Tag Archives: ABC

Jew of the Week: Bob Iger

The Man Behind “America’s Most Admired Company”

Bob Iger (Photo Credit: Angela George)

Robert Allen Iger (b. 1951) was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. He studied television and radio at Ithaca College (with the dream of becoming a news anchor) and there had his first media job on the college television station. After several months working as a casual weatherman, and struggling to find a reporting job, Iger joined ABC as a “studio supervisor” helping out on the set of soap operas and game shows. A few years later he joined the production team at ABC Sports, a position he held for nearly a decade. From there, he became a VP of ABC Sports, and a few years later a VP of ABC. In 1992, he became the company’s president, having incredibly worked his way up from an entry-level position, with just a bachelor’s degree in hand. Iger went on to launch some of ABC’s most popular television shows, including Home ImprovementAmerica’s Funniest Home Videos, and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?Meanwhile, because of his tremendous success and famous foresight, he was one of only a few executives to survive the buyout of ABC, first by Capital Cities Broadcasting, and then again by The Walt Disney Company. In 1999, Iger was made president of Walt Disney International. By 2005, he took over as CEO as well, and was put in charge of Disney’s day-to-day operations, vowing to fix the struggling company. Soon, Iger engineered Disney’s takeover of Pixar, and then its acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. To the latter he gave the necessary boost to bring out the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”, now the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Iger had a vision to do something similar with Star Wars, and in 2012 acquired Lucasfilm. Star Wars has since become the second highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Iger has expanded Disney in other ways, too, including a new $5.5 billion Disney Resort in Shanghai. All in all, he increased Disney’s value from $48 billion to some $170 billion, and hired over 18,000 people during his tenure, earning the company multiple accolades including “America’s Most Admired Company” (Fortune Magazine), the “World’s Most Reputable Company” (Forbes), and the “Best Place to Launch a Career” (BusinessWeek). Iger, meanwhile, has been called the “Best CEO”, won multiple “CEO of the Year” awards, as well as a “Corporate Humanitarian Award” and “Equal Opportunity Award”. He is ranked among the 25 most powerful people in business. Iger is also a generous philanthropist, and has been given the Ambassador for Humanity Award for his efforts.

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Words of the Week

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
– Dr. Robert Jastrow, renowned astrophysicist

Jew of the Week: David Blaine

David Blaine White (b. 1973) was born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican father, and a Russian-Jewish mother who raised him alone through tough times. He saw his first magic act on a subway at age 4 and was inspired. He loved drama, too, and would appear in several TV commercials and soap operas. By 21, he was already doing magic for wealthy private audiences and celebrity parties. Blaine recorded one of these performances and sent the tape to ABC, who were hooked immediately. At 24, Blaine’s first TV special, Street Magic, was aired and has since been hailed as revolutionizing the world of magic, with fellow magicians Penn & Teller even claiming it was the “biggest breakthrough done in our lifetime.” His subsequent amazing stunts included entombing himself in a 3-ton underground tank for 7 days, encasing himself in a block of ice for over 63 hours, standing atop a 100-foot high (and 22 inch wide) pillar for 35 hours straight, going 44 days without food while sealed in a case above London’s River Thames (losing 25% of his body weight!), freeing himself from a rotating gyroscope on which he spun for 52 hours straight, and holding his breath for over 17 minutes. Blaine uses his magic for good, too, performing at countless children’s hospitals and charity events, and fundraising for organizations like the Salvation Army (from whom he’d received clothing as a child). He also holds several world records. David Blaine joins other great Jewish magicians, including past Jews of the Week Harry Houdini and David Copperfield.

 

Words of the Week

The Jewish people, no matter where they are, they become the best in the world.
Joseph Mengele, Nazi Officer and Physician