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  • List of Famous Dead People: Category - Business

    Matti Makkonen: Born: 1952-NA-NA - Died: 2015-06-26
    Matti Makkonen was an engineer from Finland, who worked for Nokia and Tele Finland, as well as Finnet Oy. He is best known as the “Father of SMS” and is credited with inventing text messaging, though he often said that he didn’t do so single-handedly.
    Ralph Roberts: Born: 1920-03-13 - Died: 2015-06-18
    Ralph J. Roberts was the founder and longtime CEO of Comcast Corporation. In 1963, after serving in the U.S. Navy, Roberts and his partners, Daniel Aaron and Julian A. Brodsky, bought American Cable Systems – a small cable operator based in Tupelo, Mississippi – for $500,000. Within a few years, Roberts turned that into Comcast […]
    Kirk Kerkorian: Born: 1917-06-06 - Died: 2015-06-15
    Kirk Kerkorian was an American businessman who was one of the most influential tycoons in Las Vegas. Kerkorian opened the International Hotel in 1969, the MGM Grand Hotel in 1973, and the MGM Grand in 1993. When each opened, they were the largest in Las Vegas. Kerkorian was also a Hollywood Mogul and an aviation […]
    Dave Goldberg: Born: 1967-10-02 - Died: 2015-05-01
    Dave Goldberg was a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO of online survey company SurveyMonkey. Before that, Goldberg founded LAUNCH Media in 1994 – a company that was later acquired by Yahoo. He was married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
    Jean Nidetch: Born: 1923-10-12 - Died: 2015-04-29
    Jean Nidetch was the co-founder of Weight Watchers, the company that provides good and services to aid in weight loss. In the early 1960s, Nidetch started a support group with several overweight friends, which eventually became the Weight Watchers organization. It was sold to the H.J. Heinz company in 1978.
    Melvin Gordon: Born: NA - Died: 2015-01-20
    Melvin Gordon was CEO of Tootsie Roll Industries for fifty-three years. His Chicago headquarters was called a “modern-day Willy Wonka factory” by the Wall Street Journal. The company makes not only Tootsie Rolls, but Tootsie Roll Pops, Tootsie Fruit Chews, Tootsie Frooties, Caramel Apple Pops, Child’s Play, Charms, Blow Pop, Candy Carnival, Cella’s chocolate covered […]
    Howard Schultz: Born: N/A - Died: 2014-12-29
    Howard Schultz was the founder and CEO of Lighthearted Entertainment. He created and executive produced reality shows Dating Naked, Extreme Makeover, and The Moment Of Truth as well as others.
    Ralph Henry Baer: Born: 1922-03-08 - Died: 2014-12-06
    Ralph Henry Baer was known as the “Father of Video Games”. He was considered a pioneer in the field, and wrote an outline in 1966 talking about how people could play games on a TV. He developed and patented several hardware prototypes, including the Magnavox Odyssey. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in […]
    Nelson Bunker Hunt: Born: 1926-02-22 - Died: 2014-10-21
    Bunker Hunt was an American oil executive who amassed a large fortune in in the 1960s and 1970s – somewhere around $16 billion. By the end of 1979, Hunt had lost the majority of his fortune when silver prices collapsed. For the previous decade or so, Hunt had been amassing huge amounts of silver. Known […]
    Gary S. Becker: Born: 1930-12-02 - Died: 2014-05-03
    Gary S. Becker was an economist, a professor or economics and sociology at the University of Chicago as well as a professor at the Booth School of Business. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was one of the first economists to branch into racial discrimination, crime, family organization, and drug addiction.
    Ralph Wilson: Born: 1918-10-17 - Died: 2014-03-25
    Ralph Wilson was the founder and owner of the NFL franchise the Buffalo Bills. His roots in American football run much deeper than that, however, as he was also one of the founding owners of the American Football League. The AFL and the NFL merged in 1970.
    William Clay Ford, Sr.: Born: 1925-03-14 - Died: 2014-03-09
    William Clay Ford was the owner and chairman of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, having purchased a controlling interest in the team in 1963. As the grandson of Henry Ford, Clay Ford served as a member of the Ford Motor Company’s Board of Director until 2005.
    Richard Cabela: Born: 1936-10-08 - Died: 2014-02-17
    Richard Cabela, 77, was the co-founder of Cabela’s outdoor sporting goods equipment. The business focused on hunting and fishing which led to an empire of stores and licensing deals. One of the more prominent uses of the Cabela’s license has been the creation of an annual video game franchise based around deer hunting.
    Edgar Bronfman Sr.: Born: 1929-06-20 - Died: 2013-12-21
    Edgar Bronfman Sr. was a Canadian-American businessman who served as the CEO of the Seagram Company from 1971 to 1994. He also served as the President of the World Jewish Congress from 1981 to 2007. Bronfman was known for being an outspoken advocate of Jewish causes.
    Mike Hughes: Born: NA - Died: 2013-12-15
    Mike Hughes was the former president of The Martin Agency. He joined the agency in the late seventies, and held the role of creative director for 30 years. He became president in 1995. He’s responsible for the Geico Cavemen (which even got a TV show at one point) and the company’s Gecko mascot. He also […]
    Milton Olin Jr.: Born: NA - Died: 2013-12-08
    Milton Olin Jr. was director of operations for of famous P2P file sharing service Napster between 2000 and 2002. He was also an entertainment lawyer.
    Paul Orberson: Born: 1956-12-18 - Died: 2013-12-5
    Paul Orberson was best known as the founder of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, a multi-level marketing company that was shut down in 2013 for being a pyramid scheme. Orberson grew up in Danville, Ky and later attended Western Kentucky University. He began his career as a high school teacher and basketball coach before making millions working […]
    Joy Covey: Born: 1963 - Died: 09-18-2013
    Joy Covey, 50, was an Internet pioneer and former CFO of Amazon when it was just an online bookseller. She attended both Stanford and Harvard Universities before joining up with Amazon in 1996. She stayed with the company until 2000. Her most recent work was with the National Resources Defense Council where she served as […]
    Hiroshi Yamauchi: Born: 1927-11-07 - Died: 2013-09-19
    Hiroshi Yamauchi was the third president of Nintendo, helming the company from 1949 to 2002. He is credited with turning the card-making company to the gaming giant that we know today. Yamauchi stepped down in 2002, handing the company over to Satoru Iwata. Yamauchi was also the majority owner in the Seattle Mariners and on […]
    Eiji Toyoda: Born: 1913-09-12 - Died: 2013-09-17
    Eiji Toyoda was a Toyota Motor Corporation executive and a founding member of the company’s Toyoda family. He served as the company’s president from 1967 until 1981, and then served as Toyota chairman until 1994.
    Ray Dolby: Born: 18-01-1933 - Died: 12-09-2013
    Ray Dolby was an American sound engineer who perfected recordings heard in iconic films such as “A Clockwork Orange” and “Star Wars”. He started Dolby laboratories in 1965 and won a Grammy, two Oscars, and several Emmys for his work in the field of sound.
    Cal Worthington: Born: 1920-11-27 - Died: 2013-09-8
    Cal Worthington, 92, was a famous car dealer on the West Coast. He perhaps is most famous for being one of the first car dealers to do television ads. He first sponsored entire programs in the early 50s, but soon moved on to producing car dealership ads that are still copied (and parodied) to this […]
    Ronald Coase: Born: 29-12-1910 - Died: 02-09-2013
    Ronald Coase was a famous economist who developed the Coase Theorem, which states that the problem of externalities—one person taking an action that causes a cost for someone else—can be fixed without government action as long as property rights are clearly defined and transaction costs are low. He was also considered to be the “father” […]
    R.J. Corman: Born: unknown - Died: 23-08-2013
    R.J. Corman was a Kentucky entrepreneur who started a multi-million dollar railroad company. With lines running in seven states, Corman’s company also offers construction and maintenance and 24-hour derailment services & cleanup, one of only two major companies to offer such a service. The company–which began as a backhoe service–currently employs more than 1,100 people […]
    Marc Rich: Born: 18-12-1934 - Died: 26-06-2013
    Marc Rich was an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman who founded the company Glencore. He became well-known in the ’80s for making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis, and fled to Switzerland for safety. He was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.
    Leonard Marsh: Born: 1933-01-05 - Died: 2013-05-21
    Leonard co-founded Snapple with Hyman Golden and Arnold Greenberg. The company introduced a line of juices in 1980. By 1987, they moved into Iced Tea as well. The slogan is “Made from the best stuff on Earth.”
    John Williamson: Born: unknown - Died: 24-03-2013
    John Williamson and his wife, Barbara, founded the Sandstone Retreat in Los Angeles with the intent to promote nudity and sexual liberty. The retreat was the subject of a documentary in 1975 about the sexual revolution.
    Jack Shea: Born: 1928-08-01 - Died: 2013-04-28
    Jack Shea was a TV and film director who also served as the president of the Directors Guild of America from 1997 to 2002. He is best known for his work on shows like The Jeffersons, Silver Spoons, and Growing Pains. As President of the DGA, Shea was an advocate for minority hiring.
    Al Neuharth: Born: 1924-03-22 - Died: 2013-04-19
    Al Neuharth was the founder of USA Today, and former chairman of Gannett. He was also a columnist From South Dakota, Neuharth started out co-founding SoDak Sports, a local newspaper covering the sports scene in South Dakota. It went bankrupt within a year, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a hugely successful publisher, obviously.
    Robert Earl Holding: Born: 1926-11-29 - Died: 2013-04-19
    Robert Earl Holding was an American businessman and billionaire. He owned many businesses, including Sinclair Oil, the Grand America Hotel, Little America Hotels, and two ski resorts.