Ted Turner: From Cable Mogul to Environmental Crusader

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February 29, 2012; Source: The Hollywood Reporter

When cable media’s original titan, Ted Turner, lost his perch atop the media world, he did not abandon the media business so much as fall in love with the nonprofit world. Turner was forced out as vice chairman of Time Warner in 2000 after its disastrous merger with AOL (and lost $8 billion on paper as the misshapen conglomerate’s stock tumbled). Having once announced that part of his former media empire, CNN, “won’t be signing off until the world ends,” Turner is now working on saving it.

The tycoon has redirected his abundant energy to numerous philanthropic and charitable endeavors, including the United Nations Foundation, the Turner Foundation, the Captain Planet Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. It seems the former staunch conservative has morphed into a celebrated liberal supporter of ecofriendly causes.

Turner finds himself on the cover of the March 9, 2012 cover of The Hollywood Reporter, which follows the former TIME Magazine “Man of the Year” as he jets around the globe to meet and greet for his various nonprofit causes. The 73-year-old über-macher has sailed in the America’s Cup, won the World Series as owner of the Atlanta Braves, and holds 46 honorary degrees.

As this intriguing profile piece notes, Turner finds his Atlanta headquarters a few steps away from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Once a passionate crusader against religion, Turner has taken a common turn for a man writing his final chapters, confessing to now be “a little bit religious—that says it pretty well. But I’d like to think there’s somebody looking after us.” That would be justice for a powerful and divisive figure who has, over the last two decades, shifted his vast wealth to many causes that are looking after our planet. –Louis Altman