Here is a look at the life of Sumner Redstone, owner of National Amusements, Inc., the parent company of Viacom, Inc., and CBS Corp.
Birth date: May 27, 1923
Birth place: Boston, Massachusetts
Birth name: Sumner Murray Rothstein
Father: Michael Redstone, businessman
Mother: Belle (Ostrovsky) Redstone
Marriages: Paula (Fortunato) Redstone (April 6, 2003-January 2009, divorced); Phyllis (Raphael) Redstone (July 6, 1947-July 26, 2002, divorced)
Children: with Phyllis Redstone: Shari Ellin and Brent
Education: Harvard University, B.A., 1944; Harvard University, LL.B, 1947
Military service: US Army, 1943-1945, First Lieutenant
His father changed the family name from Rothstein to Redstone in 1940.
While a student at Harvard, Redstone was recruited for a US Army intelligence unit that worked on cracking Japanese military codes. He received two military commendations for his service.
One of his first jobs out of law school was special assistant to US Attorney General Tom Clark.
Coined the term “multiplexes.”
He donates to causes fighting poverty and disease through the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation.
1954 – Joins the family business, Northeast Theater Corporation, later renamed National Amusements, a theater chain.
1967 – Becomes chief executive officer of National Amusements, Inc.
March 29, 1979 – Suffers third-degree burns over 40% of his body in a hotel fire in Boston. He survives by climbing out a window on to a ledge and hanging on until firefighters rescue him.
1987 – Redstone takes over Viacom Pictures and becomes chairman of the board.
February 15, 1994 – Redstone wins in a bidding war with QVC Network for Paramount Communications, parent company of Paramount Studios.
January 17, 1996 – Becomes chief executive officer of Viacom, Inc.
May 2000 – Viacom purchases CBS Corporation, the parent company of CBS, in the the largest media merger of the time, valued at $36 billion.
2001 – Publishes “A Passion to Win,” with Peter Knobler.
January 2006 – CBS Corporation and Viacom, Inc., are divided into separate companies. Redstone becomes chairman of the board for both, but separate chief executive officers are appointed.
February 2006 – Brent Redstone sues his father, accusing him of favoring daughter Shari Redstone in business matters. Redstone eventually buys out his son’s stake in National Amusements, Inc., as part of a settlement.
August 22, 2006 – Announces Paramount will end its relationship with Tom Cruise due to the actor’s off-screen behavior.
March 30, 2012 – Receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
September 2012 – Gives Boston University $18 million for the expansion of the law school.
May 2014 – Endows a professorship in narrative studies with $2.5 million at Boston University’s College of Communication.
February 3, 2016 – Steps down as executive chairman of CBS, and is replaced by Les Moonves, the network’s chief executive.
February 4, 2016 – Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is named as Redstone’s replacement as executive chairman of Viacom.
March 2016 – Forbes lists Redstone, who has a net worth of $4.5 billion, as number 324 on its annual list of “The World’s Billionaires.”
May 6, 2016 – A trial to decide Redstone’s mental competency opens in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Manuela Herzer, his ex-girlfriend, claims he was not of sound mind when he booted her from his mansion and signed an order revoking her authority over his healthcare decisions.
May 9, 2016 – The challenge to Redstone’s mental competency is dismissed by Los Angeles judge David J. Cowan. Redstone tells the judge that he wants his daughter Shari Redstone as his healthcare advocate.
October 25, 2016 – Redstone sues former girlfriends Herzer and Sydney Holland and others in Los Angeles Superior Court. Charges include elder financial abuse, fraud, distress and not acting in his best interest.
March 2017 – Forbes lists Redstone, who has a net worth of $5.4 billion, as number 288 on its annual list of “The World’s Billionaires.”