COMING SOON: Biography of self-made billionaire Kirk Kerkorian
My latest project is the incredible rags-to-riches story of Kirk Kerkorian — the daring aviator, gambler and business tycoon — who bet billions based on gut instincts in a career spanning eight decades. He became one of America’s richest and least-known financial giants, transforming Las Vegas with mega-resort hotels and casinos, bringing change to Hollywood as he bought and sold MGM Studios three times, and shaking-up Detroit trying to buy all three major car companies. The cast of characters in his story includes business titans Howard Hughes, Ted Turner and Steve Wynn, and celebrities Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley.
I have to admit, his story has been a challenge for this investigative reporter. He made few public appearances and strenuously avoided personal publicity. As billionaires go, he couldn’t have been more unlike Donald Trump. But he was no eccentric recluse like Hughes, either. This son of poor immigrant farmers from Armenia simply liked to walk and jog in his Beverly Hills neighborhood unrecognized, to attend a movie in nearby Westwood Village without the paparazzi, to be just a guy named Kirk.
When he died last year at the age of 98, Kirk had outlived many of his friends, family and business associates. But pieces of his life story have been found scattered in war records, corporate archives and court documents, in yellowed news clippings and the recorded memories of old pals and relatives.
Some of the most valuable stories and insights have been shared with me by insiders of all ranks who say they want the legacy of Kirk Kerkorian preserved for history.
Publisher HarperCollins has scheduled its release for January 23, 2018. The book’s title is The Gambler: How penniless dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History. Here’s a preview of this work in progress…