(LOS ANGELES) — Sumner M. Redstone, the media mogul who turned his father’s drive-in theater into National Amusements, a powerhouse company the assets of which span nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry, has died. 

The WWII veteran and Harvard Law graduate was 97, and reportedly died at his home in Beverly Hills, according to a statement from ViacomCBS. 

Redstone served as chairman of Viacom from 1987 to 2016, and as CEO from 1996 to 2005. “Under his leadership, Viacom acquired brands that make the ViacomCBS portfolio strong today — including MTV in 1985, Paramount Pictures in 1994, and BET in 2001,” the statement reads, noting his passing “with profound sadness.” 

Redstone — whose mantra “content is king,” along with his business savvy, built one of the largest portfolios of assets in the world of motion pictures and television — was a self-made billionaire whose legacy and influence will continue through his daughter, Shari, who is the chair of ViacomCBS, and son Tyler.  The pair will continue to oversee National Amusements’ portfolio. 

In a statement from ViacomCBS, Shari Redstone said, “My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy. Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”

By Stephen Iervolino
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