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Walter J. Karabian


Picture of Walter J. Karabian
Date Party Office Votes Result
11-08-1966 Democratic AD-45 33163 Win
11-05-1968 Democratic AD-45 39164 Win
11-03-1970 Democratic AD-45 37042 Win
11-07-1972 Democratic AD-45 43575 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: March 14, 1938 in Fresno, CA
Married: Carole Wells Karabian (m. 1977, div. 1984), Laurel Dickranian (m. 1988, d. 2014)
Children: Kathrine, Benjamin, and Madeline Araxie
University: University of Southern California (BA, History; MPA; JD)

1964-1966: Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
1964: Southern California Chair, Young Citizens for Johnson
1968: Southern California Co-Chairman, Hubert Humphrey for President campaign
1971-1972: Majority Leader, California State Assembly
1989: Chairman, United Coordinating Committee for Armenian Earthquake Relief
2016-Present: Benefactor, Walter and Laurel Karabian Fellowship Program

  • Karabian was elected to the Assembly at age 28.
  • From 1971 to 2016, Karabian was the youngest Assembly Majority Leader in California history (he reached that office at age 33). In 2016, Ian Calderon was named Majority Leader at age 30. Some biographies indicate that Mike Roos was the youngest, but he was 35 when he became leader.
  • Terrorism: In September 1977, Karabian and his wife Carole were held as hostages on a Japan Air Lines airplane by the Japanese Red Army. The airplane was hijacked September 28 in Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Carole was released on September 29th, while Walter was released October 3rd in Algiers (Algeria).
  • LEGAL TROUBLES: On December 5, 2009, Karabian "was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly hitting a parking lot attendant with his car before a USC football game at the Coliseum." (Morning Buzz) "Karabian tried to drive his car into a parking structure at Exposition Park but was stopped by a female attendant who refused him entry for not having a proper permit." In November 2010, Karabian pleaded no contest to a charge of "disturbing the peace" and was required to serve 40 hours of community service and three years' probation.

Source: California Blue Book (1967)
Source: "Karabian Family Tree" at (Accessed 10/31/2011)
Source: "Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.24.10" by Kevin Roderick, L.A. Observed (3/24/2010)
Source: "Former legislator accused of assault" by Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times (1/8/2010)
Source: "Ex-legislator enters plea" by Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times (11/3/2010)