By DREW ZOLLER William Paley, the Wharton graduate who founded CBS, died in his Manhattan home Friday night. He was 89. The cause of death was believed to be a heart attack brought on by pneumonia, according to a CBS statement released Saturday. "The pioneer era in the history of broadcasting dies with William Paley," former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite said in a statement this weekend. Born in Chicago on September 28, 1901, Paley studied at Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, and the University of Chicago before coming to the University and receiving his degree in 1922. Upon graduation, he joined his father's firm, the Congress Cigar Company of Philadelphia, as vice president and secretary. Paley became interested in radio when he discovered the influence radio advertisements for his family's La Palinas cigar. In 1928, using money borrowed from his father, he bought the year-old United Independent Broadcasting Corporation, changed its name to Columbia and began his broadcasting empire. In 1990, according to Forbes magazine, he was worth $460 million. Paley owned a reported $120 million in CBS stock. Wharton officials have said that he has had little or no contact with the University except for a commencement address that he delivered in 1968. Paley's picture is a part of the Wharton Hall of Fame in Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. In Lewis Paper's book Empire: William S. Paley and the Making of CBS, Paley was described as "a modest, charming fellow." Paley was also a member of the University's chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. Fred Friendly, who was president of CBS News from 1964 to 1966 and worked for Paley for 16 years, lauded his former boss. "I think that broadcast journalism as it exists today would not be here if it had not been for Paley," he said. CBS News anchor Dan Rather said, "He was a giant of 20th-century business, a man committed to excellence. Among his many accomplishments was being present at the creation of broadcast journalism." "Our industry may never see his like again. He understood, as have few others, the necessity of giving broadcast news a liberty to perform without commercial or political interference," Cronkite added. The Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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