Leon Wildes ObituaryLeon Wildes Obituary

Leon Wildes, a prominent American attorney and senior partner of the New York City-based immigration law firm Wildes & Weinberg P.C., passed away on January 8, 2024, at the age of 90.

Who was Leon Wildes

Known for his specialization in immigration law, Wildes played a significant role in preventing the deportation of John Lennon from the United States during a prolonged legal battle in the 1970s.

Full Name and Background

Leon Wildes, born on March 4, 1933, in Pennsylvania, was the son of Harry Wildes, a clothing and dry goods merchant, and Sarah (Rudin) Wildes, who worked in his father’s store. He received his education from public schools in Olyphant, earned a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University in 1954, and later obtained a law degree from New York University in 1958.

Career and Contributions

Wildes’s legal career led him to immigration law, where he worked for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, aiding refugees and assisting Americans in establishing U.S. citizenship. In 1960, he founded the immigration law firm Wildes & Weinberg and became a distinguished figure in the field. He authored numerous law review articles on immigration law and taught at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.

Family and Personal Life

Survived by his wife, Alice Goldberg Wiles, and two sons, Michael and Mark, Leon Wildes leaves behind a legacy of eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His son, Michael Wildes, also a lawyer, highlighted his father’s deep commitment to immigration law, stating that helping others achieve the American dream held “biblical import” for him.

Notable Case: John Lennon’s Deportation Battle

One of the most notable chapters in Leon Wildes’s career was his involvement in the case of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1972. Initially unfamiliar with the couple, Wildes agreed to meet with them at the Manhattan offices of Apple Records. The U.S. government sought Lennon’s deportation due to a 1968 drug-related conviction. However, Wildes successfully navigated legal loopholes, ultimately delaying and revoking the deportation order.

Legacy and Obituary

Leon Wildes’s legacy extends beyond legal circles, as his name became intertwined with musical and political history. Recognized as a hero among Beatles fans, Wildes’s efforts to secure Lennon’s stay in the U.S. earned him gratitude and admiration. Despite initial uncertainties about the couple, Wildes’s strategic legal maneuvers proved pivotal in overcoming a dramatic and politically charged legal struggle.

Leon Wildes’s impact on immigration law and his role in the John Lennon case remains significant contributions to American legal history.

Check also, Tom Shales’s Obituary, Pulitzer Prize-winning TV Critic Dies at Age 79

By Peter Snee

Peter Snee serves as a journalist at the obituaries desk of AllObituary.com, having joined the team in 2024. A graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Peter specializes in covering the life stories of individuals who have left a lasting mark on their respective fields, cities, or countries. His reporting spans a diverse range of personalities, from prominent big-game hunters and solo sailors to fallen dictators, Olympic champions, and even the innovator behind the Hawaiian pizza. Before assuming his current position, Peter contributed his journalistic expertise to renowned newspapers and magazines. His career highlights a wealth of experience, reflecting his versatility in capturing the essence of remarkable lives in the realm of journalism.

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