SUMMARY: Malcolm Forbes (August 19, 1919 – February 24, 1990) publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B.C. Forbes and today run by his son Steve Forbes.
Malcolm Forbes Quotes
Malcolm Forbes Books
Many people know of Forbes Magazine and the millions of dollars in revenue it generates a year. Most people know of Steve Forbes, the son of the late Malcolm Forbes. Those who do know of Malcolm Forbes knew of his lavish 70th birthday party in Morocco or knew of his successes as the publisher for Forbes magazine for 33 years. Forbes was also a less than successful politician for New Jersey. However despite his successes, it was his lavish lifestyle that caught the attention of many people.
Malcolm Forbes was born in New York City on August 19, 1919 to Scottish immigrant, B.C. Forbes. B.C. Forbes founded Forbes magazine in 1917. Malcolm Forbes grew up in New Jersey with 4 brothers. He attended Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He graduated in 1941 with his Bachelor of Arts degree. Shortly after, he joined the U.S. Army and was wounded shortly before the Battle of the Buldge. He was awarded the Purple Heart and a bronze star for demonstrating initiative, alert action and resourcefulness.
Forbes returned home from the Army with an honorable discharge and began work for his father at Forbes magazine. He married Roberta Remsen Laidlaw in 1941; the two were married for 39 years before they eventually divorced. In 1951, Forbes began his political career, being voted into the New Jersey State Senate. He also ran for the Governor of New Jersey in 1957, but was defeated. He remained in the Senate until 1958.
In 1954, Malcolm was named Editor and Publisher of Forbes magazine after the death of his father, B.C. Forbes. In 1964, he acquired sole ownership of the company with the passing of his brother, Bruce Charles Forbes. The death of his family members left Forbes with a rich inheritance. Forbes also obtained millions by dabbling in real estate sales and other ventures.
The Party Life
Forbes was often seen with Elizabeth Taylor, but consistently denied rumors of a relationship. In 1973, Forbes became the first person to fly across America in a hot air balloon. To recognize this accomplishment, President Ford awarded him the Harmon Trophy in 1975. In 1974, Forbes was named to the Board of Directors for the Balloon Federation of America. In 1975, he became a member of the Board of Directors for the National Aeronautic Association and later was elected Executive Vice President.
Forbes earned the nickname “the happiest millionaire” for his flamboyant lifestyle and lavish parties. Forbes was a constant fixture at NYC’s famous “Cat Club” on Wednesday nights. Later in life Forbes became a motorcycle fan and invested in several Harley Davidson motorcycles. He founded the motorcycle club, The Capalitist Tools. Forbes estate in New Jersey was also a regular meeting spot for motorcycle conventions. Many know of his gift, Purple Passion a Harley-Davidson, to Elizabeth Taylor. In 1999 he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
The Last Party
Malcolm Forbes last birthday party was thrown in Morocco in September 1989, for his 70th birthday. This was perhaps one of the most lavish parties ever thrown and those who were not invited surely knew what they missed. In 1990, Forbes died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Far Hills, New Jersey. Shortly after his death, an article by OutWeek covered his life, “The Secret Life of Malcolm Forbes”. In the article written by Michelangelo Signorile, he “outed” Forbes as a gay man.
Forbes was a respected individual by George Bush and Ronald Reagan. In fact, they both said he was a “dear friend, who would be greatly missed.” Forbes time with the publishing world has inspired business leaders across America. Forbes legacy on the publishing, political and “party world” will remain a fragment of history that greatly impacted the United States.