West End Native & Media Magnate Sumner Redstone is the subject of Keach Hagey’s new book The King of Content. Author Hagey will give a talk at the West End Museum on July 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
An indisputable media giant, Sumner Redstone is one of the West End’s most famous sons, alongside Leonard Nimoy and Buddy Clark, yet he has long kept that part of his life under wraps. In her new book The King of Content, author Keach Hagey reveals those roots and other secrets in the life of this controversial figure.
On July 17, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., The West End Museum will host an evening with Hagey, who is also a Wall Street Journal reporter. She was part of the team that won the “Best in Business” award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for its coverage of the power struggle inside the multinational media conglomerate, Viacom. Hagey will read from and discuss her book, which will be available for purchase and signing. The event is free and open to the public.
“The West End profoundly influenced the person he [Redstone] became,” said Hagey. “Even after he became one of the richest people in America, he never stopped seeing himself as a person who grew up with the shared bathroom down the hall, as it was in his earliest years in the West End’s Charlesbank Homes tenement.”
The King of Content takes readers on the journey of Redstone’s life from his humble beginnings in the West End to his rise in Boston and Washington, D.C. to his successes in American business, while also exposing details of his personal relationships and revelations about his father’s business dealings. Today, at age 95, Redstone is going through relentless legal battles over his assets, including Viacom, CBS, and Paramount Pictures.
Born and raised in the West End, Redstone made his educational journey from Boston Latin School to Harvard College to Harvard Law School, with a stint in the army as a lieutenant in World War II. He went on to join his father’s theater chain, National Amusements, and became its CEO in 1967. Wanting to expand the company and realizing “content is king” – a phrase Redstone coined – he bought stock in such ventures as Columbia Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Orion Pictures, and Paramount Pictures. In a hostile takeover, he obtained voting control of Viacom. Redstone is currently chairman of both CBS and Viacom.