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Robert Hoffman; Lampoon co-founder became philanthropist

DALLAS -- Robert K. Hoffman, one of three founders of the irreverent National Lampoon magazine, has died. He was 59.

Mr. Hoffman, a prominent Dallas philanthropist, died Sunday at a hospital in the area. He had been suffering from leukemia since December, according to his family.

He was a co-founder and managing editor of the humorous National Lampoon, spawned from the Harvard Lampoon while he was a student at the university.

He oversaw several of the early issues, which sparked controversy for their spoofs of politics and culture.

Mr. Hoffman graduated cum laude in 1970 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The magazine spun off successful films, the best known being ``Animal House."

``National Lampoon never would have happened, and none of the things that came out of it would have happened, without Robert," Henry Beard, one of the other cofounders of the magazine, said in Tuesday's editions of The Dallas Morning News. ``He had an exceptional pair of talents -- he was extremely smart, and utterly fearless."

The third founder, Doug Kenney, died in the early 1980s.

Mr. Hoffman and his partners sold their interest in National Lampoon in 1975. He continued to serve as a trustee of the Harvard Lampoon.

Mr. Hoffman was named one of Business Week magazine's top 50 philanthropists for 2005.

A longtime art collector, he and his wife, Marguerite, gave 224 art objects in March valued at $150 million to the Dallas Museum of Art.

``I now realize the only effective method to travel and connect across time and space is art," Mr. Hoffman said in a speech he had a friend read at a March luncheon honoring the couple for their civic contributions.

He leaves his wife, three daughters, his mother, and a brother.

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