, 2019 at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. A celebration of his life is currently being planned. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to The Braille Institute Los Angeles.