Mardi Ahmed Rustam

Nov. 25, 1932 — April 30, 2023


Tolucan Times publisher Mardi Rustam, 90, born on Nov. 25, 1932 in Kirkuk, Iraq, passed away in his Toluca Lake home on April 30. 

Mardi was a loving husband and father, proud grandfather and caring brother. He is survived by his daughters Sandra and Karima; grandchildren Brittany, Taylor, Victoria, Dylan, Thomas and William; brothers Mustafa and Samir; and sisters Nadira, Wazira and Yasemin. He cared deeply about his family.

Enamored with the United States, Mardi left Iraq to pursue new opportunities and a better life. He immigrated through Ellis Island at the age of 19 completely on his own and not knowing anyone in the U.S. He settled in Chicago where he studied at Goodman Theater, pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and met the love of his life Sarah Shoup, and enjoyed a 60-year marriage until her passing in 2021. The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1962 where he went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree in cinematic arts, film and television production from USC. Eventually, he earned enough money to support the move of his parents and six siblings from Iraq to the U.S. 

Mardi worked until the age of 89 making a name for himself in his community and the film industry. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he excelled in several industries including film and television production, real estate, film distribution and processing, restaurant franchise and newspaper publishing. He founded MARS Productions, an independent film company where he produced and directed more than 20 movies and television shows worldwide. He received numerous honors for his contribution to the film industry. In 1972 he became publisher and editor-in-chief of The Tolucan Times. He was a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, California Newspaper Publishers Association, and the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce.