Annenberg, Walter Hubert

Annenberg, Walter Hubert
▪ 2003

      American publisher and philanthropist (b. March 13, 1908, Milwaukee, Wis.—d. Oct. 1, 2002, Wynnewood, Pa.), used his wealth to promote conservative political causes and to support education and the arts. He was the son of an immigrant, Moses L. Annenberg, whose businesses included the Philadelphia Inquirer, horse racing publications, and wire betting services. The father, as well as his son and two associates, was indicted in 1939 for tax evasion and bribery and served two years in prison after having made a settlement that included having charges against the others dropped. When his father died in 1942, the son took over the business, Triangle Publications, Inc. He bought radio and television stations, began Seventeen magazine in 1944, and in 1953 launched TV Guide, which gained the largest circulation of any American publication. As publisher and editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, he promoted local reforms but also used the paper to advance partisan causes. In 1969 he sold the paper, along with the Philadelphia Daily News, which he had bought in 1944, and in 1988 he sold the remainder of his businesses for an estimated $3.2 billion. A supporter of Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, he was ambassador to Britain from 1969 to 1974 under President Nixon. Although the appointment was criticized, he endeared himself to many British, partly through his philanthropic projects, and in 1976 Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary knight. Through the Annenberg Foundation he supported a number of enterprises and institutions, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the United Negro College Fund, and prominent universities, as well as public schools. He established the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (1958) and at the University of Southern California (1971). In 1991 he announced that upon his death his renowned collection of Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings would go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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Universalium. 2010.

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