‘Father Dollar Bill’ Maurice Chase Dies At 92

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Father Maurice Chase, better known as “Father Dollar Bill”, has died. He was 92 years old.

The retired Catholic priest was well known for handing out dollar bills, and sometimes larger denominations, to the needy on Skid Row.

Chase passed out the donations every Thanksgiving and Christmas, giving away as much as $20,000 at a time.

His efforts were made possible over the years by celebrity donors such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and John Wayne.

Chase had suffered from cancer. He died at his home in Los Angeles Sunday night.

  • Kevin Wick

    A good man who will be missed, maybe its time for someone else to pick up were he left off, or companies who believe in the good heart of all.
    Father Maurice Chase, you will be missed.

  • wayne

    a good man?? your kidding right?? I lived on the row for 5 years i left my life because of family issues he came down there each year as the story says and gave out a few bucks to each person maybe enough to buy a hot meal or another bottle of cheep booze but he NEVER did anything to help any one get OFF THE ROW he NEVER spoke to any of us about God which as a priest is and should be his PRIME MISSION. i got off the row because my sister found me and helped me get right again. every time i saw this man down there handing out money (by the way i never accepted any of his money) he was always followed by news people he would stand there and do interview after interview getting his name in the press but never really doing anything for the people he was NOT a good man and he WILL NOT be missed on the row

    • uhoh

      YAWNNNN..sorry he didn’t give you enough money for your next hit of crack…

  • Ron

    Someone already was doing much more than handing out dollar bills – more like $10. and $15. for food without seeking publicity. Culver City Police Sgt. Brian Fitzpatrick and a biased female officer named Encina, arrested her – Rev. Shirley Smith, back on Sunday, October 30th. for informing elderly people that there is no shame in being hungry and telling them where they could go to get free food help. Three Trader Joe’s store employees who should have been minding their own business INSIDE the Culver/Washington store – harassed Rev. Smith for standing in the nearby Culver City parking structure quietly and unobtrusively handing out information leaflets.

  • Mark Shinnick

    Rev Chase was a frequent visitor to our home, he baptized me in 1958, and he had a affectionate nickname of “Uncle Mauri” within my family.

    Soon after he began the Sunday mission of handing out dollars, I asked him about the idea of maybe supporting addiction, and we had several conversations about it. Now, the Reverend was one amazing guy; he had previously trained for a career in law, and after seminary school – this was a man who really understood how to think!

    Rev Chase explained that what was really going on was a mission of hope and of providing options; of re-providing for each of these persons some small new measure of concrete personal choice and empowerment within their lives where the idea of personal control and choice had come under attack.
    Sure, he said, a person could take that dollar to buy a wine or beer, or something. But, to those to whom this gift made the most spiritual difference, there it needed to be for the reason that he had found that such persons may otherwise have had nothing meaningful remaining at all – no sense of any power or choice remaining in the world, and whom could thus become forever lost.

    As a man who understood hope and help as a numbers game, he knew that to succeed in bringing a message of options, responsibility, and restoral of motivation to some, his message of love to all was still a win-win. His mission was brilliant.

    One of the Reverend’s first and best friends in Hollywood was Irene Dunne. My grandmother saw a lot in this man, and welcomed him into her home, family, and circle of entertainment industry friends during the late 1950’s. She saw the goodness of this particular man, describing him as “a Good priest !” ….with the emphasis on “Good”. This man of God really had the right stuff; a priest very successful at reminding everyone what the big idea of God’s love is all about.

    Rev. Maurice Chase showed Los Angeles an enlightened path respectful and loving to those on the skids. Perhaps someone can continue the mission.

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