Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (August 19, 1919 – February 24, 1990) was an American entrepreneur most prominently known as the publisher of ''Forbes'' magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market, free market economics, and for an extravagant lifestyle, spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, and Fabergé eggs.

Life and career

Forbes was born on August 19, 1919, in Englewood, New Jersey, the son of Adelaide Mary (Stevenson) and Scottish-born financial journalist and author B. C. Forbes. He graduated from The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville School in 1937. In 1941 he received an A.B. from the School of Public and International Affairs, now Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, at Princeton University, with a 176-page senior thesis, "Weekly Newspapers - An Evaluation." Forbes enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served as a machine gunner in the 84th Infantry Division (United States), 84th Infantry Division in European theatre of World War II, Europe, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. Forbes received a thigh wound in combat, and received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. After dabbling in politics, including service in the New Jersey Senate from 1951 to 1957 and an unsuccessful candidacy for Governor of New Jersey, he committed to the magazine full-time by 1957, three years after his father's death. After the death of his brother Bruce Charles Forbes in 1964, he acquired sole control of the company. The magazine grew steadily, and Forbes diversified his investments into real estate sales and other ventures. One of his last projects was the magazine ''Egg'', which chronicled New York's nightlife. (The title had nothing to do with Forbes's famous Fabergé egg collection.) To honor his contribution to the magazine, Forbes won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 1989. Forbes was an avid but idiosyncratic collector. In addition to a huge art collection and a collection of historical documents, he collected Harley-Davidson motorbikes and specially shaped hot air balloons. He owned more than 365 works by Peter Carl Fabergé including a dozen Imperial eggs. Malcolm Forbes' lavish lifestyle was exemplified by his private ''Capitalist Tool'' Boeing 727 trijet, ever larger ''Highlander'' yachts, his French Chateau (Château de Balleroy in Normandy), as well as his opulent birthday parties. In the mid-1960s he was a fixture at NYC's famous Cat Club on Wednesday nights, supporting local musical talent. He chose the Palais Mendoub (which he had acquired from the Moroccan government in 1970) in the northwestern city of Tangier, Morocco, to host his 70th birthday party. Spending an estimated $2.5 million, he chartered a Boeing 747, a DC-8 and a Concorde to fly in eight hundred of the world's rich and famous from New York and London. The guests included his friend Elizabeth Taylor (who acted as a co-host), Gianni Agnelli, Robert Maxwell, Barbara Walters, Henry Kissinger, six U.S. state governors, and the CEOs of scores of multinational corporations likely to advertise in his magazine. The party entertainment was on a grand scale, including 600 drummers, acrobats and dancers and a fantasia – a cavalry charge ending with the firing of muskets into the air – by 300 Berber people, Berber horsemen. Party favors included a custom-engraved Rolex watch for each guest. Forbes became a motorcyclist late in life. He founded and rode with a motorcycle club called the Capitalist Tools. His estate in New Jersey was a regular meeting place for tours that he organized for fellow New Jersey and New York motorcyclists. He had a stable of motorcycles but was partial to Harley-Davidson machines. He was known for his gift of Purple Passion, a Harley-Davidson, to actress Elizabeth Taylor. He was also instrumental in getting legislation passed to allow motorcycles on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.

Personal life

Forbes was married for thirty-nine years to Roberta Remsen Laidlaw before their divorce in 1985. The couple had five children: Steve Forbes, Malcolm S. Jr., Robert Laidlaw, Christopher Forbes, Christopher Charles, Tim Forbes, Timothy Carter, and Moira Hamilton. Malcolm S. Forbes Jr., known as Steve, ran for president in 1996. While living abroad, his father returned to Buchan, Aberdeenshire, every two years, staying in the Cruden Bay Hotel, "to entertain people of Whitehill to a picnic". It was a tradition revived by Malcolm in 1987. In March 1990, soon after his death, ''OutWeek'' magazine published a story with the cover headline "The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes," by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man. Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicize many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret. The writer asked, "Is our society so overwhelmingly repressive that even individuals as all-powerful as the late Malcolm Forbes feel they absolutely cannot come out of the closet?" Even in death, the media was reluctant to disclose his sexuality; the ''New York Times'' would refer only to him as a "famous, deceased millionaire" while reporting on the controversy.

Death and legacy

Forbes died in 1990 of a heart attack at age 70, at his home, Timberfield, in Far Hills, New Jersey. He was pronounced dead by his friend and physician, Dr. Oscar Kruesi. Since Malcolm Forbes' death, the magazine business has been run by his son Steve Forbes and granddaughter Moira Forbes.

Awards and honors

*1942 - Bronze Star *1942 - Purple Heart *1949 - Freedoms Foundation Medal *1974 - Golden Plate Award of the Academy of Achievement, American Academy of Achievement *1983 - Pride of Performance award given by the then President of Pakistan

Posthumous honors

* 1999 - inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999 * 2008 - inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame

See also

* Forbes Galleries * Forbes Museum of Tangier


Further reading


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Forbes, Malcolm 1919 births 1990 deaths 20th-century American politicians 20th-century American non-fiction writers American art collectors American magazine editors American magazine publishers (people) United States Army personnel of World War II American people of Scottish descent American socialites Forbes family (publishers), Malcolm American gay writers Harmon Trophy winners Lawrenceville School alumni LGBT businesspeople from the United States LGBT people from New Jersey Motorcycling mass media people New Jersey Republicans New Jersey state senators People from Englewood, New Jersey People from Far Hills, New Jersey Princeton School of Public and International Affairs alumni Recipients of the Pride of Performance United States Army soldiers 20th-century American male writers American male non-fiction writers 20th-century LGBT people