Ted Turner – MAN of ACTION™



A Celebration of Women™

is honored to Celebrate the Life of one of our world’s most prolific leaders among men through our Celebration Tribute. This powerhouse has lead the way in many areas of business with a focus on media his entire life. We celebrate him here today for his magnificent generosity, actions that have changed the world of philanthropy forever, blazing a new path in our world.

Globally recognized as a mogul of industry, this man of courage started his work in the media empire began with his father’s billboard business, which he took over at 24 after his father’s suicide. Living with family depression can have a life altering affect on a human being, and perhaps this history has been a catalyst that has driven our magnate thus far, as he seems to move with an inherent empathy to our world’s condition.

Inspired into the world of philanthropy, this soul dove right in with a huge committment of $1 billion dollars in a flash; following through with his creation of the UN Foundation, a reduction of child mortality, ability to promote sustainable energy, ‘empower women and girls‘, and much more positive change has begun.





Ted Turner quote final


Ted Turner


Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media mogul.

When World War II broke out, Ed signed up for the Navy. In 1941, he brought his wife and Ted’s sister with him to the Gulf Coast, but left Ted behind feeling horribly abandoned. While his family was away, Ted stayed at a Cincinnati boarding school. After the war, Ed relocated the family to Savannah, Georgia, and enrolled his son in the Georgia Military Academy.

In 1950, Ted started attending McCallie, an elite boarding school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His curriculum included military training, one of Ted’s favorite subjects. After completing his course load at McCallie, Ted hoped to sign up with the United States Naval Academy, but his father insisted Ted attend Harvard. Ted’s grades weren’t good enough for Harvard, so in 1956, he enrolled in Brown University instead. But, before he could earn his diploma from Harvard, Ted was kicked out for having a woman in his dorm room. It was 1959, the same year his parents divorced.

kappa sigmaTurner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Florence (née Rooney) and Robert Edward Turner II, a billboard magnate. When he was nine, his family moved to Savannah, Georgia. He attended The McCallie School, a private, boys’ preparatory school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Turner attended Brown University and was vice-president of the Brown Debating Union and captain of the sailing team. He became a member of Kappa Sigma. Turner initially majored in Classics.

Turner’s father wrote saying that his choice made him “appalled, even horrified,” and that he “almost puked.” Turner later changed his major to Economics, but before receiving a diploma, he was expelled for having a female student in his dormitory room. Turner was awarded an honorary B.A. from Brown University in November 1989 when he returned to campus to keynote the National Association of College Broadcasters second annual conference.

As a businessman, he is known as founder of the cable news network CNN, the first 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television. As a philanthropist, he is known for his $1 billion gift to support the United Nations, which created the United Nations Foundation, a public charity to broaden support for the UN. Turner serves as Chairman of the United Nations Foundation board of directors.

Turner’s media empire began with his father’s billboard business, which he took over at 24 after his father’s suicide. The business, Turner Outdoor Advertising, was worth $1 million when Turner took it over in 1963. Purchase of an Atlanta UHF station in 1970 began the Turner Broadcasting System. Cable News Network revolutionized news media, covering the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 and the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Captain Planet Foundation Benefit GalaFORBES reports: Ted Turner invented the 24-hour news channel in 1980 when he launched CNN.

He got his start working for his father at Turner Advertising.

In 1960, Ted’s father made him the manager of Turner Advertising’s Macon, Georgia, branch. Ted quickly showed a natural talent for business by more than doubling the office’s revenue in his first year. When Turner’s father bought out a competitor in 1962, the costly buyout and subsequent debt placed the company in a tenuous financial condition.

bipolar-disorder1Fearing bankruptcy and struggling to cope with bipolar disorder, Ed shot himself to death in March of 1963.

In 1963, his father committed suicide. Ted Turner was 24 when his father shot himself. “My father could be absolutely charming, or he could be a horse’s ass,” Turner says. READ MORE

In 1970, he started buying television stations and turned those investments into Turner Broadcasting.

In 1996 he sold Turner Broadcasting to Time Warner. When it merged with AOL in 2001, he became the largest individual shareholder, then lost $7 billion in two years after the shares collapsed. Since then he has devoted himself to philanthropy, with a focus on protecting endangered species, nuclear disarmament and environmental sustainability.

In 1997 he pledged to give $1 billion to the United Nations; so far he has given $916 million. He is one of the nation’s largest private landowners. His holdings include more than two million acres across 13 states.

‘Turner’s gift helped change that culture, reviving the tradition of great philanthropists like Rockefeller and Carnegie. Turner publicly began needling other billionaires — including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — to be more generous. That was a breach of etiquette, but it worked.’ Nicholas D. Kristof, NYTimes

Ted Turner From media mogul to philanthropist


The United Nations Foundation has always been guided by the belief of our Founder and Chairman Ted Turner that everyone can do something to create change.

Ted: Michael, several years ago as I was reading the Forbes 400Rich List” it occurred to me that if there is a list recognizing those who’ve made a lot of money, there should be recognition for those who’ve chosen to give back.

ted turner bookA new book, “Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet,” chronicles Ted’s extensive philanthropic work, including his creation of the UN Foundation.

Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet

Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet, written by Todd Wilkinson, tracks the rise of the famed American media mogul who has become one of the world’s pioneering “eco-capitalists” and peace-minded humanitarians in the 21st century.

With two million acres of private land and a bison herd 55,000 animals strong, Turner is considered a pathfinder in showing how profit-minded agriculture can be pursued in ways that advance protection of imperiled species. His historic $1 billion gift to the United Nations not only resulted in creation of the United Nations Foundation, which is breaking new ground in advancing peace and trying to elevate hundreds of millions of people worldwide out of poverty, but it served as a catalyst for a new ethic in charitable giving being embraced by many high profile plutocrats. Turner also has been a leader, through his co-founding of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, in trying to eradicate nuclear weapons and keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.

Last Stand is a book that reveals not only a story certain to resonate with those who love the natural world and want to make a positive difference but business leaders desiring to create a better future for their kids and grandchildren.

Ted’s commitment to supporting the United Nations to build a better world has inspired many other people and organizations to Take Action.

Under his leadership and with your support, we’ve been able to help the UN and our partners reduce child mortality, promote sustainable energy, empower women and girls, and much more.

As Ted has said, “If we are going to turn things around, we all need to do our part to make it happen.”

Check out our blog or the book to read more about Ted’s philanthropy. We look forward to continuing our work together.
Thank you,
UN Foundation

Board of Directors

ted goodwill games logo logoTurner turned the Atlanta Braves baseball team into a nationally popular franchise and launched the charitable Goodwill Games.

He helped reinvent interest in professional wrestling when he owned one of the most popular wrestling companies of the middle to late 1990s known as World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The Monday night show that it put on was the highest rated on cable and helped boost Turner’s channels of TNT and WTBS.

Turner’s penchant for controversial statements earned him the nicknames “The Mouth of the South” and “Captain Outrageous“.

Turner has also devoted his assets to environmental causes.

He was the largest private landowner in the United States until John C. Malone surpassed him in 2011. He uses much of his land for ranches to re-popularize bison meat (for his Ted’s Montana Grill chain), amassing the largest herd in the world. He also created the environmental-themed animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers.


Jane Fonda: Ted Turner Is “My Favorite Ex-Husband”

ted-turner-jane-fonda_1The screen legend, 74, recently attended the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention fundraiser in Atlanta. (Fonda founded G-CAPP in 1995 when the state had the highest teen birth rate in the United States; it has since been renamed the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential to reflect its physical health and nutrition initiatives.)

“This year we wanted an event that allowed for a deeper discussion of the work that G-CAPP does and how it all began,” Fonda explained in a recent blog post. “That meant involving Ted [Turner], my favorite ex-husband, as it was he who inspired my creating G-CAPP almost 18 years ago.” READ MORE – US Weekly

In a nutshell …
Turner has been married and divorced three times: to Judy Nye (1960–64), Jane Shirley Smith (1965–88), and actress Jane Fonda (1991–2001). He has five children.

Through Turner Enterprises, he owns 15 ranches in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. Totaling 1,910,585 acres (7,731.86 km2), his US land-holdings make Turner one of the largest individual landowners in North America (by acreage).

Turner’s biggest ranch is Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico. At 920 square miles (2,400 km2), it is the largest privately owned, contiguous tract of land in the United States.

Turner sponsors the Public forum debate of the National Forensic League.

In a television interview with Piers Morgan on May 3, 2012, Turner said he had four girlfriends, which he acknowledged was complicated but nonetheless easier than being married.

One of Turner’s children, Robert Edward “Teddy” Turner IV, announced on January 23, 2013, that he will run in the South Carolina Republican primary for the open Congressional seat vacated by Tim Scott who was appointed to the U.S. Senate.




A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this man into our honorary global Alumni of MEN of ACTION™,

celebrating the positive action he has ignited into our world, both domestically and globally.

blue flowers

Bravo Ted!



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