GOMBOS, ZOLTAN (21 Jan. 1905-26 Nov. 1984), was the publisher of the Hungarian daily SZABADSAG and the son of Samuel and Peti (Rubenstein) Gombos. He emigrated from Hungary in 1925. He came to Cleveland as a student at Western Reserve University and graduated in 1929. While a student, he worked as a sports columnist for a Hungarian paper. Gombos became one of Cleveland's first foreign-film exhibitors in rented theaters and opened a Gypsy theme restaurant at the 1936 GREAT LAKES EXPOSITION. Beginning 1932 he covered sports and amusements for Szabadsag, before being promoted to city and then managing editor in 1939. As president of Liberty Publishing Co., he also acquired the New York Hungarian daily Amerikai Magyar Nepszava (American Hungarian People's Voice), moving its printing to Cleveland and acquiring several Cleveland English neighborhood papers, including Buckeye Press. In the 1950s he published the national Hungarian weekly A Jo Pasztor (The Good Shepherd). Nationally prominent, Gombos was on the delegation that returned St. Stephen's Crown from the U.S. to Hungary in 1978, and received the American Hungarian Foundation's Geo. Washington Award in 1978. He served on Cleveland's zoning board for 11 years and was chairman of the Ohio Racing Commission from 1953-58. An original member of the Playhouse Square Foundation, he often sponsored appearances of attractions such as the Budapest Symphony. By the time Gombos sold his publishing interests in Sept. 1984, both Szabadsag and the New York paper were weeklies. Gombos married twice. His first marriage was to Madeline, "Magda," Koloszi on 27 Oct. 1936; they divorced on 7 Nov. 1974. He then married Lenke Schaar, a Hungarian actress and singer, on 13 Nov. 1974. He had a stepdaughter, Suzanne Webster. Gombos died in Cleveland.

Zoltan Gombos Papers, WRHS.

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