Melvin Leonard Gold, one of the nation's foremost actuaries, was born 1929 in Philadelphia. Mel earned a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, and although his studies were interrupted for U.S. Navy service during World War II, he graduated in 1947 with a bachelor's in mathematics. He became an actuary at The Prudential in Newark and passed the stringent actuarial exams on the first try. After marrying Shifra "Sherry" Gerber, they moved to Israel, where Mel worked for Migdal Insurance.
When they returned to the States, they settled in West Orange, N.J., and he later founded Melvin L. Gold & Associates, a leading actuarial consultancy. He was instrumental in the growth of several insurance companies, most notably Presidential Life, and served on the board for years.