Biography

Rupert Murdoch: 93-year-old media tycoon who’s set to marry for the fifth time

Rupert Murdoch: 93-year-old media tycoon who's set to marry for the fifth time

Rupert Murdoch, the iconic media tycoon whose name has become synonymous with global media dominance, continues to captivate headlines even at 93. Amidst his towering legacy and enduring influence on the media landscape, Murdoch recently announced his intention to embark on a fifth marriage, this time to his girlfriend, Elena Zhukova, a retired molecular biologist.

From revolutionising the news industry to navigating the intricacies of family dynamics, Murdoch’s life story unfolds as a riveting saga of power, ambition, and enduring legacy.

Rupert Murdoch biography

a younger Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon whose empire stretched across continents, did not inherit wealth. Instead, a printing press was his cradle companion.

Murdoch was born on March 11, 1931, in Melbourne, Australia. He was not baptised Rupert; his given name was Keith Rupert. He later adopted his middle name. His father, Sir Keith Murdoch, was a notable figure in Australian media.

Initially a war correspondent, Sir Keith Murdoch transitioned into publishing, owning a string of newspapers, such as the Herald in Melbourne and the Courier-Mail in Brisbane. Murdoch’s mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch (née Greene), hailed from a prosperous family, further cementing his privileged upbringing.

Raised on a farm christened Cruden Farm (a nod to his parents’ Scottish ancestry), young Murdoch was steeped in the world of journalism. He attended Geelong Grammar School, a prestigious boarding school, where he refined his writing prowess, serving as co-editor of the school magazine and editor of the student journal.

Additionally, he worked part-time at the Melbourne Herald, gaining firsthand insight into the vibrant newspaper industry.

In 1949, Murdoch journeyed to England to enrol at Worcester College, Oxford University. There, he pursued studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Intriguingly, during this period, Murdoch developed an interest in leftist ideologies and even displayed a bust of Lenin in his room, earning him the moniker “Red Rupert” among his peers. Whether genuine curiosity or youthful rebellion, this phase was short-lived.

Upon graduating in 1953, Murdoch secured a role as a sub-editor at Lord Beaverbrook’s London Daily Express. Beaverbrook, a renowned media magnate, was famed for his sensationalist approach to journalism, prioritising bold headlines and captivating stories. Murdoch’s apprenticeship under Beaverbrook left an indelible mark, shaping his journalistic ethos in the years to come.

Tragedy struck in 1952 with the passing of Sir Keith Murdoch. In the wake of his father’s demise, Murdoch returned to Australia to inherit his first newspaper, the Adelaide News. This marked a pivotal juncture as the once somewhat rebellious student embraced his familial heritage.

He revitalised the Adelaide News, employing the sensationalist techniques gleaned from Beaverbrook. The newspaper flourished with its emphasis on crime, celebrity gossip, and attention-grabbing headlines.

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Rupert Murdoch career

Rupert Murdoch

The Australian media tycoon (1950s – 1970s)

Following his initial triumph with the Adelaide News, Murdoch cast his gaze towards grander objectives. He procured the Melbourne Herald in 1954 and The Daily Mirror in Sydney in 1956, establishing a formidable media stronghold in Australia’s key urban centres.

His approach remained consistent – provocative headlines, assertive cost-cutting and an emphasis on stories that captivated readers. Critics lamented his “dumbing down” of journalism, but Murdoch prioritised profits and popularity.

Crossing the pond: The British invasion (1960s – 1980s)

Murdoch’s aspirations extended beyond dominating Australia. In 1968, he turned his attention to the United Kingdom, acquiring the News of the World, a tabloid renowned for its scandalous tales and investigative journalism (later marred by phone-hacking scandals).

He persisted in his aggressive expansion, purchasing The Sun in 1969 and transforming it into Britain’s top-selling newspaper with its blend of scantily clad models, human-interest stories, and right-wing political leanings. Triumph in the UK cemented Murdoch’s stature as a global media magnate.

The American Dream (1970s – 2000s)

Murdoch’s sights then shifted to the expansive American market. He entered in 1974 with the acquisition of the San Antonio Light. However, his true American odyssey commenced in 1976 with the purchase of the struggling New York Post. He revitalised the paper with his signature formula, turning it into a profitable tabloid.

Yet Murdoch’s American aspirations transcended newspapers. In 1985, he executed a bold move, acquiring Twentieth Century Fox, a major Hollywood studio. This marked his entry into television and entertainment, a pivotal stride in constructing a diversified media empire.

Establishing television empire (1980s – 2000s)

Leveraging the Fox studio, Murdoch launched the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986. Challenging the established networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), Fox carved a niche with edgy programming and contentious shows, capturing a younger audience.

This success extended to cable television with the launch of Fox News Channel in 1996. Fox News, with its conservative stance and confrontational style, emerged as a dominant force in cable news, amassing a devoted audience and sparking vigorous debate regarding its journalistic integrity.

Global expansion

Murdoch expanded his television and satellite networks across Europe and Asia, acquiring interests in Sky Television in the UK and Star TV in Asia. This global outreach bestowed upon him immense power and influence, moulding news and entertainment consumption across continents.

Restructuring and controversies (2000s – 2020s)

Murdoch’s empire encountered trials in the 21st century. In 2013, his media holdings underwent restructuring, separating News Corporation (Newspapers & Publishing) from 21st Century Fox (Television & Entertainment). The phone-hacking scandal in the UK involving News of the World sullied his reputation, culminating in its closure in 2011.

In 2019, 21st Century Fox divested most of its entertainment assets to Disney for an astronomical $71.3 billion. Murdoch retained his position as chairman of the remaining Fox Corporation, encompassing Fox News and other television properties. He eventually relinquished his executive roles in 2023, signalling the end of an era.

Rupert Murdoch’s net worth

According to Forbes, Murdoch’s net worth is $19.8 billion.

Rupert Murdoch family

Murdoch’s personal life has been as captivating and newsworthy as his business ventures. With four marriages and six children, his family dynamics mirror the power struggles and ambitions evident within his media empire.

Marriages and divorces

  • Patricia Booker (1956-1967): Murdoch’s inaugural marriage took place in 1956 with Patricia Booker, an airline hostess. They welcomed one daughter, Prudence Murdoch, before parting ways in 1967.
  • Anna Torv (1967-1999): In the same year as his divorce from Booker, Murdoch wedded Anna Torv, a journalist employed by his Sydney newspaper. Their 32-year union produced three children: Elisabeth Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, and James Murdoch. However, the seemingly stable relationship came to a highly publicised and costly end in 1999, with Anna receiving a record-breaking settlement of $1.2 billion.
  • Wendi Deng (1999-2013): A mere 17 days following his divorce from Torv, Murdoch tied the knot with Wendi Deng, a Chinese-born businesswoman considerably his junior. They had two daughters, Grace and Chloe Murdoch. Their marriage raised eyebrows due to the significant age gap and Wendi’s perceived influence within Murdoch’s enterprises. Their union ended in 2013.
  • Jerry Hall (2016-2022): Defying expectations once more, Murdoch married former supermodel, Jerry Hall, in 2016, in a ceremony held at Spencer House in London. This fourth marriage surprised many but endured until their divorce in 2022.

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Children

  • Prudence Murdoch: The eldest offspring, Prudence has largely remained out of the public eye and is not engaged in the media business.
  • Elisabeth Murdoch: Elisabeth, a producer and businesswoman, heads her own production company and participates in numerous philanthropic endeavours.
  • Lachlan Murdoch: Regarded as the favoured successor of Murdoch’s enterprises, Lachlan presently serves as co-chairman of News Corp and Chairman & CEO of Fox Corporation. He previously held executive roles within the company but departed in 2005, only to return in 2007.
  • James Murdoch: Once seen as a potential successor, James occupied various executive positions within News Corp before departing in 2012 due to disagreements with his father regarding editorial direction. He has since pursued other media ventures and is an outspoken critic of certain conservative media outlets.
  • Grace and Chloe Murdoch: Still in their youth, Grace and Chloe are not directly involved in the media business but are beneficiaries of trusts established by their father.

Rupert Murdoch and Elena Zhukova

Rupert Murdoch and Elena Zhukova

In March 2024, Murdoch revealed his intention to marry his partner, Elena Zhukova, aged 67, a retired molecular biologist whom he began dating in the summer months.

Their wedding, set for June 2024, would mark the culmination of a tumultuous romantic journey leading to Murdoch’s fifth marriage. This narrative has often thrust him into the spotlight of tabloid gossip, an industry he helped shape.

The introduction to Zhukova came via Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, as reported by The Daily Mail in August 2023 when news of their relationship surfaced.

Zhukova made her mark as a molecular biologist, specialising in diabetes research, including having stints at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rupert Murdoch age

Murdoch was born on March 11, 1931. He is 93 years old as of 2024.

Rupert Murdoch now

Rupert Murdoch now

Rupert Murdoch is in the news for wanting to get married at 93, which will be his fifth marriage.

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