We at AEE have learned that Billionaire Media Mogul Sumner Redstone passed away on Tuesday August 11th, at the age of 97. The well-known media titan and billionaire was the chairman of Viacom and National Amusements. Redstone was frequently in the headlines for his deal-making and his turbulent personal life.
At Redstone’s peak, his empire included CBS and Viacom (VIACA), corporations. These corporations were the parent company of a host of subsidiaries that included mega film company Paramount Pictures and other famous television networks such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Spike TV.
Redstone’s daughter spoke about her late father:
“My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy,” she released this statement on Wednesday. “ Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”
News of Redstone’s passing was officially announced by a family spokesperson on Wednesday.
Born in New England, Redstone attended Harvard and worked during World War II for a military intelligence unit assigned to decipher wartime codes.
His father operated a chain of movie theaters under the National Amusements Company. Redstone joined National Amusements in 1954 and became the CEO in 1967. He is credited with coining the term “multiplex.”
Starting in the 1980’s, knowing the movie-exhibition buisness was maturing, Redstone used his movie theater fortune to steadily amass media properties that were marquee. In 1987 he took over Viacom Pictures and became the chairman of the board. Seven years later he won the bidding war for Paramount Communications, the parent company of the Paramount movie studio.
Redstone as CEO of Viacom then bought CBS for 36 billion dollars in 2000. At the time this was the biggest media merger. Redstone was first married to Phyllis Raphael for more than 50 years before divorcing her in 1999. He wedded Paula Fortunato, a teacher 40 years younger than him. Three years later the marriage of five years ended in divorce in 2008.
Redstone received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 2012. He also made a big contribution that same year to Boston University by donating 18 million for expansion of the their law school.
We at AEE would like to extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Redstone.