Kluge, the billionaire businessman who sold the Metromedia television stations
to Rupert Murdoch so he could start the Fox Broadcasting Co., died yesterday.
He was 95 years old.
born in Chemnitz, Germany, got into broadcasting by buying stock in
Metropolitan Broadcasting, which owned the former DuMont Network stations in
New York and Washington, D.C. He bought additional TV and radio stations and
changed the name of the company to Metromedia.
20th Century Fox studio bought the stations for $2 billion in 1986,
leaving Kluge as one of the richest men in America. After the sale,
Kluge's Metromedia operated a billboard company and had telecom
to the Washington Post, even as he accumulated wealth, the publicity-shy Kluge
was frugal in his business and personal life.
was headquartered in Secaucus, N.J., where rents were lower than in New York,
and Kluge kept costs down with his cut-rate approach to programming, according
to the Post.
the same time, the Post noted, he lived in a Manhattan apartment dubbed
"the satin citadel" by Vogue magazine, where trees grew out of the
Kluge was also a major philanthropist, giving
millions to the Library of Congress, Columbia University and the University of
"John Kluge was truly one of the
titans of the media world, whose influence as a pioneering businessman,
broadcaster and philanthropist will be felt for generations," said
of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton.