Ted Turner Biography

(Founder of the Cable News Network)

Birthday: November 19, 1938 (Scorpio)

Born In: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III is a media tycoon and the founder of the first ever 24-hour cable news network, CNN. He also has the credit of founding the independent television station WTBS which originated the concept of superstation in cable television. The successful businessman had made an early entry into the world of business. The son of a father who owned an advertising company, he started helping in his father’s business from a young age. Although his father was a successful businessman who provided well for his family, he suffered from bipolar disorder and was known to have extreme mood swings. In spite of being financially secure, young Ted had a difficult life. His father was physically abusive and ended up committing suicide when Ted was 24. After his father’s death he took over the business and drowned himself in work to cope with his grief. His efforts paid off and soon the business started earning huge profits. He went on to acquire several other businesses and started the Turner Broadcasting System. He soon founded CNN, the first all-news television channel in the United States. The business mogul is also well-known for his philanthropic activities and contributed $ 1 billion to the United Nations which was used to create the United Nations Foundation.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Robert Edward Turner III

Age: 85 Years, 85 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Jane Fonda (m. 1991–2001), Jane Shirley Smith (m. 1965–1988), Julia Gale Nye (m. 1960–1964)

father: Robert Edward Turner II

mother: Florence turner

children: Jennie Turner, Rhett Turner

American Men Brown University

U.S. State: Ohio

City: Cincinnati, Ohio

More Facts

education: Brown University

awards: - Peabody Award
- Golden CableACE
- PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Television

Childhood & Early Life
He was the eldest son of Robert Edward Turner Jr. and Florence. His father was a successful businessman who owned Turner Advertising. In spite of being a good provider, Ted had a difficult childhood. Robert suffered from bipolar disorder and had extreme mood swings. He used to physically abuse Ted.
His father went to serve in the Navy when World War II broke out and took his wife and daughter with him, leaving behind Ted. The young boy felt abandoned.
He was sent to a boarding school at Cincinnati while his family was away. After returning from the war his father enrolled him at the Georgia Military Academy.
He enrolled in Brown University in 1956 where his major was economics. However, he was expelled from the university for having a woman in his dormitory room.
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He joined his father’s business after being thrown out of the university. His father made him the assistant manager of Turner Advertising’s Atlanta branch. His company had taken huge debts and the pressure of it affected his father’s health.
Suffering from bipolar disorder and unable to cope with the financial burdens, his father committed suicide in 1963 leaving Ted, just 24, as in charge of the indebted company.
Ted threw himself in the work partly to deal with his grief and partly because of his ambitions. Soon the company paid off its debts and started registering good profits. By the late 1960s his company had grown a lot.
After dealing in radio stations, he expanded into television and purchased a failing UHF station in Atlanta. He renamed his company to Turner Communications and renamed the station to WTCG. Initially he ran old movies and cartoons on the station.
By the mid 1970s FCC regulations started permitting cable television services to transmit programming from remote stations. In 1976, the WTCG-TV Superstation began to broadcast old movies, comedy reruns, cartoons and sports specials nationwide to subscribers. The viewership of his channel grew manifold and soon he had 2 million subscribers and his net worth reached $100 million.
By the late 1970s, he renamed his company Turner Broadcasting System and WTCG as WTBS. By now he also owned the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks in order to provide programming for WTBS.
He undertook his most ambitious venture in 1980. He launched a 24-hour all-news channel. At that time this move was criticized by media professionals, however he went ahead with the Cable News Network (CNN). The network started earning huge profits within five years and was expanded to include CNN Radio and CNN International.
Over the 1980s and 1990s he established several other ventures, notably, Turner Entertainment Co. in 1986, Turner Network Television (TNT) in 1988, Cartoon Network in 1992 and Turner Classic Movies in 1994.
A philanthropist, he founded the Better World Society for supporting nuclear disarmament in 1985 and Turner Foundation in 1990 for activities in environment. He also plays an active role in the United Nations Association.
Major Works
He is the founder of the 24-hour news channel CNN, the first all-news television channel in the United States. The channel has numerous affiliates and is available in over 100 million U.S. households.
He is a philanthropist who plays an active role in the United Nations Association. He donated $1 billion to the United Nations for creating the United Nations Foundation and serves on its board of directors.
Awards & Achievements
He received the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism which is given to individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service to humanity.
The Franklin Institute awarded him the Bower Award for Business Leadership in 2006.
Personal Life & Legacy
He was married to Judy Nye from 1960 to 1964. His second marriage was to Jane Shirley Smith whom he wed in 1965 and divorced in 1988. He married actress Jane Fonda in 1991. This marriage ended in 2001. He has five children.
This business magnate is also an accomplished sailor and an inductee of National Sailing Hall of Fame.

See the events in life of Ted Turner in Chronological Order

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