Richard D. Spizzirri

Feb. 21, 1933 - May 12, 2015

Richard D. Spizzirri, an attorney who lived in Aspen, Colo., and East Hampton, died at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City on May 12 with his children at his bedside. He was 82. His family said he died of complications of multiple myeloma.

Mr. Spizzirri practiced law with the firm Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City for 36 years before retiring as a senior partner in 1994. He was a legal adviser to many leading investment banks and venture capital firms, giving advice on a wide range of corporate legal matters. He specialized in corporate finance.

He structured and pioneered the use of research-and-development limited partnerships as a means of raising capital for emerging biotechnology companies in the 1980s, among them Amgen and Genentech. The use of such partnerships was critical to funding the clinical development of many important drugs, including Amgen’s Neupogen and Johnson & Johnson’s ReoPro.

Mr. Spizzirri served on the boards of a number of technology and biotechnology companies and was an active investor in many entrepreneurial ventures. A patron of the arts, he was a member of the board of trustees of the Juilliard School from 1967 to 1991.

He was also an enthusiastic sportsman, particularly as a hiker and skier in the mountains around his house in Colorado. He was an avid tennis player and a longtime member of the Maidstone Club in East Hampton.

His other passions included art, gardening, and classic films, and he was a longtime member of the Metropolitan Opera Club. He could often be found in his beloved garden — a Garden Design magazine Golden Trowel Award winner that was featured in books and magazines. It was also featured in tours and benefits for the Garden Club of America, on Guild Hall’s Garden as Art tours, and in Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons fund-raisers.

Mr. Spizzirri, the son of Anthony and Marie Spizzirri, was born on Feb. 21, 1933, and raised in Oak Park, Ill., with his sister, the late Theresa Provenzano. After attending Oak Park and River Forest High School, he graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1955 and cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1958.

He married Lucy Irvine Forkner in 1957, and four years later they settled in Greenwich, Conn., where they raised four children. They divorced in 1971.

Surviving him are his children, Abigail Kamen, Hillary McAtee, and Peter Spizzirri, all of Greenwich, and Andy Spizzirri of Norwalk, Conn., and his second wife, Holly Leuders, whom he married 20 years ago. Three stepchildren, Margo Young of London, Jaime Young of Hong Kong, and Venetia Young of New York City, also survive, as do nine grandchildren.