Who is Barry Diller?
Barry Charles Diller is an American business mogul who currently serves as the chairman as well as senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia Inc. He is also a co-founder of the Fox TV network. Born in San Francisco, California, he studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, for one term before he dropped out and started working at the William Morris Agency, a talent agency based in Hollywood. He was eventually promoted to the rank of vice president. Considered a pioneer in the television industry, he popularized the concepts of TV movies and TV miniseries to a great extent. Throughout the years, he not only became involved with several media companies but also established a media empire of his own, which also includes a few cable channels and internet companies. After joining the Twentieth Century Fox, he co-created the Fox Television network. In the 1980s, the television audience was comprised mostly of females and Diller helped to attract a more diverse audience, including young males, with shows like ‘Married with Children’ and ‘The Simpsons’. Other than business, Diller is also known for his philanthropic activities. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is an outspoken critic of the US President Donald Trump.
Childhood & Early Life
Barry Charles Diller was born to a Jewish family in San Francisco, California on 2nd February 1942. His parents were Reva and Michael Diller.
He studied at the Beverley High School though he hardly had any interest in academics. Later he joined the University of California but dropped out after just one semester.
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Barry Diller started his career with a job in the William Morris Agency, a Hollywood based talent agency, where he initially worked as an assistant. Soon, he became a full-fledged talent agent and was also put in charge of broadcasting rights to feature films. He was eventually promoted to the rank of vice president of the organization. During this time, he pioneered and popularized the concepts of TV movies and TV miniseries.
After a successful career at the William Morris Agency, he joined Paramount Pictures Corporation, one of the best known Hollywood film studios. He served as the chairman and chief executive officer for ten years. Under him, the studio produced many hit TV programs as well as movies, such as ‘Taxi’ (1978), ‘Grease’ (1978), ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (1981), ‘Cheers’ (1982), and ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ (1984).
From October 1984, he served as the Chairman and CEO of Fox Inc. which was the parent company of Fox Network and 20th Century Fox. He was also a co-founder of the Fox Network and popularized several TV shows. In 1992, he quit the company and purchased a stake in QVC teleshopping network for $25 million. Though he also made bids to purchase Paramount Communications as well as CBS, he lost. In 1995, he resigned from QVC as well.
Slowly, Barry Diller started building a media empire of his own. He became chairman of the Home Shopping Network and also acquired the USA Network and the Sci-Fi channel. He became a part owner of Ticketmaster, and merged its online arm with Citysearch, which was a provider of local online city guides. This transformed Citysearch into an e-commerce venture named Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch which went public in 1999. In addition to these ventures, he also acquired the assets of Silver King Broadcasting.
In the 2000s, he became the Chairman of Expedia, as well as the Chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp. IAC is a commerce conglomerate and the parent of several companies such as homeadvisor.com, Vimeo.com, and Ask.com. Diller held the position of CEO of IAC/Interactive Corp till December 2010. Since 2002, he has also been on the board of Coca Cola.
The Killer Dillers
Barry Diller mentored several people who later became big-time media executives, which earned them the name of ‘The Killer Dillers’ from the media. One such “Killer Diller” is Michael Eisner, initially the President of Paramount Pictures who later became Chairman as well as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
He had also mentored Dawn Steel, who worked under him at Paramount. As the eventual head of Columbia Pictures, she became one of the first women to run a major movie studio.
Other “Killer Dillers” include Jeffrey Katzenberg, former head of Walt Disney studios and head of DreamWorks Animation, and Don Simpson, who runs a production company.
Awards & Achievements
Barry Diller won an honorary award from the Directors Guild of America in 1990.
Barry Diller married Diane von Furstenberg in 2001. She is the former wife of Prince Egon von Furstenberg of Germany, and the mother of Prince Alexander von Furstenberg and Princess Tatiana von Furstenberg.
He is a member of the Democratic Party and is known to be an outspoken critic of the US President Donald Trump.
Barry Diller is known for his philanthropic activities as well. Along with his wife, Diller formed the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation and donated an amount of $20 million to support the completion of a park project in Manhattan.
He has donated $30 million to the Hollywood Fund which is for providing health and social care to people who have retired from the world of film and television.
Diller and his wife have also committed to donate an amount of $113 million for a floating park and performance space on a pier in the Hudson River.