WILLIAM SAMUEL PALEY (September 28, 1901 – October 26, 1990) was
the chief executive who built the Columbia
Broadcasting System (
* 1 Early life * 2 Broadcasting pioneer
* 3 Other interests
* 3.1 Philanthropy
* 4 Personal life
* 4.1 Marriage to Dorothy Hart Hearst * 4.2 Marriage to Barbara Cushing Mortimer * 4.3 Other affairs * 4.4 Death
* 5 Works * 6 Awards and honors * 7 In popular culture * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
Paley was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Goldie (Drell) and
Samuel Paley. His family was
In 1927, Paley's father, brother-in-law and some business partners bought a struggling Philadelphia-based radio network of 16 stations called the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System . Samuel Paley's intention was to use his acquisition as an advertising medium for promoting the family's cigar business, which included the La Palina brand. Within a year, under William's leadership, cigar sales had more than doubled, and, in 1928, the Paley family secured majority ownership of the network from their partners. Within a decade, William S. Paley had expanded the network to 114 affiliate stations.
Paley quickly grasped the earnings potential of radio and recognized that good programming was the key to selling advertising time and, in turn, bringing in profits to the network and to affiliate owners. Before Paley, most businessmen viewed stations as stand-alone local outlets or, in other words, as the broadcast equivalent of local newspapers. Individual stations originally bought programming from the network and, thus, were considered the network's clients.
Paley changed broadcasting's business model not only by developing successful and lucrative broadcast programming but also by viewing the advertisers (sponsors ) as the most significant element of the broadcasting equation. Paley provided network programming to affiliate stations at a nominal cost, thereby ensuring the widest possible distribution for both the programming and the advertising. The advertisers then became the network's primary clients and, because of the wider distribution brought by the growing network, Paley was able to charge more for the ad time. Affiliates were required to carry programming offered by the network for part of the broadcast day, receiving a portion of the network's fees from advertising revenue. At other times in the broadcast day, affiliates were free to offer local programming and sell advertising time locally.
Paley's recognition of how to harness the potential reach of
broadcasting was the key to his growing
World War II
"Bill Paley erected two towers of power: one for entertainment and one for news," 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt claimed in his autobiography, Tell Me a Story. "And he decreed that there would be no bridge between them.... In short, Paley was the guy who put Frank Sinatra and Edward R. Murrow on the radio and 60 Minutes on television."
The relationship between Paley and his news staff was not always
smooth. His friendship with
Ed Murrow , one of the leading lights in
James T. Aubrey, Jr. , became the president of CBS. Under
Aubrey, the network became the most popular on television with shows
The Beverly Hillbillies
During the 1963–1964 television season, 14 of the top 15 shows on
prime-time and the top 12 shows of daytime television were on CBS.
Aubrey, however, fought constantly with
Fred W. Friendly of
In 1972, Paley ordered the shortening of a second installment of a
Over the years, Paley sold portions of his family stockholding in
CBS. At the time of his death, he owned less than nine percent of the
outstanding stock . In 1995, five years after Paley's death,
In the 1940s,
William Paley and Dr. Leon Levy formed Jaclyn Stable,
which owned and raced a string of thoroughbred race horses . Paley
formed a modern art collection with as many as 40 major works, and he
Encouraged by Paley's avid interest in modern art and his outstanding
collection, Paley became a trustee of the
Rockefeller family 's Museum
of Modern Art in the 1930s and, in 1962, was tapped by then-chairman
The Paley Center for Media in
In 1974, Paley dedicated the second building at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University . He also personally dedicated the Samuel L. Paley library at Temple University named in honor of his father.
MARRIAGE TO DOROTHY HART HEARST
Paley met Dorothy Hart Hearst (1908–1998) while she was married to
John Randolph Hearst , the third son of
William Randolph Hearst
Dorothy called on her extensive social connections acquired during
her previous marriage to introduce Paley to several top members of
Dorothy began to become estranged from Paley during the early 1940s because of his infidelity. They divorced on July 24, 1947, in Reno, Nevada . She retained custody of their two adopted children, Jeffrey Paley and Hilary Paley. In 1953, Dorothy married stockbroker Walter Hirshon; they divorced in 1961.
MARRIAGE TO BARBARA CUSHING MORTIMER
Paley married divorcée, socialite and fashion icon Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer (1915–1978) on July 28, 1947. She was the daughter of renowned neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing . Paley and his second wife, in spite of their successes and social standing, were barred from being members of country clubs on Long Island because he was Jewish. As an alternative, the Paleys built a summer home, "Kiluna North," on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and spent the summers there for many years, routinely entertaining their many friends, including Lucille Ball , Grace Kelly , and David O. Selznick . The house was later donated to Dartmouth College and converted to use as a conference center. The couple had two children, William and Kate.
Paley was a notorious ladies man his entire life. Indeed, his first marriage to Dorothy ended when a newspaper published a suicide note written to Paley by a former girlfriend. As a result of another relationship, he provided a stipend to a former lover, actress Louise Brooks , for the rest of her life. In his later years, he enjoyed keeping company with several women. Paley was included in a list of the ten most eligible bachelors compiled by Cosmopolitan magazine in 1985; the irony of the octogenarian Paley being on the list was an inspiration for Late Night with David Letterman 's nightly Top Ten lists .
Paley died of kidney failure on October 26, 1990. He was 89.
* As It Happened: A Memoir (Garden City, NY: Doubleday , 1979)
AWARDS AND HONORS
* Croix de Guerre with Palm, 1946 * Legion of Honor * Legion of Merit , 1946 * Peabody Award , 1958 and 1961 * Inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame, 1984 * Inducted into the Television Hall of Fame , 1984 * Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism , 1984.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
* In the 1986 television movie Murrow, Paley is played by Dabney
Coleman , while in the 2005 film
Good Night, and Good Luck , he is
Frank Langella . In the 2006 film Infamous , Paley is played
by Lee Ritchey.
* The philandering character Sidney Dillon in
Truman Capote 's
* Biography portal
* ^ A B Gerard, Jeremy (October 27, 1990). "William S. Paley,
Builder of CBS, Dies at 89.". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
William S. Paley, who personified the power, glamour, allure and
* Museum of Broadcast Communication\'s page on William Paley
* Business Week article about William Paley, June 1, 2004
* Paper, Lewis J. Empire:
William S. Paley
* t * e
Television Hall of Fame Class of 1984
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 94314965 * LCCN : n79003951 * ISNI : 0000 0000 8281 6951 * GND : 136406068 * BNF : cb11941652t (data) * IATH