Steven Spielberg’s mother, Leah Adler, passed away on February 21, according to a spokesperson for Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners. She was 97.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity in Leah’s name. 

Known as Lee Lee to her family and friends, Adler was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to Philip Posner and Jennie (Fridman) Posner. At an early age she developed a love of music when she learned piano, later studying at the Music Conservatory in Cincinnati and graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Home Economics. 

Leah Adler and Steven Spielberg
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She married Arnold Meyer Spielberg in February of 1945 and had four children – Steven, Anne, Sue and Nancy. The family later moved to New Jersey from Cincinnati, where they lived for seven years before they relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1957. 

In Phoenix,at Louise Kerr’s studio, she often performed piano solos and with chamber music groups. She was also an accomplished painter, owned The Village Shop in Scottsdale where she showcased the works of local artists, and became known around town as “the lady with the Peter Pan haircut” who drove a 1950 Willy’s army jeep. 

In 1964, the family moved to Los Gatos, California, where they built a house in Saratoga and lived there for two years. After her divorce from Spielberg, she moved back to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she married Bernie Adler in 1967 and remained there with Sue and Nancy until eventually moving to Los Angeles, where they opened a kosher restaurant called The Milky Way.

Adler is survived by her four children, Steven (wife Kate), Anne (husband Dan), Sue (husband Jerry), and Nancy (husband Shimon), 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.