- Date of Birth:
- June 6, 1917
Kirk Kerkorian (born Kerkor Kerkorian on June 6, 1917 in Fresno, California) was an American businessman. In order to avoid getting drafted into the infantry in World War II, Kirk got his commercial pilot’s license and began flying professionally. After the war, Kirk bought a plane and frequently flew to Las Vegas to gamble. He gave up gambling in 1947 and bought Trans International Airlines, a small air-charter service that flew gamblers from L.A. to Las Vegas. He sold the company in 1968 for $104 million. In 1962, Kirk bought land on the Las Vegas strip. He rented the land to Ceasers Palace, eventually selling the plot for $9 million. Kirk then built International Hotel in 1967, which, at the time, was the largest hotel in the world. The first two performers at the International were Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley. In 1969, Kirk bought the MGM movie studio and opened the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. He sold it in 1986 for $594 million. That same year, Kirk sold MGM to Ted Turner. MGM would be sold back to Kirk in 1996, but he would sell it ten years later to Sony. Kirk flirted with the U.S. Auto Industry, attempting to buy Chrysler in 2007, and Ford Motor in 2008. That year, Kirk’s net worth was 16.0 billion. However, five years later, he was only valued at 3.9 billion. Kirk died in his home in Beverly Hills on June 15, 2015.
Best Known For:
Kirk Kerkorian is best known as a successful American businessman who helped shaped the look of Las Vegas.
Kirk was an avid tennis player. He was also married three times – first to Hilda Schmidt, from 1942 to 1952. Kirk was with dancer Jean Maree Harbour-Hardy from 1954 to 1984. They had two daughters together, Tracy and Linda. His third marriage to professional tennis player, Lisa Bonder, lasted only a month. Kirk founded the Lincy Foundation, to donate over $1 billion to charity.