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Few could lay claim to living the American Dream of fame and financial success, but hotelier and casino mogul Donald Trump did - though his prosperity was not without its consequences. Trump, or "The Donald" as he was famously dubbed by ex-wife Ivana, mastered the art of deal making, starting with utilizing his inherent ruthlessness and cunning. A success in the business world, Trump also managed to become famous for his brazen and unabashed personality, allowing him to be both darling and dupe of the media. Never one to miss the hottest trend, Trump jumped on board the reality television bandwagon, starring in and producing the NBC series "The Apprentice" (2004- ), a surprise hit that forever etched Trump's infamous catchphrase, "You're fired!" into the cultural lexicon. Though he waged public feuds with both ex-wives, as well as celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell and former beauty queens like Carrie Prejean, there was no denying that Trump was a massive force in both business and entertainment for decades.Born on June 14, 1946 in New York, NY, Trump represented the third generation of businessmen in his family. His grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1885 and...
Few could lay claim to living the American Dream of fame and financial success, but hotelier and casino mogul Donald Trump did - though his prosperity was not without its consequences. Trump, or "The Donald" as he was famously dubbed by ex-wife Ivana, mastered the art of deal making, starting with utilizing his inherent ruthlessness and cunning. A success in the business world, Trump also managed to become famous for his brazen and unabashed personality, allowing him to be both darling and dupe of the media. Never one to miss the hottest trend, Trump jumped on board the reality television bandwagon, starring in and producing the NBC series "The Apprentice" (2004- ), a surprise hit that forever etched Trump's infamous catchphrase, "You're fired!" into the cultural lexicon. Though he waged public feuds with both ex-wives, as well as celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell and former beauty queens like Carrie Prejean, there was no denying that Trump was a massive force in both business and entertainment for decades.
Born on June 14, 1946 in New York, NY, Trump represented the third generation of businessmen in his family. His grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1885 and started his career by running the Arctic Restaurant and Hotel in British Columbia during the Yukon Gold Rush of 1896-97. His father, Frederick Trump, was a successful real estate developer and builder of affordable housing in areas such as Flat Bush, Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst. Young Donald assisted his father with various business ventures, and in the process, learned how to recognize the art of a good deal. After graduating from New York Military Academy in 1964, Trump studied finance at the renowned Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon returning to New York, Trump eased his way through the upper crest by joining an exclusive club on the condition that he not steal the wives of older members. He used his membership as a means to an end, making all the right contacts from whence his empire would be born.
The membership was a good move. Trump became one of the premier real estate tycoons in the early 1980s by amassing properties in New York City, including Trump Tower and Trump Plaza. He also delved into the casino business, where his name was emblazoned on the only three five-star casino-hotels in Atlantic City. Trump continued to score with the publication of his first autobiography, The Art of the Deal (1987), which sold in excess of 3 million copies, settling on the bestseller list for a comfortable 32 weeks. Three more books followed, though none were as successful as the first: Surviving at the Top (1990), The Art of Survival (1991) and The Art of the Comeback (1997). He later followed up with his first political manifesto, The America We Deserve (2000). Throughout the 1980s, the mogul also saw the downside of fame firsthand, watching as his name was continually splashed across tabloids due to his rocky separation and divorce from first wife Ivana, following tabloid rumors that he was having an affair with former beauty queen, Marla Maples. After a much-reported confrontation between the two women on the slopes of Aspen, Trump and his soon-to-be first ex-wife embarked on a messy divorce that was quickly settled following the death of Ivana's father.
Though the terms of the settlement remain sealed, it was rumored Trump had to cough up $20 million, homes in Connecticut and Palm Beach, a six-figure monthly stipend and all of her jewelry. Meanwhile, despite a long-string of daring successes and a life at the top of the real estate world, Trump's fortunes came crashing down in 1990 when he was forced to file bankruptcy after a loss of over two-thirds of his net worth, or $1.5 billion. True to his hard-edged style, Trump fought back and returned his net worth to a more relaxing $3 billion. In 1993, he married Maples, only to divorce her six years later after having one daughter, Tiffany. Throughout the decade, Trump made several film and television appearances as himself, although most times he presented a caricature of his persona onscreen. He delivered cameos in movies like "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" (1992), "Celebrity" (1998) and "54" (1998), while playing Waldo's dad in the film version of "The Little Rascals" (1994). Trump also made small screen appearances on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96), "The Nanny" (CBS, 1993-2000) and "Spin City" (ABC, 1996-2002).
But for most of the late 1990s and into the 21st century, Trump remained largely out of the public eye. His comeback arrived in the form of a new reality program, "The Apprentice," which captured the public's attention from the first. On the show, 16 contestants - eight men; eight women - competed against each other to become the president of one of Trump's companies and recipient of a $250,000 annual salary. Each episode featured Trump assigning the teams with tasks to complete, including everything from selling lemonade on the NY streets to renting swanky apartment buildings for $20,000 a night. At the close of each episode, Trump brought all the contestants to the board room where he summarily "fired" one in business-like fashion. The surprise hit become one of the leading lights of reality series television and a tent-pole property for NBC, which later launched a less successful spin-off version starring Martha Stewart that they failed to bring back for a second season following a fallout out between the two billionaires.
The Donald's public profile was reestablished and he reveled in the limelight, using his pop cultural cachet to fuel projects big and small; from merchandising tie-ins to major corporate undertakings. He was, however, never without his controversies. Trump found himself in financial trouble yet again when the threat of bankruptcy loomed over his empire once more. His ailing Atlantic City casinos were swamped by $1.8 billion of debt. The entrepreneur again fought to stave off bankruptcy proceedings by seeking a $400 million cash infusion. Helpful was his continued "Apprentice" success and his continually colorful personal life, following his over-the-top, star-studded marriage to Slovenian model-actress, Melania Knauss, in January, 2005. Twenty-four years his junior, Knauss gave birth to Trump's fifth child, Barron William Trump, in March 2006. That year also welcomed Trump back into the tabloid press when he publicly feuded with Rosie O'Donnell, then the most vocal of the hosts on "The View" (ABC, 1997- ). O'Donnell criticized Trump for giving Miss USA winner, Tara Conner, a second chance after her admission to drinking and partying in violation of pageant rules. Trump countered that he decided to let Conner retain her crown while she sought rehabilitation. A public war erupted between the two hot-headed New Yorkers, with Trump threatening to sue while calling O'Donnell a loser after she called him a snake-oil salesman and mocked his iconic comb-over hair style.
Meanwhile, questions emerged whether or not "The Apprentice" would return to NBC's lineup amidst flagging ratings. In May 2007, he announced that he was leaving the show to pursue other television ventures, only to find NBC wanting to continue on without him. Less than two weeks after his announced departure, Trump said he would return for a seventh season as host. Meanwhile, as an avid wrestling fan and friend of World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, Vince McMahon, Trump had long been associated with the sport, having hosted the WBF Championship at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City in 1991. In 2007, Trump was brought into the ongoing soap opera-like storyline for the "Battle of the Billionaires," which pitted wrestler Umaga, representing McMahon, against Bobby Lashley, who represented Trump. When Lashely won, Trump stepped into the ring to assist the wrestler in shaving McMahon's head bald. Meanwhile, he revamped "The Apprentice" to become "The Celebrity Apprentice," which featured C-list celebs competing against each other for donation money to their favorite charities, as well as the assistance of his grown children with first wife Ivana, Ivanka and Donald, Jr. - both of whom were following in their father's corporate footsteps. In its first season - really season seven of "The Apprentice" - British tabloid editor and "America's Got Talent" judge Piers Morgan won for his charity, the Intrepid Fallen Her s Fund, which raised money for soldiers seriously wounded in the line of duty. The following season, plastic-faced comedian Joan Rivers won for God's Love We Deliver, which provided meals and nutritional counseling for people living with life-altering illnesses.
As the owner of the Miss Universe Organization, Trump had the privilege of introducing the world to the winners of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. But in 2009, Miss California USA and Miss USA runner-up, Carrie Prejean, found herself embroiled in controversy after fielding a question from Internet blogger Perez Hilton about gay marriage. Her response that she believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, sparked outrage among supporters of same-sex marriage. While Prejean alleged that the pageant tried to prevent her from talking about her faith, Trump rose to Prejean's defense and declared that she had done a "wonderful job." Meanwhile, revealing photos of Prejean were released online, which eventually led to her being stripped of her Miss California USA crown for breach of contract; a move backed by Trump after he initially stated that she would retain her title. Prejean later sued the pageant's production company while fighting off a countersuit, only to settle for undisclosed terms when the release of an old sex tape seemed imminent. Prejean's confrontational appearance on "Larry King Live" (CNN, 1985- ) only added fuel to the fire, prompting Trump to publicly chide her for wanting to walk off the show for refusing to answer an innocuous question. In 2010, Trump returned for the third season of "Celebrity Apprentice" - the ninth overall for the franchise - which pitted the likes of Sinbad, Olympic legend Michael Johnson, Cyndi Lauper, Sharon Osbourne and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich against each other.
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"Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken."---Donald Trump, about his future Askmen.com
Trump indicated an interest in running for president on the Reform party ticket in 2000
One of Forbes World's Richest People in 2002
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