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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 2 February 1907Portland, Oregon, USA
Date of Death 1 June 1993Beverly Hills, California, USA
Birth NameNorton Glickman

Mini Bio (1)

Born into a moderately wealthy Jewish family in Portland, Oregon, Simon was largely raised in the San Francisco area and ultimately detoured from his family's planned career in law, dropping out of his second year at University of California at Berkeley to found a sheet metal distribution company in 1924. This was his first taste of success and led to him coming across a bankrupt orange juice bottling plant in Fullerton, California, which he bought for $7,000 in 1927 and renamed Val Vita Food Products. Simon quickly moved to expand into canning and added a variety of vegetables to the product line. In a shrewd move, he sold the company to Hunt Inc. in exchange for controlling interest in both companies. In 1943, he changed the name of the food division to Hunt Foods Inc. and operated under a strict system of cost controls and revolutionary (for a vegetable company, at least) advertising by featuring their canned products prominently in full-page ads in national magazines. As business flourished, Simon diversified his interests into a self-named holding company that could have been a textbook lesson for Warren Buffett decades later. Norton Simon Inc. was in publishing (owning McCall's), rental cars (Avis), beverages (Canada Dry) and cosmetics (Max Factor) and had extensive interests overseas. Simon himself became seriously interested in art and began amassing an enviable collection, which spanned impressionism, old masters, native American, and modern forms. This private collection grew so vast that, by the early 1970s, he was actively seeking a way to display it publicly. He was approached by the financially strapped Pasadena Museum of Modern Art in 1974, and a deal was struck for renaming rights. The billionaire's life was not without turmoil, however; in 1969, his wife Lucille divorced him, and his son Robert committed suicide soon after. He elected to retire from business that year and accepted a number of board memberships at various colleges. Simon married the actress Jennifer Jones in 1971, and they remained happily together until the end of his life. Simon died on June 1, 1993, in Beverly Hills.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: jbacks3-1

Spouse (2)

Jennifer Jones (30 May 1971 - 1 June 1993) (his death)
Lucille Ellis Simon (3 February 1933 - 1970) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (5)

Established the Norton Simon Art Museum in Pasadena, California.
Stepfather of Robert Walker Jr. and Michael Walker.
Simon met actress Jennifer Jones at a party hosted by fellow industrialist/art collector Walter Annenberg.
Years before he'd met future wife Jennifer Jones, he had attempted to buy the portrait of her used in the film Portrait of Jennie (1948).
Only son, Robert, committed suicide in 1969.

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