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Chris Gardner is the founder of the famous brokerage enterprise, ‘Gardner Rich & Co.’. Read on for detailed information about his childhood, profile, career, net worth and timeline

Quick Facts
Also Known As
Christopher Gardner, Christopher P. Gardner, Christopher Paul Gardner, Christopher Paul
Famous as
Entrepreneur
Nationality
Born on
09 February 1954 AD
Birthday
Age
63 Years
Sun Sign
Aquarius    Aquarius Men
Born in
Milwaukee
Grouping of People
Philanthropists
father
Thomas Turner
mother
Bettye Jean Triplett
siblings
Sharon Triplett, Kimberly Triplett
Spouses/Partners
Sherry Dyson, Jackie Medina
children
Christopher Jarret Medina Gardner, Jacintha Darlene Gardner
Founder/Co-Founder
Gardner Rich & Co
Net worth
$60 Million
Humanitarian Work
Associated with 'Glide Memorial United Methodist Church' and 'National Fatherhood Initiative'
awards
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Biography / Auto-biography
Chris Gardner
Image Credit http://www.brianandfeliciawhite.com/chris-gardner-and-the-pursuit-of-happiness/

Amongst the many rags-to-riches tales we know, the life-story Chris Gardner is considered one of the most famous of all. The epitome of a humble beginning, this man lacked everything he needed to survive, in his youth. He was separated from his mother by a violent and abusive stepfather, and was brought up in several foster homes. Soon he decided to join the Navy, serving in the US Corps for four years. After retirement, the war veteran took up the job of a laboratory research assistant, with surgeon Robert Ellis showing confidence in his promising medical career. However, the job was low-paying, and with a family to fend for, the young man had to abandon all dreams of becoming a doctor. He sold medical equipment for some time, never really satisfied with what he did. Soon, the hunger for doing something more rewarding grew, and he decided to become a stockbroker. After a few attempts at various training programs offered by different firms, he was soon accepted as a trainee at the 'Dean Witter Reynolds'. His dedication paid off, and soon he was able to establish his own firm, 'Gardner Rich & Co.', which might have started small, but ended up shooting Chris to fame. Read on to know more about his life and works

Childhood & Early Life
  • Chris was born to Bettye Jean Gardner and Thomas Turner on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has a stepsister, Ophelia, from his mother's earlier marriage, and two half-siblings, Kimberly and Sharon, from Bettye's third husband, Freddie Triplett.
  • The young children had a harsh childhood, with instances of separation from their mother, when Bettye was falsely accused of crimes by the violent Triplett. However, it was Chris' mother who was his inspiration behind his success, motivating him to be independent and confident, in spite of all troubles.
  • During the late 1960s, Gardner was influenced by political figures like Eldridge Cleaver, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X.
Career
  • On finishing school, Gardner took his Uncle Henry's advice and joined the United States Navy, serving at North Carolina's 'Camp Lejeune', for a term of four years.
  • It was here that he met Robert Ellis, a renowned heart surgeon, who suggested that Chris join the research team at San Francisco's 'University of California Medical Center and Veterans Administration Hospital'. In 1974, the young man quit the Navy, and took up the position of a clinical research assistant in the hospital.
  • Within a span of two years, Gardner had proved that he was ready for taking up a bigger position, and in 1976, he became the in-charge for a laboratory, along with writing medical articles with Ellis. This job however did not pay well enough, and with a family to look after, he was forced to start working as a salesman for medical equipment.
  • On one occasion, he saw a well-dressed man driving a Ferrari, and was curious to know what career he pursued. When Gardner came to know that the man, Bob Bridges, was a stockbroker, he was inspired to do the same job. Bridges trained him and also opened up a world of opportunities for the young salesman.
  • He tried his luck at numerous stockbroker training firms 'Dean Witter Reynolds', 'Paine Webber', 'Smith Barney', 'Merrill Lynch', and 'E.F. Hutton'. He got into 'Hutton', and stopped working as a salesman in order to pursue his training as a stockbroker. However, by the time he joined, his recruiter had quit and Gardner was back to square one.
  • Soon, he was hired by the firm 'Dean Witter Reynolds' as a trainee, with no salary till he got a confirmed job. The only means he survived by, was the meagre amount of money he earned from the sale of medical equipment.
  • The stockbroker trainee put in a lot of dedication into his training, making approximately 200 calls each day, staying back in office every day. In 1982, he was absorbed as a full-time employee after clearing his 'Series 7' test. Subsequently, San Francisco-based 'Bear Stearns & Company' recruited Chris as a stockbroker.
  • In 1987, the skilled stockbroker decided to start his own business venture, and founded the 'Gardner Rich & Co', in Chicago, Illinois. Being a small start-up company, he worked out of his tiny apartment at the 'Presidential Towers', with a paltry investment of $10,000.
  • The business was a success, with a majority of the stakes being held by Chris himself. In 2006, he sold his 'Gardner Rich' stakes for several million dollars, and went on to establish the large firm, 'Christopher Gardner International Holdings', with its branches in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.
  • Presently, he is planning to start a business with South African investors, with the aim of creating significant employment opportunities.
Major Works
  • This renowned stockbroker-entrepreneur is known for his firm, 'Gardner Rich & Co', which started out small, but grew into a business worth millions of dollars. The name “Rich” was chosen because the proprietor of the company highly admired the famous businessman, Marc Rich.
Awards & Achievements
  • Gardner has been honoured with several awards since 2002, including the 'Father of the Year Award', '25th Annual Humanitarian Award' as well as 'Friends of Africa Award'.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Chris Gardner got married to a mathematics expert, Sherry Dyson, on June 18, 1977. However, the marriage proved to be tumultuous, especially after the young man decided he could not pursue a medical career.
  • While still married, he had an affair with a young girl named Jackie, who got pregnant within a few months. He soon moved in with Jackie after leaving his wife, and was blessed with a baby boy, Christopher Jarrett Medina Gardner Jr. in 1981. He also has a daughter, Jacintha, who was born four years later.
  • Soon, Chris' relationship with Jackie too fell apart, and she accused him of having physically tortured her. Though, the entrepreneur denies the allegations, he did have to face imprisonment, and separation from his son for a few months.
  • Within four months, Jackie brought back Christopher Jr. and the aspiring stockbroker took complete responsibility of the child despite all obstacles, including penury, lack of food and homelessness.
  • Having suffered poverty and abuse as a child, this famous businessman has taken it upon himself to provide homes and a decent standard of living to the underprivileged. He financially aids organizations like 'Glide Memorial United Methodist Church' who provide accommodation to the homeless.
  • Being a dedicated father, he also is a member of the Board of Directors of the NGOs 'National Fatherhood Initiative', and 'National Education Foundation'.
  • The most famous film depiction of Gardner's life and struggles is the 2006 Will Smith-starrer ' The Pursuit of Happyness', based on his son's book of the same name. The movie was heart-touching and received several 'Academy Award' nominations.
  • He appeared in a documentary titled 'Come on Down: Searching for the American Dream', co-starring TV anchor, Bob Barker, and journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. He also had a guest role in the 2008 comedy, 'The Promotion', starring Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly.
Net Worth
  • This famous stockbroker has an estimated net worth of 60 million dollars, having earned most of his wealth from the sale of stakes belonging to the 'Gardner Rich & Co.'.
Trivia
  • This American entrepreneur, loves playing the trumpet, and one of his most favourite musicians is Miles Davis.

See the events in life of Chris Gardner in Chronological Order

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