American media giant Sumner Redstone has died at the age of 97.
Redstone belongs to a generation of media moguls who shaped the modern entertainment industry.
He took over his father’s drive-in movie theatre business National Amusements and turned it into a multi-billion dollar cinema and media empire – controlling names including Viacom, Paramount Pictures, CBS Corp and MTV.
Redstone is credited with helping save cinema by developing the multiplex model in the 1960s, bringing movies into shopping malls and having more than one screen per site, BBC writes.
His company eventually spanned the worlds of film, TV and publishing. It controlled TV networks Comedy Central and Nickelodeon and the Blockbuster video rental chain, and helped usher programmes like The Big Bang Theory and CSI into US homes, and blockbusters like Titanic and Top Gun to the silver screen.
His fearsome and fearless approach saw him take on top film executives and even feud with family members.
The news of his death was confirmed on Wednesday by ViacomCBS. Chief executive Bob Bakish described Redstone as “a brilliant visionary, operator and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio”.
His once-estranged daughter, Shari Redstone, who effectively took over the business as her father’s health deteriorated, said she was “so proud to be his daughter”.