A billionaire investor who bought and sold MGM three times has died. The New York Times reports that Kirk Kerkorian died Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills.
Kerkorian, who became one of the richest Americans through investments in film studios and casinos, was 98.
“Born poor, Mr. Kerkorian was a brawling amateur boxer, a daredevil pilot and a high-stakes poker player before figuring out safer ways to amass a multibillion-dollar fortune,” The Times reports. “He pursued strategies that baffled business rivals and Wall Street analysts and that left him sometimes on the verge of bankruptcy. Other times, his moves brought him windfalls.”
In addition to buying and selling MGM three times, Kerkorian “created a commercial airline, sold it and then purchased it again before reselling it for good,” The Times reports. “And in his 80s he made an unsolicited but successful bid for Mirage Resorts, the giant casino company controlled by Stephen A. Wynn, the uncrowned king of Las Vegas.”
Other well-known entrepreneurs who tangled with Kerkorian — and lost — included Howard Hughes and Ted Turner, The Times notes.
Kerkorian counted Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra among his close friends, and resisted the label “recluse” that many in the media placed on him.
“He was a polarizing figure. Some said he was an unscrupulous manipulator who disregarded the rights of minority shareholders. On occasion he was sued and forced to settle such allegations out of court,” The Times reports. “But his defenders insisted that any investors who stuck by him were bound to make big returns.”