Malcolm Forbes

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Malcolm Forbes
Born Malcolm Stevenson Forbes
(1919-08-19)August 19, 1919[1]
Brooklyn, New York
Died February 24, 1990(1990-02-24) (aged 70)
Far Hills, New Jersey
Nationality American
Education A.B., 1941. Political science
Alma mater Lawrenceville School, Princeton University[1]
Occupation Publisher, businessman
Known for Promotion of capitalism, lavish lifestyle, art collection, motorcycling, ballooning[1]
Net worth $400 million to $1 billion[1]
Term New Jersey State Senator (1951–58)[1]
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roberta Remsen Laidlaw
Children Steve Forbes, Christopher Forbes
Parent(s) B. C. Forbes
Relatives Forbes family (publishers)
Awards Motorcycle Hall of Fame 1999[2]
New Jersey Hall of Fame 2008
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1941–1946[3]
Rank Staff sergeant[3]
Unit 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division[3]
Awards Bronze Star Medal[3]
Purple Heart[3]

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (August 19, 1919 – February 24, 1990) was an American entrepreneur most prominently known as the publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market trade, and for an extravagant lifestyle, spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, and Fabergé eggs.

Life and career

Forbes was born on August 19, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Adelaide (Stevenson) and Scottish-born financial journalist and author B. C. Forbes. He graduated from the Lawrenceville School in 1937[4] and Princeton University.[5] Forbes enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served as a machine gun sergeant in Europe. Forbes received a thigh wound in combat, and received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.[5]

Forbes headquarters, New York City

After dabbling in politics, including service in the New Jersey Senate from 1951 to 1957 and candidacy for Governor of New Jersey,[5] he committed to the magazine full-time by 1957, three years after his father's death. After the death of his brother Bruce Charles Forbes in 1964, he 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 had a lavish lifestyle, exemplified by his private Capitalist Tool Boeing 727 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. Additionally in the mid-1960s he was a fixture at NYC's famous Cat Club on Wednesday nights, supporting local musical talents.

He chose the Palais 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, and 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.

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. He was inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.[2] In 2008, he was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[6]


Forbes died in 1990 of a heart attack, at his home in Far Hills, New Jersey.[5] In March 1990, soon after his death, OutWeek magazine published a story with the cover headline "The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes," by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man.[7] Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicize many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret. The writer asked, "Is our society so overwhelmingly repressive that even individuals as all-powerful as the late Malcolm Forbes feel they absolutely cannot come out of the closet?"[8] Even in death, the media was reluctant to disclose his sexuality; the New York Times would refer only to him as a "famous, deceased millionaire"[7] while reporting on the controversy. Since Malcolm Forbes' death, the magazine business is run by his son Steve Forbes and granddaughter Moira Forbes.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Malcolm S. Forbes". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Malcolm Forbes at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Malcolm Stevenson Forbes". Hall of Fame. National Balloon Museum. 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "NOTABLE ALUMNI". The Lawrenceville School. Retrieved October 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Malcolm Forbes, Publisher, Dies at 70". New York Times. February 26, 1990. Retrieved 2010-10-03. Malcolm Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Magazine and a flamboyant multimillionaire whose enthusiastic pursuits included yachting, motorcycling and ballooning, died Saturday of a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Far Hills, N.J. ... Young Forbes attended the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, where he majored in politics and economics.... Entering politics in 1949, he was elected to the Borough Council in Bernardsville, N.J., and from 1951 to 1957 served in the New Jersey Senate and then ran for governor on the Republican ticket with a pledge of 'No State Income Tax.'<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Rothman, Carly (5 May 2008). "Bruce leads first group of inductees into New Jersey Hall of Fame". The Newark Star Ledger. Retrieved 17 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 Gabriel Rotello (May 1990). "The ethics of "outing": Breaking the silence code on homosexuality". FineLine: the Newsletter on Journalism Ethics. Archived at Indiana University School of Journalism ethics cases online. 2 (2): 6. Retrieved 2007-12-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Signorile, Michelangelo (March 18, 1990). "The Other Side of Malcolm Forbes" (PDF). Outweek (38): 40–45.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Paul L. Troast
Republican Nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
James P. Mitchell