CITIZEN TURNER: The Wild Rise of an American Tycoon by Robert & Gerald Jay Goldberg Goldberg

CITIZEN TURNER: The Wild Rise of an American Tycoon

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Having predicted that high-profile news readers were an endangered species in Anchors (1990), the Goldbergs follow up with a dirt-dishing biography of the madcap media mogul who has done as much as anyone to imperil network television. While they steer clear of value judgments on whether Robert Edward (""Ted"") Turner III has been a force for good or ill, the authors make a fine job of recounting how he built a transnational Atlanta-based empire that encompasses a half-dozen TV networks (including CNN), the MGM film library, pro sports franchises, movie studios, satellite facilities, and allied show-biz assets. Wall Street Journal correspondent Robert Goldberg and father Gerald (an emeritus professor of English at UCLA) also offer credible perspectives on the pivotal role a domineering, alcoholic parent played in the development of their subject's career and character. By their authoritative anecdotal account, Turner (b. 1938) has been a world-class philanderer, toper, and yachtsman as well as entrepreneur. Even so, the thrice-married (most recently to Jane Fonda) Turner has done more than well for himself. Among other unlikely accomplishments, he created an immensely influential (and now profitable) infotainment enterprise from the regional billboard-advertising firm he inherited after his father's suicide. An ultracompetitive operator, ""Terrible Ted"" (as he's known to friend and foe alike) relishes going against the grain of conventional wisdom in the cable-television industry and elsewhere. Nor does the so-called Mouth of the South shy from broadcasting either his idiosyncratic opinions or bedroom and boardroom conquests. Along his wayward ascent, however, Turner acquired a social conscience; at any rate, the erstwhile archconservative now devotes much of considerable energy to environmental causes and international peace. A gossipy, human-scale rundown on an American original whose larger-than-life ambitions and appetites have yet to be sated.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1995
Page count: 672pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace