Ted Turner Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at philanthropist and environmentalist Ted Turner, founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS).


Birth date: November 19, 1938

Birth place: Cincinnati, Ohio

Birth name: Robert Edward Turner III

Father: Robert Edward Turner

Mother: Florence (Rooney) Turner

Marriages: Jane Fonda (1991-2001, divorced); Jane (Smith) Turner (1964-1987, divorced. Some sources have 1988 for the divorce.); Judy (Nye) Turner (1960-early 1960s, divorced).

Children: with Jane (Smith) Turner: Beau, Rhett, Jennie; with Judy (Nye) Turner: Laura Lee and Robert Edward IV

Education: Attended Brown University, 1957-1960

Military: US Coast Guard

Other Facts

Won the America’s Cup with the yacht “Courageous” in 1977.

Has received two honorary Emmy Awards.

Nicknames: Mouth of the South, Terrible Ted, Captain Outrageous.

Claims his secret to success is “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”

Former owner of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks.


March 1963 - Takes over the family’s business, Turner Advertising Co., after his father’s suicide.

1970 - After turning the family business around and renaming it the Turner Communications Group, Turner purchases two independent UHF stations, in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, and names them WTCG and WRET, after his company and himself.

1976 - TBS becomes the nation’s first “superstation” using satellite technology to carry its signal nationwide.

June 1, 1980 - Launches CNN, the first 24-hour all-news cable network.

January 1, 1982 - CNN Headline News begins broadcasting.

August 1985 - Acquires MGM-UA Entertainment, including its library of thousands of classic films.

September 1985 - CNNI is first launched.

1986 - Creates the Goodwill Games. They are held five times, until 2000.

October 3, 1988 - TNT is launched.

1990 - Establishes the Turner Foundation with a vision toward the preservation and conservation of the environment throughout the world.

1991 - Time Magazine names Turner “Man of the Year.”

August 30, 1992 - Receives the Governor’s Award at the 44th Primetime Emmy Awards.

October 1, 1992 - The Cartoon Network goes on the air for the first time.

October 3, 1992 - Is inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

April 1994 - Launch of Turner Classic Movies (TCM).

October 1996 - Sells Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. to Time Warner, Inc., for $7.34 billion; becomes vice chairman.

1996-2001 - Member of the Time Warner Board of Directors.

1996 - Buys the 578,000 acre Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico that stretches into Colorado. The ranch reportedly is one of the largest privately owned ranches in the country.

1997 - Pledges $1 billion to the United Nations to be paid out in increments over the next 10 years.

March 17, 1997 - CNN en Español is launched.

1999 - “Ted Turner Speaks: Insights from the World’s Greatest Maverick,” is published, co-written with Janet Lowe.

January 2001 - Establishes the Nuclear Threat Initiative with former Senator Sam Nunn.

January 11, 2001 - The AOL and Time Warner, Inc., merger is completed.

2001-2003 - Vice Chairman of AOL Time Warner, Inc.

2001-2006 - Member of the AOL Time Warner Inc., Board of Directors.

2002 - Launches the restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill with business partner George McKerrow Jr.

November 30, 2004 - In recognition of the 24 years Turner owned the NBA team, the Atlanta Hawks retire a number 17 jersey to honor him.

February 24, 2006 - Announces he will not seek reelection to the board of Time Warner. He receives a standing ovation on his last day, May 19.

January 10, 2007 - Partners with New Jersey-based Dome Tech Solar to create DT Solar, a renewable energy company focusing on solar power. The company is later renamed Turner Renewable Energy (TRE).

November 10, 2008 - His autobiography, “Call Me Ted,” is published.

August 2010 - Is named among 40 billionaires pledging half or more of their fortune to charity through “The Giving Pledge” campaign.

October 2011 - After four years in a row as number one, Turner slips to number two on the list of largest landowners. John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, is now the largest landowner.

2015 - Turner makes his final payment to the United Nations and fulfills the $1 billion pledge he made in 1997.

August 23, 2016 - Turner officially transfers (after selling) ownership of his 43,000-acre property, Bluestem Ranch in Oklahoma, to the Osage Nation led by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. Turner writes a letter to the tribe stating, “I know that I am leaving Bluestem in the right hands, and I am grateful for the relationship we’ve been able to build with the Osage Nation.”

September 30, 2018 - Turner reveals that he has Lewy body dementia in an interview for “CBS Sunday Morning.”

April 11, 2019 - Turner is honored on the opening night of the TCM Classic Film Festival.

July 1, 2021 - Launches the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture, Inc, a public charity and agricultural research organization. Turner also announces that he is turning over the nearly 80,000 acre McGinley Ranch to the nonprofit.

March 2022 - Armendaris Ranch, owned by Turner, is permanently protected land after an agreement is made between the federal government and the New Mexico Land Conservancy. The 315,000 acres ranch houses some 500 vertebrate species, approximately 230 desert bighorn sheep and close to a million bats. The deal will be one of the largest conservation easements in the country.