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Kirk Kerkorian
President and CEO of Tracinda Corp.
110 - PEOPLE SECTION - SMART90.com/people

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2010/ImagesPersonOfTheWeek/200707JulyCovKirk300w.jpg1. Kirk Kerkorian -.just turning, 90, is president and chief executive officer of Tracinda Corp., a private holding company based in Beverly Hills, Calif.
••• His corporation's name is an amalgam of the names of his two daughers, Tracey and Linda.
••• He was born in 1917 in Fresno, Calif., to Armenian immigrants. He dropped out of school in eighth grade and became a skilled amateur boxer, fighting under the name of "Rifle Right Kerkorian."
••• During World War II, he piloted de Havilland Mossquito airplanes over the north Atlantic as part of the Royal Air Force.
••• Learning from his mentor, Howard Hughes, he wanted to own an airline. Not only did this become a reality, he followed Hughes to Las Vegas and helped shape the city into what it is today.
••• Like Howard Hughes, who once owned RKO, Kirk bought MGM movie studios and film library, in which he sold, bought back and resold it again several time during a 30 year period. SEE the TIMELINE - 1980s. The International Hotel in Las Vegas, which once was the largest in the world. -- In 1990, the MGM studio was purchased by Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, but Parretti defaulted on the loans he'd used to buy the studio and sold the studio back to Kerkorian in 1996.
••• In 2005 Kerkorian sold MGM once more to a consortium led by Sony. He retains a 55% stake in MGM Mirage.
2010/ImagesCSnews/MGMJockeyProj07Update108w.jpg••• On 22 November 2006 Kerkorian's Tracinda investment corporation offered to buy 15 million shares of MGM Mirage to increase his stake in the gambling giant to 61.7% from 56.3%, if approved.[6]. SEE STORY Kerkorian Backs out JOCKEY CLUB / BELAGIO CITY WALK PROJECT
••• General Motors / Kerkorian once held 9.9 percent of G.M. shares. According to press accounts from June 30, 2006, Kerkorian has suggested that Renault acquire a 20 percent stake in GM to rescue GM from itself. A private letter sent to Rick Wagoner was released to the public to add pressure upon the General Motors executive hierarchy. Those talks have since failed.[7]
••• On Wednesday November 22, 2006 Kerkorian sold 14 million shares of his GM stake. It is speculated that this action was due to GM's rejection of Renault and Nissan's bids for stakes in the company as both of these bids were strongly supported by Kirk. The sale resulted in GM share prices falling 4.1% from its Monday 20 November price. The sale lowered Kerkorian's holding to approx. 7.4% of GM. On November 30, 2006 Tracinda Corp. investment firm said it had agreed to sell another 14 million shares of General Motors Corp., cutting Kerkorian's stake in the automaker to half of what he owned earlier that year. Later on he sold the remaining shares of GM, and left GM for good.[8]
••• Daimler-Chrysler / On April 5, 2007 Kirk Kerkorian made a $4.58 billion bid for the Chrysler Group, the U.S. arm of Daimler-Chrysler. Since Daimler-Chrysler announced they were interested in selling the Chrysler division on February 14, large investors such as Cerberus Capital Management, The Blackstone Group and Magna International each announced intentions to bid on the company. Kerkorian's bid, while not expected, is not surprising given his long involvement in the U.S. automobile industry. During the bidding process, he will be aided by his close associate Jerome York who was a former CFO at both Chrysler and IBM. As of May 14, 2007 80% of the Chrysler arm of Daimler-Chrysler was sold to Cerberus for $7.4 billion.
• Personal life / Married three times, Kerkorian met his second wife Jean Maree Hardy, a former dancer at the Thunderbird, in Las Vegas. The marriage produced Kerkorian's two daughters, Tracy and Linda. Kerkorian's personal holding company - Tracinda Corp - is a portmanteau of the two girls names. Also named after his two daughters, Kerkorian's Lincy Foundation has made huge charitable contributions, much of this to Armenian causes.
••• Kerkorian's third marriage was to professional tennis player Lisa Bonder, which under a prenuptial agreement lasted for one month in 1999. He subsequently was involved in a breach of privacy suit filed against him by Steve Bing. Kerkorian claimed Bing was the father of Bonder's daughter, which was later established by DNA testing. On August 10, 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that Kerkorian's attorneys were being sued by Bonder because of their connection to former high-profile private investigator Anthony Pellicano, who presently faces a 110-count federal indictment for racketeering, wiretapping, witness tampering, and other charges. Bonder's attorney alleges that Kerkorian's lawyers hired Pellicano to wiretap telephone calls illegally between him and Kerkorian's ex-wife in order to gain a tactical advantage in the divorce proceedings.[9]
••• Kerkorian often plays tennis with Alex Yemenidjian. He has a penchant for expensive clothes (especially custom-made outfits by Italian designer Brioni), but drives relatively low cost vehicles such as a Pontiac Firebird, Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Ford Taurus.[10]

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 TODAY'S PUZZLE? - 2005 / A Brainboost Answer

Part 02 / TIMELINE - Life - ACHIEVEMENTS

Year

Event and Significance

1917

Kirk Kerkorian, 90, was born in 1917 in Fresno, Calif., to Armenian immigrants. He dropped out of school in eighth grade and became a skilled amateur boxer, fighting under the name of "Rifle Right Kerkorian."

1940

During World War II, he piloted de Havilland Mossquito airplanes over the north Atlantic as part of the Royal Air Force.••

1947

In 1947, he paid $60,000 for TransInternational Airlines, a small air-charter service mostly used by gamblers who flew from Los Angeles to Las Vega. He operated the airline until 1968 when he sold it for $104 million to Trans-American Corp.

1962

In 1962, Kerkorian bought 80 acres (32.3 hectares) in Las Vegas, across The Strip from the Flamingo, for $960,000. This purchase led to the building of Caesars Palace, which rented the land from Kerkorian; the rent and eventual sale of the land to Caesars in 1968 made Kerkorian $9 million.

1967

In 1967, he bought 82 acres (33 hectares) of land on Paradise Road in Las Vegas for $5 million and, with architect Martin Stern,[5] built the International Hotel, which at the time was the largest hotel in the world; The first two performers to appear at the hotel's enormous Showroom Internationale were Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley. Presley brought in some 4,200 customers (and potential gamblers), every day, for 30 days straight, breaking in the process all attendance records in the city's history. Kerkorian's International Leisure also bought the Flamingo Hotel (which later sold the Flamingo to the Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1970). The International Hotel is known today as the Las Vegas Hilton. Until about 2000, the Flamingo was known as the Flamingo Hilton.

1968

Sold TransInternational Airlines for $104 million to Trans-American Corp.

1969

MGM / In 1969, Kerkorian appointed James T. Aubrey, Jr. MGM's president. Aubrey downsized the struggling MGM and sold off massive amounts of historical memorabilia, including Dorothy's ruby slippers (from The Wizard of Oz). Kerkorian sold MGM's distribution system in 1973, and gradually distanced himself from the daily operation of the studio.

1970

In 1979, Kerkorian issued a statement claiming that MGM was now primarily a hotel company; however, he also managed to expand the overall film library and production system with the purchase of United Artists in 1981. George C. Scott won the Best Actor Oscar for his memorable performance in Patton but then refused the gold statuette and didn't attend the awards ceremony.

1970

Disaster films became a main staple of films in the 70s -- the trend began with Airport (1970). The entire disaster film craze was really kick-started by The Poseidon Adventure (1972).

1970

The IMAX wide-screen format premiered in the Fuji Pavilion at the Expo in Osaka, Japan.

1970

Nevada millionaire Kirk Kerkorian bought MGM in 1970, and then promptly downsized the company. He sold off acres of the studio's real estate of backlots, and its valuable film memorabilia (such as Dorothy's The Wizard of Oz ruby slippers) for a fraction of its real value. The sell-off financed an expansion of Kerkorian's hotel-casino investments, and began a decline for the studio.

1970

The popular landmark tear-jerker and commercially-successful film Love Story, adapted from Eric Segal's screenplay and thin novel, was the first modern romance film blockbuster. Its story of a rich boy/poor girl romance, was backed by Paramount's fast-living head of production Robert Evans. It averted the struggling studio from financial collapse, and beautiful Ali McGraw (Evans married the starlet) was put on the January 11, 1971 cover of Time Magazine. Evans later made the equally-successful The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part 2 (1974) films and Chinatown (1974) in the early 70s.

1970

Following in the tradition of the "Kitchen Sink" UK films in the 50s and 60s, director Ken Loach's low-budget, documentary-style, second feature-film Kes, released in 1969, has since been regarded as one of the best British films ever made (it was a Best Film nominee for the 1971 BAFTA Film Awards). The dark and moving independent film was a heartbreaking, authentic, coming-of-age family drama about an abused 15 year old working-class Yorkshire boy who found meaning in his life by raising a baby kestrel (falcon). Surprisingly, the starkly-truthful and socially-conscious naturalistic film was never released commercially in the US.

1970

Let It Be was released, the last film starring the Fab Four; this effort chronicled the Beatles recording their last-produced Apple studios album - a comeback attempt that actually led to their breakup.

Early 1970s

Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider (1969), Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces (1970), and Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971) were representative of the New Hollywood movement of unconventional auteur directors with new ideas and personal visions. In 1971, USC film school graduate George Lucas released his first full-length feature film, THX 1138.

1970-71

For her performance in Women in Love (1969, UK), actress Glenda Jackson became the first performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for a role in which she appeared nude.

1971

The blaxploitation film genre, with anti-Hollywood films aimed at a primarily African-American audience, was born with Melvin Van Peebles' groundbreaking Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song! -- the first commercially-successful black-themed film. It forced Hollywood to acknowledge the monetary potential of the untapped, urban African-American market (similar to the effect Easy Rider (1969) had on its countercultural audiences) as a result of this influential film. The landmark crime/action blaxploitation film Shaft, starring Richard Roundtree as a defiantly-proud black hero, was directed by Gordon Parks and would become a major cross-over hit. From then on through the end of the decade (but mostly in the first half of the decade), over 200 films would be released by major and independent studios which featured major black characters (and some black athletes such as Jim Brown and Rosie Grier), to profit from the black movie-going audiences. Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson would play similar hard-edged roles for whites. Blaxploitation cinema experienced a revival in the late 1990s, with Larry Cohen's Original Gangstas (1996), reuniting stars from the earlier era. The director of Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino, paid homage to the blaxploitation genre twenty-five years later with Jackie Brown (1998), starring Pam Grier.

Early 70s

The success of blaxploitation films led to an onslaught of other black exploitation genres, with numerous remakes or lesser imitations ranging from westerns to martial arts kung fu films to horror and gangster films. Sample films included Hit Man (1972), Blacula (1972) and Blackenstein (1973), and Larry Cohen's Black Caesar (1973). However, the vast majority of these films were still distributed, produced, and controlled by non-blacks. All of the blaxploitation films set the stage for Hip Hop music and subculture, future directors such as Spike Lee and John Singleton, and movies like Harlem Nights (1989), Posse (1993), the Beverly Hills Cop series, and Pulp Fiction (1994).

1971

Two films released about the same time resurrected the controversy over violence in films: (1) Stanley Kubrick's satirical A Clockwork Orange - rated X and responsible for copy-cat crimes in the UK, prompting the director to withdraw the dystopic film about social conditioning and free will from distribution for many years; and (2) Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs - criticized for glorifying violence rather than commenting upon it, re-edited for an R-rating, and banned in England for 30 years. [A Clockwork Orange was also the first film to use Dolby technology for its sound recording.]

1971

Billy Jack was the first film to be marketed in 'wide-release' at many theatrical venues on the same day. This was a change from the previous strategy of testing a film in a few markets to first see if results were positive, before expanding its market. This same marketing strategy was used for Spielberg's major blockbuster Jaws (1975) - and paved the way for the method in which all major releases are done today.

1972

The popular, low-budget, adult-oriented, X-rated Deep Throat, the second hard-core pornography feature film released in the US (after Behind the Green Door) contributed to the explosion of the porn industry and 'porn chic' by being exhibited in many mainstream film theatres. It was one of the most financially successful films ever made (grossing over $1,000,000, but costing only $24,000 to make).

1972

HBO transmitted its first cable television programming to 365 subscribers in Wilkes-Barre, PA -- this marked the start of pay-TV service for cable.

1972

The AVCO Cartrivision system (for CARTRIdige teleVISION) was a combination receiver / recorder / playback unit. It was also the first videocassette recorder to have pre-recorded tapes of popular movies (from Columbia Pictures) for sale and rental -- three years before Sony's Betamax VCR system emerged into the market. However, the company went out of business a year later.

1972

Sony introduced the U-Matic line of video cassette recorders.

1972

Italian-American director Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, a reinvention of the gangster genre, was finally released. It won three Oscars from its ten nominations, including awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando, who refused to accept the award) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola). Sacheen Littlefeather declined Marlon Brando's Best Actor Oscar in the 1973 awards ceremony as a protest against government Indian policies.

1972

Director Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial, X-rated Last Tango in Paris was released to protest and criticism due to its explicit sexual content. Actor Marlon Brando and Bertolucci both earned Oscar nominations - making them the only Oscar nominees for an X-rated film that hasn't been re-rated since its release.

1972

Ralph Bakshi's Fritz the Cat was the first X-rated animated feature in Hollywood history.

1973

Warner Bros. had its first major hit with the sensational and shocking The Exorcist, an originally X-rated film that encouraged the trend for big-budget horror films, other cheaply-made imitations - and more blockbusters.

1973

In 1973 he purchased MGM, the famous movie studio. Again with the architect Martin Stern, Kerkorian and MGM opened the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, which was the largest hotel in the world at the time it was finished. On November 21, 1980, the original MGM Grand burned in a fire that was one of the worst disasters in Las Vegas history. The Las Vegas Fire Department reported 84 deaths in the fire; there were 87 deaths total, including three which occurred later as a result of injuries sustained in the fire. Amazingly, the MGM Grand reopened after only 8 months. Almost three months after the MGM fire, the Las Vegas Hilton caught fire, killing eight people.

1973

The once-powerful MGM Studios abandoned most of its movie-making business because of a string of failures due to ownership changes and bad production choices by head Kirk Kerkorian, who sold MGM's distribution system, and gradually distanced himself from the daily operation of the studio.

1973

The science-fiction classic Westworld was the first movie to make use of "digitized images", a primitive term for what has evolved into CGI (computer-generated imagery) in the present day.

1973

To maximize profits from weekend audiences, the industry decided to move major film openings from mid-week to Fridays.

1973

George Lucas' idea for Star Wars was declined by Universal and subsequently accepted by Twentieth Century Fox after his success with the nostalgic American Graffiti. It was one of the biggest hits of the year, with unknown but up-and-coming star Harrison Ford.

1973

In negotiations with Fox, George Lucas wisely cut his directing fee for Star Wars (1977) by $500,000 in order to gain ownership of merchandising and sequel rights. In a revolutionary approach to Hollywood film-making and merchandising, Lucas wisely accepted the small fee of $175,000 in return for the much more lucrative forty percent of merchandising rights for his Star Wars Corporation. Merchandising of movie paraphernalia associated with the film encouraged an entire marketing industry of Star Wars-related items (i.e., toys, video games, novelty items at fast food restaurants, etc.).

1974

Tobe Hooper's milestone cult slasher film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released, inspired by the real-life Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein (also responsible for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)), featuring a horrifying, mask-wearing, chainsaw-threatening Leatherface character.

1974

Director Roman Polanski's neo-noir Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson, was released, and grossed $30 million - much more than its budget of $6 million. Twenty-five percent of the film was financed by a tax shelter syndicate which received about 10 percent of the profits in return -- this avenue of film financing has since been closed by order of federal regulation.

1974

Best Director-winning Francis Ford Coppola's critically-acclaimed, Best Picture-winning gangster epic sequel The Godfather, Part II, -- actually a prequel -- was one of the rare instances in which the sequel was superior to the original film. It became the first 'sequel' to win Best Picture. It would help launch the trend toward blockbuster sequels.

1974

The hit disaster film Earthquake featured a gimmick called Sensurround, which created synchronized vibrations in theaters by means of thumping bass sounds.

1974

People Magazine was launched.

1974

In the era before video stores and widespread availability of films for viewing, the LA-based, premium cable outlet Z Channel exerted a tremendous impact on the film industry. One of the first pay cable stations, it provided a wide variety of innovative programming from its troubled head Jerry Harvey in the 80s, including on-air film festivals, foreign films, hard-to-find rare classics, non-mainstream films, original and uncut 'director's versions,' works of new talent (actors, directors, and writers), late-night European softcore features (often starring Laura Antonelli), and the airing of other independent productions. The channel often regenerated interest in critically-acclaimed films that had flopped on initial release (i.e., Oliver Stone's Salvador (1986) or Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)). By the late 80s, the cable channel was eventually forced out of the market by giants HBO and Showtime when it was acquired in 1988 by a company that decided to combine its movie programming with sports.

1979

In 1979, Kerkorian issued a statement claiming that MGM was now primarily a hotel company; however, he also managed to expand the overall film library and production system with the purchase of United Artists in 1981.

1980

THE MGM DAYS OF SELLING AND RE-SELLING THE STUDIO TO WILLING BUYERS. TED TURNER WAS ONE OF THEM:
••• In 1986, Kerkorian sold the MGM Grand hotels in Las Vegas and Reno for $594 million to Bally. Spun off from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM Mirage owns and operates several properties, including the Bellagio, the current MGM Grand resorIn 1986 he sold the studios to Ted Turner.
WITH THAT IIN MIND - Kirk started a new project, (where the Marina Hotel once stood), The Mirage, Treasure Island, the New York-New York, and what was once the Boardwalk in Las Vegas. They also own the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.
In 1986 he sold the studios to Ted Turner.
••• Turner kept ownership of the combined MGM/UA for 74 days. Both studios had huge debts and Turner simply could not afford to keep them under those circumstances; to recoup his investment, he sold all of United Artists and the MGM trademark back to Kerkorian. The studio lot was sold to Lorimar-Telepictures, which was later acquired by Warner Bros.; in 1990, the lot was sold to Sony Corporation's Columbia TriStar Pictures in exchange for the half of Warner's lot they'd rented since the 1970s.

1986

In 1986, Kerkorian sold the MGM Grand hotels in Las Vegas and Reno for $594 million to Bally. Spun off from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM Mirage owns and operates several properties, including the Bellagio, the current MGM Grand resort complex (where the Marina Hotel once stood), The Mirage, Treasure Island, the New York-New York, and what was once the Boardwalk in Las Vegas. They also own the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.

1986



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