30 Unknown Facts About The Former CBS Chairman Sumner Redstone


Sumner Murray Rothstein, famous as Sumner Murray Redstone, an American businessman and media magnate, was formerly the executive chairman of both CBS and Viacom. Here are some really surprising facts about him:

  1. Redstone is the Chairman of the board of the National Amusement theatre chain and majority stake holder of CBS Corporation and Viacom.
  2. He was born Sumner Murray Rothstein on May 27, 1923 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S to Belle and Michael Rothstein, of Jewish faith.
  3. In 1940, on his insistence, his father changed the family surname name from Rothstein to Redstone. The Rothstein is the German-Jewish translation of Red stone.
  4. He did his schooling at Boston Latin School and graduated with Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1944. Later in 1947 he received his law degree from Harvard Law School.
  5. As a student at Harvard, he was recruited by the United States Army Intelligence unit that cracked Japanese military codes. He received two commendations for his service.
  6. He started his law practice as special assistant to U.S Attorney General Tom C. Clark. Later he worked for the ‘U.S Department of Justice Tax Division,’ Washington, D.C and San Francisco, before starting his own practice.
  7. In 1954, he joined the ‘National Amusements’ owned by his father and went on to become its C.E.O in 1967. In 1964 started building multi-screen theatres, originally called ‘twin-theatres.’
  8. With his belief ‘Content is King’, rather than going for distribution mechanism, he started to invest in Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Orion Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The decision turned out to be a wise move with huge return in 1980s.
  9. In 1979, he suffered severe burns in a fire accident at Boston’s Copley Plaza hotel, which required five operations which amounted to sixty hours of operations. He survived third degree burn with his fierce determination and will power.
  10. He sued the Copley Plaza Hotel for their negligence and donated the settlement of several million dollars, to the Burn Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  11. In March 1987, Redstone acquired ‘Viacom International’ after hectic four months battle, the deal for $ 3.23 billion was signed after all-night board meeting. The Viacom owns five television and eight radio stations and rights to huge library of television programs.
  12. In 1993, he acquired Paramount Communication, which includes Paramount Pictures for almost $4 billion.
  13. Redstone made his expenditure on Paramount Communication into a profit generating investment for next ten years. Redstone went on to produce film such as, Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Braveheart, and Forrest Gump and Mission Impossible series of pictures. All these films are critically acclaimed and box-office success.
  14. In 2005, Paramount forged partnership with top film maker including Michael Bay, J.J. Abraham and Martin Scorsese and in 2007 launched its own worldwide distribution with, Paramount Pictures International.
  15. Redstone then acquired Blockbuster Entertainment, which includes Aaron Spelling’s production company and library of films. Later it has been spun off into independent entity.
  16. The acquisition of CBS Corporation in 2000 was the most important acquisition. After the merger Viacom has some of the diversified business of broadcast network, cable television network, pay television, radio, outdoor advertising, motion pictures and television productions.
  17. In 2004, he endorsed U.S President George W. Bush for re-election, for simple reason, Republican values are what US companies need and what is good for Viacom.
  18. In January 2006, CBS Corporation and Viacom were divided into separate companies, with Redstone controlling as Chairman of the board for both.
  19. On February 01, 2006, Dream Works SKG was merged with Paramount for an estimated $1.6 billion.
  20. On August 22, 2006, Redstone as a Viacom chairman announced through ‘Wall Street Journal’ the termination of development deal with Tom Cruise after 14 years, due to underperformance. This announcement surprised many for Cruise was a top B.O draw and Paramount cash cow.
  21. On March 2010, he publically confirmed his intention of leaving his stocks for his five grandchildren, Brandon Korff, Kimberlee Korff, Tyler Korff, Keryn Redstone and Lauren Redstone.
  22. In June 2010, He was caught on tape as reported by Daily Beast’s Peter Lauria, forcing MTV to run a reality show about a sexy but unknown girl band called the Electric Barbarellas. He offered the reporter money and protection to give-up his source.
  23. On March 30, 2012, he was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, California.
  24. Redstone married Phyllis Gloria Raphael in 1947 and divorced in 1999. He was sued by his former wife with $3 billion for adultery and cruelty. They had two children, Brent and Shari Redstone.
  25. He married again in April 2003 to Paula Fortunato, a school teacher 39 years younger. They separated on October 17, 2008.
  26. He owns a house in the Beverly Park area of Beverly Hills, California, which he purchased in 2002 for $14,500,000.
  27. He has contributed over $150 million to various philanthropic causes. He has contributed to research and patient care, Global Poverty Project, Cambodian Children’s Fund and funds project in 21 countries helping orphans and needy children.
  28. Redstone published his autobiography ‘A Passion to Win’ in 2001 by Viacom’s Simon & Schuster subsidiary.
  29. Redstone trust made it clear that his daughter Shari Redstone, the President of National Amusement will assume his role upon his death.
  30. In February 2016, at age 92, Redstone relinquished his chairmanship of CBS and Viacom, after court-ordered examination. In May that year a lawsuit was dismissed over his mental incompetency, but there is no doubt he suffers from moderate dementia.
  31. Sumner Redstone Net Worth: $5.1 Billion

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