Happy 77th birthday, Ted Turner

13 things you may not know about the media mogul


Ted Turner was born on Nov. 19, 1938. It only took him a few decades to launch CNN, on his way to becoming an international media mogul (and earning nicknames like "Mouth of the South"). 

"If I only had a little humility," he once said, "I'd be perfect."

Here are 13 facts about Turner for his birthday — some you may know, and some you may not. 

1. In his college days before founding CNN, the world's first 24-hour cable news channel, Turner was a member of Brown University's sailing team and was captain of the 1977 U.S. America's Cup team.

2. In 1959, Turner was suspended from Brown University because he had a woman in his dorm room and later left the school on his own terms. Though he didn't end up graduating, the university has awarded Turner honorary baccalaureate and doctorate degrees over the years.

3. Some of his nicknames include "Mouth of the South," "Terrible Ted" and "Captain Outrageous."

4. In 1980, Turner was listed by Playgirl magazine as one of the nation's top 10 sexiest men.

5. It's a common misconception that he lives with bipolar disorder, but according to Baldwin Chambless — Manager of Corporate Communications at Turner Enterprises, Inc. — Turner was actually incorrectly diagnosed.

6. He and actress Jane Fonda were married for 10 years, from 1991 to 2001.

7. Turner once owned both the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks. During his time as Braves owner, Turner also owned Atlanta's Channel 17 and once suggested the word "Channel" be sewn on the back of the jersey worn by pitcher Andy Messermith, who wore number 17.

8. His net worth according to Forbes? $2.2 billion.

9. In 1991, Turner became the first media figure to be named Time Magazine's Man of the Year.

10. He has won the Peabody Award in 1998, the Sports Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and the News & Documentary Emmy Lifetime Achievement award in 2015.

11. In 1997, Turner gifted $1 billion to support the United Nations, in one of the largest philanthropic gestures in history.

12. In July 2015, city leaders renamed a stretch of downtown Atlanta to Ted Turner Drive in his honor. The street is just across his restaurant, Ted's Montana Grill, and around the corner from CNN. 

13. His secret to success: "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise."

A previous version incorrectly stated Turner's age and has been updated to clarify details about his time at Brown and his medical history.


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