Redstone was born in a Boston tenement to a father who changed the family name from Rothstein to Redstone and built a regional movie-theater chain. After a short career as an attorney (he graduated from Harvard and Harvard Law), Redstone joined his father's company, National Amusements, in 1954. He became CEO in 1967 and steadily grew the company with profitable investments in studios.
Terrence Howard, Tony Bennett and Redstone in 2008
"Tony Bennett is a good friend," says Redstone. "He credits me with saving his career. I put him on MTV when everyone said he was over. And he was a hit. I remade his life."
Tom Cruise, Redstone and Jeffery Katzenberg
Redstone on his relationship with Tom Cruise: "I fired him, and I hired him. When he deserved to be fired, I fired him. When he deserved to be hired, I hired him."
Redstone and Sydney Holland
Redstone and longtime girlfriend SydneyHolland in October.
President and CEO of CBS Corp. Leslie Moonves
Redstone, when asked if Moonves would report to Viacom president and CEO PhilippeDauman: "Why would you ask me that? Why should they? They run their companies. Les runs CBS; Philippe runs Viacom. Why should they report to each other? No reason."
Redstone and Leslie Moonves
Redstone (left) calls Moonves "a miracle worker."
Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey
Grey (left) and Redstone at 2005’s War of the Worlds premiere. "I think Paramount is the best studio in the world," says Redstone. "And Brad [Grey] is the best studio leader in the world, in my opinion. I hired him!"
Redstone and Grandchildren
Redstone with then-wife PhyllisGloriaRaphael and his grandchildren in 1998.
Sherry Lansing, Redstone and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Redstone on who his friends are: "Philippe and Les, of course. Others: JonVoight, TomDooley, Tom Cruise, a lot of people. ArnoldKopelson and Anne, Wendy and LeonardGoldberg, they're all my friends. BradGrey, BrianGrazer. Netanyahu. He's been to my house twice."
Dan Tana's in West Hollywood
Dan Tana's in West Hollywood is one of Redstone's favorite restaurants. Some of his other favorite things? Book: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy’s War and Peace. City: Los Angeles.
CBS' 'Big Bang Theory'
Sumner Redstone's two companies, Viacom and CBS, outperformed all the major media conglomerates -- Walt Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, Sony, 21st Century Fox and News Corp -- as revenue for CBS surged 68 percent amid rising Nielsen ratings and carriage fees.
In 2013, Viacom and CBS stock saw growth of 68 percent and 69 percent, respectively. It could be difficult to duplicate the hefty stock gains in 2014, but analysts remain bullish on both companies. At Viacom, Paramount is expected to continue to lower costs even while offering a new Transformers film, and its cable networks should remain consistent cash cows that are highly attractive to investors.
Philippe and Deborah Dauman
Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman with his wife, Deborah. In October 2012 Redstone attempted to clarify in The Wall Street Journal comments he'd made in The New York Times. Having initially indicated in the Times that the buttoned-down lawyer Dauman, now 59, was almost certainly his successor, he then insisted to WSJ that his 59-year-old daughter, Shari, vice chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., remained in the running. (Meanwhile, Les Moonves, 64, in 2012 extended his contract through 2017 with provisions that he report only to his board after Redstone's death.)
Photo by: Christopher Patey
'Busy Every Day'
At this stage, says Redstone, he offers advice on how to steer the businesses to his top executives, CBS president and CEO LeslieMoonves and Viacom president and CEO PhilippeDauman, but only when it is sought. Still, he keeps close tabs on both. "I'm very busy," he says. "I talk to Philippe and Les every day. I'm very busy every day."
Photo by: Christopher Patey
Watching the Empire
Redstone now spends his days at his 15,300-square-foot mansion. As executive chairman of both Viacom, which includes Paramount and several cable networks, and CBS, home of the broadcast network, a TV production unit and Showtime, he watches the stock of his two media giants "second by second," he says. And right now he is happy with what he sees: Both skyrocketed more than 65 percent in 2013, and in September, Forbes estimated his personal net worth at $5.8 billion.
Redstone’s friend Herzer, who was with him during his interview with THR.