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Seattle icon and creator of icons, Bagley Wright dies

As a real estate developer in the early '60s, Bagley Wright was one of the original investors in the Space Needle.

One of Seattle’s most -influential arts patrons and real estate developers has passed away.  Bagley Wright died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 87, according to

His name is synonymous with much of what makes Seattle unique.

  • The Bagley Wright Theatre at the Seattle Repertory Theatre is named for him.
  • He helped transform the Seattle Arts Museum , donating his large collection of contemporary works to the institution.
  • He was one of the founding investors in the Seattle Weekly.

“He’s really been an essential donor and supporter of almost every major arts organization in the city,” Arts consultant Susan Trapnell told the Seattle Times

But Bagley Wright may be best known for contributing the most iconic symbol to Seattle. As a real estate developer in the early '60s, he was one of the original investors in the Space Needle. 

Just this April, he stood beneath it as the Seattle Center began celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair. When the Space Needle was built in 1962, it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi.

 A memorial service for Bagley Wright is planned for 3 p.m., Tuesday, July 26, at St. Marks Cathedral in Seattle.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.