Sumner M. Redstone Biography
A native Bostonian, Sumner M.. Redstone began his education at Boston Latin School, where he graduated first in his class with the highest GPA in the school's 300-year history.
He attended Harvard College, where he was selected by Japanese history professor Edwin Reischauer (later Ambassador to Japan) to join a special intelligence group whose mission was to break Japan's high-level military and diplomatic codes during World War II. In connection with these activities, Mr. Redstone received, among other honors, two commendations from the Military Intelligence Division in recognition of his service, contribution and devotion to duty. He is also a recipient of the Army Commendation Award.
In 1944, after studying for two and one-half years at Harvard College, he was awarded a degree by Harvard University's Special Board of Overseers. In 1947, Mr. Redstone received his LL.B. from the Harvard University School of Law.
Mr. Redstone began his career as law secretary with the U.S. Court of Appeals, during which time he also taught at the University of San Francisco. He then served as a special assistant to the U.S. Attorney General. Subsequently, he was a partner with the law firm of Ford, Bergson, Adams, Borkland and Redstone in Washington, D.C. In 1954, he joined National Amusements, Inc., which is now one of the largest motion picture circuits in the United States.
Mr. Redstone has played a significant role in the affairs of the entertainment and communications industries. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation and is on the board of trustees for The Paley Center for Media. He also served as chairman of the board of the National Association of Theatre Owners, and currently is a member of the executive committee of that organization. Before that, he was president of the Theatre Owners of America.
In 1982, he joined the faculty of the Boston University School of Law, where he created one of the nation's first courses in entertainment law. Mr. Redstone pioneered the school’s curriculum for protecting intellectual property in the entertainment industry, which continues to be one of the school’s strengths.
Mr. Redstone enjoys and takes pride in teaching college students, and in addition to Boston University, he has lectured at a variety of universities, including Harvard Law School and Brandeis University. In 2006, Mr. Redstone also received an honorary degree from George Washington University.
Mr. Redstone currently serves as executive chairman of the Board of both CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS and CBS.A) and Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA.B and VIA). He is the controlling shareholder of both companies through National Amusements Inc., a leading theatrical exhibition company based in Dedham, MA.
In addition to his well known success in the media industry, through the Sumner Redstone Charitable Foundation and personal donations, Mr. Redstone has devoted himself to a wide variety of civic and community affairs efforts, contributing over $130 million to worthy charities around the world over the last several years. He has donated $2.1 million to the Global Poverty Project towards eradicating polio and funded the establishment of the Cambodian Children’s Fund child rescue center along with research and patient care advancements in cancer, burn recovery and mental health at several major non-profit healthcare organizations. Many of his major gifts have been focused on encouraging the acceleration of basic research into clinical trials and, ultimately, to individuals and their families.
Mr. Redstone has supported such internationally recognized programs as A Place Called Home, The Child Rescue Association of North America, Autism Speaks, FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions, based in Washington D.C.; the prostate cancer research of Dr. David Agus at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine; the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts; Boston Latin School and Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has also an active supporter of Los Angeles-based organizations such as Friendly House and the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars Sinai.
He is a member of the board of overseers of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and currently serves as honorary chairman of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. He is a member of the Corporation of the Massachusetts General Hospital and is on the board of overseers of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He is a member of the executive board of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Mr. Redstone has served as the chairman of the Jimmy Fund (Children's Cancer Research Foundation), and was a member of the Corporation of the New England Medical Center. He is a former chairman of the Metropolitan Division of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
During the Carter Administration, he was appointed a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in 1984, was appointed a director of the Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. He also has served as a judge on the Foundation's selection committee to award the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, each year since the Award's inception in 1990.
Mr. Redstone’s autobiography, A Passion to Win, was published in 2001.