Sumner Murray Redstone, the multi-billionaire, is an American entrepreneur and media magnate. He is the chairman of the board and the majority owner of the National Amusement theater chain. His father, Michael Rothstein established the chain of three drive-in theaters, the National Amusements, in 1936. Through this theater chain, he is the controlling stakeholder of the CBS group and the Viacom.
Early Life and Background
Sumner was born on 27th May, in 1923, in Boston, Massachusetts. After receiving his high school education from the elite Boston Latin School, he enrolled in Harvard College and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in three consecutive years. During his days of graduation, World War II was going on. The duration of the college years were increased because the students had to serve in the military. Sumner served in the army to meet up the requirements of his nation. He was garnered with the responsibilities of decoding Japanese messages.
After finishing up the military service, he stayed back in Washington and studied at Georgetown University Law School. After a while he was transferred to Harvard Law College. In 1947, He earned his LLB degree from Harvard law College.
Parents: Redstone belongs to a Jewish family which is from Boston, Massachusetts. His father Michael Rothstein was the owner of the Boston branch of the Latin Quarter Nightclub and the Northeast Theater Corporation, situated in Dedham, Massachusetts. His mother Belle (née Ostrovsky) was a housewife.
Siblings: He had a younger brother named Edward Redstone who died at the age of 83. In 1972, Edward sued his brother and father blaming them for wrongdoing and mismanagement of the business of National Amusements. Later, following the legal instructions, Edward left the business followed by a settlement deal. The deal bought out two thirds of the share of Edward for a promissory note worth of $5 million. The remaining parts of the stakes were divided between Edward’s two children.
Marriage and Children
Sumner married Phyllis Gloria Raphael in 1947. Phyllis bore Sumner a daughter, Shari Redstone and a son, Brent Redstone. The couple took divorce in 1999. Three years down the line, in 2001, Redstone married Paula Fortunato but they got separated just after seven years.
Redstone started his career in San Francisco, while working for the U.S department of Justice. After quitting the job, he tried his hands at private practice. Eventually he joined his father’s business, the National Amusements and turned the company into a major motion picture exhibitor in New England. Looking forward to start a new venture, Redstone chose Viacom International. He used to purchase stock in from this company as an investment. In 1987, he got the voting control of Viacom. He contributed largely to transform this company into one of the major firms of modern media.
Later, in 1993, he added the Paramount Communications, the parent of Paramount Pictures, to his business empire. In addition to that, Redstone also purchased the Blockbuster Entertainment.
Mel Karmazin, the COO and the former president of CBS, approached Redstone with a proposal of merging Viacom and CBS. Redstone readily accepted and the merger came into action in 2000. Five years down the line, in 2005, the split between Viacom and CBS left Redstone in the position of the chairman of both the companies. In 2016, he resigned both chairmanships. The estimated net worth of Sumner Redstone stands for 5.5 billion USD.