Walter Annenberg

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Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American publisher, philanthropist, and diplomat.

Contents

Early life

Walter Annenberg was born to a Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 13, 1908. He was the son of Sarah and Moses "Moe" Annenberg, who published The Daily Racing Form and purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1936.[1] The Annenberg family moved to Long Island, New York in 1920,[2] and Walter attended high school at the Peddie School in Hightstown, New Jersey, graduating in 1927.[2] He went on to college at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, not graduating. While in college he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau, a traditionally Jewish fraternity.[3]

Annenberg was greatly affected by tax evasion charges and other scandals that involved his father in the 1930s. A significant part of his adult life was dedicated to rehabilitating the family's name, through philanthropy and public service.

Business life

In 1942, after his father's death, Annenberg took over the family businesses, making successes out of some that had been failing. He bought additional print media as well as radio and television stations, resulting in great success. One of his most prominent successes was the creation of TV Guide in 1952, which he started against the advice of his financial advisers. He also created Seventeen magazine. During the 1970's TV Guide was making between $600,000 - $1,000,000 profit per week.

While Annenberg ran his publishing empire as a business, he was not afraid to use it for his own ends. One of his publications, The Philadelphia Inquirer, was influential in ridding Philadelphia of its largely corrupt city government in 1949. It attacked McCarthyism in the 1950s[4], and campaigned for the Marshall Plan following World War II.[5]

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