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商业 - 传媒与文化

CNN之父75岁了

Patricia Sellers 2013年11月28日

特德•特纳这位富于冒险精神的企业家迎来了自己的第75个生日。尽管年事已高,但他依然睿智犀利,仍然是美国商界最锋芒毕露的元老级人物。

    上周六晚,在电视名嘴杰伊•莱诺主持下,600多名亲朋好友在亚特兰大为传媒大亨特德•特纳举行了75岁生日庆典,来宾包括美国前副总统艾尔•戈尔、前参议员萨姆•纳恩和蒂姆•沃思、内衣品牌Spanx创始人萨拉•布莱克利和特纳的女朋友、科罗拉多州环境学家萨利•兰尼。用于招待宾客的是野牛里脊——这很合适,因为特纳养了5.5万头野牛。在自己的5位子女和13名孙子孙女面前,特纳演唱了一曲《我的肯塔基老家》(My Old Kentucky Home),还引用了莎士比亚的名句(理查二世谈到正直时说:“荣誉即生命,二者为一体;荣誉被夺,生命则止”)。众人起立为他鼓掌欢呼,这样的表现令人感到放心——最近朋友们都很关注特纳的情况,也都很担心。

    去年夏天,我听说特纳的健康程度和记忆力开始滑坡后,曾经申请对他进行独家采访。特纳的成就超过大多数生意人——他创立了美国有线电视新闻网(CNN),建立了一个媒体和体育帝国,他拿过美洲杯帆船赛冠军,他拥有的土地面积大过世界上其他任何人——嗯,直到另一位亿万富翁、有线电视巨头约翰•马隆以几英亩(1英亩= 4046.86平方米)的微弱优势超过了他。我曾在《财富》(Fortune)杂志上发表过两篇关于特纳的封面文章,分别是在1997年和2003年。第一次是在特纳承诺提供10亿美元(61.36亿元人民币)资金来帮助美国摆脱金融困境之后,第二次则是他自己陷于财务危机之中。当时,时代华纳(Time Warner)和美国在线(AOL)合并后股价暴跌,给特纳带来了逾80亿美元(490.88亿元人民币)的损失。第二篇文章的题目是《随风而逝》(Gone with the Wind),详细讲述了这个损失了几十亿美元个人财产的悲剧性人物(妹妹17岁因病去世,父亲在53岁时自杀)怎样失去了在时代华纳的工作和他一生的挚爱——简•方达。

    那篇文章写于10年之前,此后我见过特纳几次,但一直没有采访过他。直到最近,我为了最新一期《财富》【封面报道是“年度商业人物”(Businessperson of the Year)的那一期,现已出版】中的访谈板块到亚特兰大去拜访他时,我发现他比以前更加平和,思想也更加深刻,而且不再那么爱发脾气了(他只叫了我一次“光杆司令记者”)。特德•特纳精力充沛,他仍然是人们所能见到的最肆无忌惮、最直率、最可靠的老板之一。

    我们的对话如下:

    你对75岁的生活感觉如何?

    比死了强。

    你身体怎么样?

    还可以,但不是太好。我有睡眠呼吸暂停和心房纤颤,这两种病都会让人身体虚弱。

    With Jay Leno hosting, more than 600 friends—Al Gore, former U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Tim Wirth, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, and his date, Colorado environmentalist Sally Ranney, among them—helped Ted Turner celebrate his 75th birthday on Saturday night in Atlanta. The guests dined on bison filet—fitting since Turner owns 55,000 of the creatures. With his five children and 13 grandchildren in attendance, Turner sang "My Old Kentucky Home," and recited Shakespeare (Richard II on integrity: "Mine honour is my life, both grow in one; Take honour from me and my life is done") from memory. He earned a standing ovation, and it was a reassuring performance from a man who has worried his friends as much as fascinated them lately.

    When I heard last summer that Turner's physical health and memory were slipping, I asked for an exclusive interview with the man whose accomplishments exceed those of most any other businessman: Turner created CNN, built a media and sports empire, won the America's Cup and acquired more land than any other person in the world—well, until another billionaire, cable TV titan John Malone, picked up a few more acres to surpass him. I had written two Fortune cover stories about Turner: in 1997, after he committed to give $1 billion to help save the United Nations from its financial troubles, and in 2003, when he was facing his own financial disaster. Turner lost more than $8 billion when Time Warner (TWX) stock collapsed after the company's merger with AOL (AOL). The story, titled "Gone with the Wind," detailed how this man prone to tragedy (his sister died at age 17; his father killed himself at 53) lost his job at Time Warner and the love of his life, Jane Fonda, in addition to his billions of dollars in personal wealth.

    Since that story a decade ago, I had seen Turner a few times but not sat down with him for an interview. When I recently went to Atlanta to talk with him for the Q&A that appears in the current issue of Fortune (the "Businessperson of the Year" issue, now on newsstands), I found him to be calmer than he used to be, more reflective and not quite as cantankerous (he called me a "yoyo journalist" only once). Irrepressible, Ted Turner remains one of the most uninhibited, candid and authentic bosses you will ever meet.

    Here's our conversation:

    How are you feeling about life at 75?

    It's better than being dead.

    How's your health?

    It's okay, but it's not great. I have both sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation, which are both debilitating conditions.

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