TCM will honor its founder Ted Turner at the 10th annual TCM Classic Film Festival with an exclusive interview and video tribute premiering on opening night of the Festival. For more information, click here.
Without Ted Turner, there would be no Turner Classic Movies. The same maverick vision that launched the SuperStation concept, the first 24-hour cable news channel and major peace and environmental initiatives, seized the opportunity to buy the MGM film library in 1986. With that purchase Turner acquired one of the world’s greatest classic film libraries, with treasures from MGM, RKO and pre-1950 Warner Bros. He brought those films to new audiences first through the creation of TNT in 1989 and then the launch of Turner Classic Movies on April 14, 1994, which earned a Peabody Institutional Award in 2008 for its commitment to no commercials and original intros and outros—a commitment the network continues to follow today. In addition, through his Turner Entertainment Company, Turner has been a leader in the restoration and rediscovery of classic films. He was born November 19, 1938, in Cincinnati, OH, the son of billboard magnate Robert Edward Turner II. He started out managing the Turner Advertising Company’s Macon, Georgia office in 1960, then took over the company following his father’s death in 1963. In 1970, Turner purchased a struggling UHF station in Atlanta, WJRJ Channel 17, and changed the call letters to WTCG (“Watch This Channel Grow”). He created the first SuperStation in 1976, when he began satellite transmission of WTCG to cable systems around the world. The programming was a combination of old movies, syndicated TV series and sports featuring the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks, which he bought in 1976 and 1977, respectively. He rebranded the network WTBS (Turner Broadcasting System) in 1978. The increase in viewership and ad revenues allowed him to expand with the creation of CNN, the world’s first live, 24-hour global news network in 1980. That was followed by the launch of CNN Headline News, CNN International, TNT, The Cartoon Network and TCM. Turner Broadcasting merged with Time-Warner in 1996 and then with AOL in 2001. Turner continued his association with Time-Warner until he announced his departure in 2006. Since leaving the company he founded, Turner has continued and expanded on his philanthropic efforts, including the Turner Foundation, which has donated more than $380 million to environmental organizations; the Captain Planet Foundation, which supports environmental projects for children and youth; the Turner Endangered Species Fund; The United Nations Foundation; and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. His work has been honored with the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation’s Renaissance Man of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Overseas Press Club, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.