Happy Birthday Kerry Packer: The Man Who Conquered His Death-Defying Life !

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“I don’t want to be left behind. In fact, I want to be here before the action starts.”

A clever business honcho, media tycoon, a behemoth of gambling, a philanthropist, nicknamed – the ‘Prince of Whales’Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer. A sick, lonely child, who harnessed the hugely influential media empire, led a death – defying life that still fascinates. A former cricketer, who modernised the game of cricket from posh to popular.

He inherited Australian Consolidated Press (ACP) from his father Sir Franck Packer. He was the former executive and chairman of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL).  The Packer Empire’s business comprises of TV Networks, magazines, petrochemicals, telecommunication, diamond exploration and heavy engineering. At the time of his death, he was one of the richest and most influential men in Australia.


Born: December 17th, 1957, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Died: 26th December 2005, Bellevue Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Net Worth: AU$6.9 billion

A media mogul and a Herculean gambler had many unknown aspects of his life under his sleeve; with my utmost effort I have tried to bring you the most interesting and lesser known facts about this motivational personality:

  • Had a rough childhood as he suffered a severe attack of poliomyelitis and pneumatic fever, spending nine months in the hospital, at the age of 8 year.
  • His father thought he was dumb and called him a ‘Family idiot’. Although Both Kerry and his father shared many similar attributes in terms of physical appearance and habit and both were the lover of the sports and also admired women.
  • He created ‘World Series Cricket’ in 1978-79 contracting the leading Players by offering them high salaries and attained the sole rights to broadcast the matches on channel Nine.
  • The World Series led to many legal disputes and Packer finally sold channel Nine to Alan Bond for whopping AU$ 1 billion and later he bought back his Channel Nine for only AU$250 million when Bond’s business was crumbling.
  • Once a Texan Oilmen tried to intimidate packer that he is worth $US60 million, Mr. Packer retorted: “Toss you for it” and the oilman walked away.
  • He was a heavy smoker, but unlike his father Kerry was not a drinker. In 1972 he was involved in a fatal car accident while he was drunk; as a result of which, he quit drinking.
  • His extra-marital affairs are not hidden, Carol Lopes an African-American model had a four year long affair with Packer.
  • In the late 40s of his age, Packer contracted Cancer in one of his Kidneys.
  • ‘Betting is like a disease, which is not understood by those who do not have it’- Packer. He reportedly once lost around $28 million at a Casino in London, while winning $20 million at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas.
  • This Business honcho also owns Australia’s largest casino, Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
  • Packer was also Australia’s largest land owners. Once a deposit of Rubies was found in one of his lands in 2003.
  • Packer was also interested in Polo and created Ellerson and Ellerstina that modernized the game immensely. He also suffered his first heart attack in 1990 whilst playing Polo.
  • He had a harsh personality and frequently interfered in the programming of his TV stations. In 1992 while Australia’s naughtiest home Videos was airing on TCN-9, he called his Sydney Station to take the show off the air immediately.
  • A philanthropist: Donated $30 million to cancer research, $10 million to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney and $2.5 million to the NSW Ambulance Service.
  • Once at MGM Grand casino, he admired the service of the waitress and tipped her with $150,000 to cover her mortgage. In another incident Packer accidently bumped into a cocktail waitress, causing her to spill her drinks tray. Packer asked her name and address and saw that her $130,000 mortgage was mopped off.
  • He was Australia’s Richest person when he died, with a net worth of AU$6.9 billion and was at the 94th position in the world’s richest man listed by Forbes in 2005.
  • Awards and recognition: He was awarded the A.C. (Companion of the Order of Australia) on January 26, 1983 for his services in media. And was awarded Australian Sport Medal in the 2001 Queen’s New Year’s Honor’s List for his services to the sports.
  • At the age of 56, he had lost weight, with the help of an acupuncturist, and abandoned his three-pack-a-day cigarette habit. Later on 26th December 2005 Parker died of kidney failure.

     “The good news is there’s no devil. The bad news is there’s no heaven. There’s nothing” – Packer


The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian AssangeSir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.


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