Malcolm Forbes

Malcolm Forbes, Publisher, NYC

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Malcolm Forbes

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Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (August 19, 1919 - February 24, 1990) was publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B.C. Forbes and today run by his son Steve Forbes.

He was a graduate of the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, where he donated the money for Forbes College, one of the five residential colleges at the University. He received an honorary degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and was initiated as an honorary member of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau.


After dabbling in politics, including a term in the state legislature and candidacy for Governor of New Jersey, he committed to the magazine full time by 1957, three years after his father's death, and after the death of his brother Bruce Charles Forbes in 1964 acquired sole control of the company.

The magazine grew steadily under his leadership, and he diversified into real estate sales and other ventures. One of his last projects was the magazine Egg, which chronicled New York's nightlife. (The title had nothing to do with Forbes's famous Fabergé egg collection.)

Malcolm Forbes was legendary for his lavish lifestyle, his private Capitalist Tool B727 trijet, ever larger Highlander yachts, huge art collection, substantial collection of Harley-Davidson motorbikes, his French Chateau (near Bayeux, Normandy, in Balleroy), his collections of special shape hot air balloons and historical documents, as well as his opulent birthday parties.

He chose the Palais du Mendoub (which he had acquired from the Moroccan government in 1970) in the northwestern city of Tangier, Morocco to host his 70th birthday party. Spending an estimated $2.5 million, he chartered a Boeing 747, a DC-8 and a Concorde to fly in eight hundred of the world's rich and famous from New York and London. The guests included his friend Elizabeth Taylor (who acted as a co-host), Gianni Agnelli, Robert Maxwell, Barbara Walters, Henry Kissinger, half a dozen US state governors, the CEOs of scores of multinational corporations likely to advertise in his magazine. The party entertainment was on a grand scale, including 600 drummers, acrobats and dancers and a fantasia - a cavalry charge which ends with the firing of muskets into the air - by 300 Berber horsemen.

Malcolm Forbes became a motorcyclist late in life. He founded and rode with a motorcycle club called the Capitalist Tools. His estate in New Jersey was a regular meeting place for tours that he organized for fellow New Jersey and New York motorcyclists. He had a stable of motorcycles but was partial to Harley Davidson machines. He was known for his gift of Purple Passion, a Harley-Davidson, to actress Elizabeth Taylor. He was also instrumental in getting legislation passed to allow motorcycles on the cars-only Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.

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