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Leonard Ross Death Called Suicide

May 3, 1985

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ The death of Leonard M. Ross, a one-time television whiz kid who later served as an economic adviser under President Jimmy Carter, was an apparent suicide, police said Friday.

Ross, 39, was found fully clothed at the bottom of a motel swimming pool on Wednesday.

″At this point, it looks like it’s an apparent suicide,″ said Santa Clara Police Capt. Robert Adair on Friday. Coroner’s reports were pending.

Ross’ family said he had been despondent recently, he added.

″He was unquestionably a genious,″ said Jesse Choper, dean of Boalt Hall law school at the University of California at Berkeley, where Ross taught for several years.

When Ross was 7, he gained national attention by passing a federal exam for a novice ham radio operator’s license. At the age of 11, he won $164,000 on TV quiz shows with his answers to questions about the stock market.

He graduated from high school when he was 14 and earned a degree in economics from the University of California in Los Angeles.

He also received a law degree from Yale University and was the editor-in- chie f of the Yale Law Review.

He was a teaching fellow at Harvard Law School in the early 1970s, a professor of law at Columbia Law School, and resigned about a year ago from a teaching post at Boalt Hall.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Ross to the state Public Utilities Commission in 1975, making him one of the youngest members of the commission created in 1911.

Ross resigned in 1977 to work as a special assistant in economic affairs for the Carter administration.

Ross had been living in Santa Clara, a couple of miles from the Capri Motel where he was found, Adair said. The motel manager said Ross was not a registered guest there.

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