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GIFT INDUSTRY VETERAN SEYMOUR MANN DIES.

NEW YORK-Seymour Mann was a legend not only in the gift industry, but in the art and entertainment world as well.

Mann, who died in February at the age of 92, started out as a professional musician. He worked on Broadway, in New York City nightclubs and at summer resorts in the Catskills, and was the first percussionist to play "Begin the Beguine" in Cole Porter's musical "Jubilee."

Mann and his wife, Eda, a well-known artist whose paintings hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, together entered the world of Asian porcelain. For many years, Eda Mann was the chief designer for the pair, developing products for the American market.

Mann formed various partnerships with others in the gift and tabletop industry over the years and is perhaps best known for introducing Blue Danube dinnerware to American consumers through Lipper-Mann, an importing company he formed with Herman Lipper. He later became partners with Arthur Miller, another industry veteran. Miller-Mann Associates was sold to The Sigma Group, which later became part of International Silver.

Mann, meanwhile, created his own company, Seymour Mann Inc., along with his son-in-law, Gideon Oberweger, who remains chief executive officer.

Seymour Mann Inc. is known for its reproductions of artistic dolls. Seymour and Eda Mann received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Doll Reader magazine for their contributions to the doll industry.

Mann was known for his intelligence, keen sense of humor and his generosity,Oberweger said. "He was never satisfied with the status quo," he added. "He wanted each collection to be better than the last. `Be your own competition,' he would say, `be better than you were.' "

Mann is survived by Eda, to whom he was married for 70 years; their three daughters, Susanna Daou, Claudia Oberweger and the writer Erica Jong; and nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
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Title Annotation:obituary
Author:Zisko, Allison
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 29, 2004
Words:305
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