John W. Kluge

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Biographical Details

John W. Kluge, (died in 2010) "was the creator of Metromedia, the nation’s first major independent broadcasting entity, a conglomerate that grew to include seven television stations, 14 radio stations, outdoor advertising, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Ice Capades, radio paging and mobile telephones...

"In 1986, Forbes magazine listed Mr. Kluge as the second-richest man in America (after Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart Stores). By this year, after a bankruptcy of the Bennigan’s and Steak and Ale restaurant chains in 2008, Mr. Kluge had dropped to 109th on the Forbes list with a fortune of $6.5 billion.

"Mr. Kluge savored the chance to move into new areas of high technology. ...

"Not everything he touched turned to gold. In 1965 he bought Diplomat magazine in Washington and tried to change it from a society sheet into a serious publication of world affairs. “I lost a million dollars before I ever knew I lost it,” he said.

"Three years later he negotiated a proposed $300 million merger of Metromedia with Transamerica only to join in calling off the deal “by mutual consent” in a two-paragraph statement months later, saying a merger would “adversely effect” the growth plans of both companies." [1]

"Kluge was known as a generous donor to philanthropic causes, including the restoration of Ellis Island and construction of a wing at the University of Virginia children's hospital. He served on the boards of numerous charitable groups as well as Occidental Petroleum, Orion Pictures and other corporations." [2]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. John W. Kluge, Founder of Metromedia, Dies at 95, NYT, accessed January 17, 2011.
  2. Media magnate John Kluge dies at 95,, accessed January 17, 2011.