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John W. Kluge, Telecom Billioniare, Dies At 95

John W. Kluge, a self-made billionaire who became a leading entrepreneur and a major benefactor of the Library of Congress, Columbia University and the University of Virginia, has died.

Mr. Kluge accumulated more than 200 companies in his lifetime, including several television stations he sold to Rupert Murdoch in the mid-1980s, forming the foundation of the Fox network.

The stations were part of Mr. Kluge's Metromedia telecommunications conglomerate that at one time included the Ice Capades, Harlem Globetrotters, and Playbill magazine.

He was born in Germany and moved to the United States shortly after his father died. Mr. Kluge left home at 16 and worked on a Ford assembly line before winning a scholarship to Columbia University.

He graduated with an economics degree in 1937 and supplemented his tuition with $7,000 in winnings from poker.

Mr. Kluge began accumulating radio stations with his Army discharge money after World War II.

"Work isn't really work for me," Mr. Kluge told Forbes in 1990. "I didn't think I've ever really 'worked' in my life, because 'work' to me means that you're really doing something that you don't like. I hate to tell you this, but I've never liked the weekend in my life. I was enthusiastic about Monday morning from the day I left college."

Updated: A full obituary by contributor Terence McArdle is now on our main page. Please leave your memories or thoughts on Mr. Kluge's life below.

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  September 8, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  | Tags: Columbia University, Fox News, John Kluge, John Kluge died, Rupert Murdoch, UVa  
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Comments

Conservatives repeal the estate tax in 2010.

Mr. Kluge joins a long list of billionaires to die in 2010.

Will an independent organization perform an autopsy on Mr. Kluge's remains?

Posted by: MarkinJC | September 9, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

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