Sumner in Winter


October 17, 1994

When Sumner Redstone appeared on the cover of The Forbes 400 issue in October 1994, his business was booming: Viacom, the media company he took over in 1987, had propelled him to No. 16 on the list with a $4 billion fortune (equal to $8 billion today), 300 spots higher than when he appeared on the inaugural ranking in 1982. The mogul was in his prime—at 71. “What has age got to do with vision, activity, achievemen­t?” he told Forbes. “Age is only biological.” With a routine that involved running three miles a day and eating Irish oatmeal for lunch—plus orchestrat­ing deals like Viacom’s recent $7.4 billion merger with Blockbuste­r ($15 billion today)—Redstone showed no signs of slowing down. “I like what I’m doing and I want to stay around as long as I can,” he said. And he did: Redstone died in 2020, age 97, just four years into retirement.

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