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Walter Annenberg

Died when: 94 years 202 days
Star Sign: Pisces

 

Walter Annenberg Walter Hubert Annenberg (March 13, 1908 – October 1, 2002) was an American businessman, investor, philanthropist, and diplomat. Annenberg owned and operated Triangle Publications, which included ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer, TV Guide, the Daily Racing Form, Fortune, A+ Magazine, Essence, Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Seventeen magazine. He was appointed by President Richard Nixon as United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where he served from 1969 to 1974. Annenberg was born in Milwaukee and raised in New York. He attended the Wharton School, the business school at the University of Pennsylvania, though he dropped out to pursue stock investing. His father, Moses Annenberg, was convicted of tax evasion and incarcerated for two years. During that time, and following his father's death in 1942, Annenberg took control of the Inquirer, expanding its influence and his own. He built up his family's magazine business with great success, extending it into parts of the media industry such as radio and television. During his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he developed a close friendship with Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. After initial perceived missteps, he came to be admired for his dedicated work ethic, his wife's lavish entertaining, and personal gifts to support patriotic British causes, such as the restoration of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. He also paid for the renovation of Winfield House, the American ambassador's residence. In his later years, Annenberg became one of the most prominent philanthropists in the United States. He established the Annenberg Foundation in 1988 and personally gave over $2 billion to educational establishments and art galleries, including both the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. At Sunnylands, his 220-acre estate near Palm Springs, California, he entertained royalty, presidents and other celebrities; it is now a museum and retreat center dedicated to furthering the Annenbergs' legacies.
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