Media titan Sumner Redstone dies at 97

Media titan Sumner Redstone dies at 97
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Media titan Sumner Redstone has died at the age of 97, his private holding company, National Amusements, announced on Wednesday morning.

"My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy," Shari Redstone, who is Sumner Redstone's daughter and the chairwoman of ViacomCBS, said in a statement. "Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always."

Sumner Redstone's wealth was estimated to be $3.9 billion. The one-time attorney left the legal industry in 1954 to work for his father, who saved up enough money to open a drive-in movie theater. The Redstones would eventually open 11 theaters that led to Sumner Redstone's foray into the film and television business.


At his apex, he controlled CBS, Paramount's film and television studios, publishing giant Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster video and several popular cable channels through Viacom, including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. A $30 billion merger between CBS and Viacom closed late last year. The two companies had previously been one entity before splitting in 2006.

"Success is not built on success. It's built on failure. It's built on frustration." Sumner Redstone once said regarding his empire. "Sometimes it's built on catastrophe."

He also told then-CNN host Larry King in 2009 that he had "no intention of ever retiring, or of dying." 

"Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio," ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

"He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company," Bakish added. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today."