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Sam Nazarian ( , born 1975 in Tehran, Iranmarker) is an Iranian-American entrepreneur. Nazarian is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of SBE which includes hotel, restaurant, nightlife, and real estate divisions; as well as Bolthouse Productions and Element Films. As a film producer, real estate financier, hotelier, and restaurateur, Nazarian has produced numerous major motion picture releases and owns several Southern California nightclubs and restaurants, as well as SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and the Ritz Plaza in Miami. In 2006, Nazarian was the youngest executive to be named one of the "Top 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California" by West, the Los Angeles Times’ Magazine and was named among "The Influentials" in Los Angeles magazine. He has also been featured and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, People, Fortune, W, Variety and The New Yorker.

Early life

Born in Tehran, Iranmarker to Persian Jews, Nazarian's parents immigrated to the United States after the Iranian Revolution because radical Islamic revolutionaries would persecute the Jews so they changed their name from Nazari to Nazarian (an Armenian last name) in order to flee, as Armenians are not accused of dual loyalty to Israelmarker, an official enemy of the state. Son of Qualcommmarker co-founder Younes "David" Nazarian, Sam was raised in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. Sam studied at New York Universitymarker and the University of Southern Californiamarker.

Nazarian's first entrepreneurial venture was in 1998, when he founded Platinum Wireless, a telecommunications business specializing in the distribution of Nextel software. Within one year of its founding, Platinum Wireless was the number one Nextel distributor in Southern California. Nazarian then entered the world of real estate by diversifying his family's assets into real estate holdings, beginning with the establishment of 3Wall Development in 1999. Under Sam's guidance 3Wall quickly became one of Southern California's largest owners of multi-family housing.


Chief Executive Officer of SBE's Element Films, Nazarian has served as executive producer for the 2005 comedy Waiting...(Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Luis Guzman) , 2005's Down in the Valley (Edward Norton, Evan Rachel Wood, David Morse) and 2006's Five Fingers (Laurence Fishburne, Ryan Philippe) and The Last Time, 2007's Pride (Terrance Howard) and Mr. Brooks (Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, William Hurt) and 2008's College.


Nightclubs & Lounges

SBE owns four Los Angeles nightclubs and lounges: Area, "MI-6", Hyde, and XIV. Rather than seek investors for each nightclub, as is normal procedure for high-end nightclubs (which also tend to be high risk), Nazarian owns each club outright. These venues continue to see a high level of popularity and celebrity patronage, as well as being frequently visited by the characters of HBO's Entourage. Nazarian made an appearance as himself greeting the main characters of the show in the episode "No Cannes Do".


Nazarian has secured partnerships with Philippe Starck and chefs Katsuya Uechi, José Andrés and Michael Mina. His partnership with Katsuya and Starck has produced one of the most sought-after restaurants in Los Angeles, Katsuya, which launched in Brentwood in 2006 and was followed by Hollywood in October 2007 and Glendale in May 2008, with plans for a downtown Los Angeles location to open in early 2009. Starck-designed XIV, in partnership with Chef Michael Mina, on the Sunset Strip opens in October 2008. Also opening in 2008 is The Bazaar by José Andrés which will be integrated into SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.


In 2007, SBE acquired Las Vegas’ legendary Sahara Hotel & Casino, in partnership with Stockbridge, adding it to the company's growing portfolio. Nazarian played a leading role in the acquisition of the property as well as in the creation of the company's dynamic new Starck-designed hotel brand, SLS Hotels, which launches in Fall 2008 with the opening of SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Under Starck's exclusive 15-year design agreement with SBE, the acclaimed designer will also lend his talents to the other hotel properties in the SBE portfolio, the Ritz Plaza in Miami's South Beach, slated to reopen in 2012, and the Sahara, scheduled for complete redevelopment by 2011.

Nazarian has also invested in several other hotels, such as Viceroy hotels and resorts; Chamberlain West Hollywood; Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica; Sheraton Gateway LAX, and Hilton Garden Inns in resort locales in Southern California and Florida.[4].

Other activities

Nazarian is also a member of the Southern California Institute of Architecture's Board of Directors, and is a supporter of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation.


  2. [1]
  3. Having found success in U.S., Iranian Jews Turn To Showbiz | Iranian American Jews | Jewish Journal
  6. Wharton Biography of Sam Nazarian

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