Heiskell, Andrew 1915-2003

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HEISKELL, Andrew 1915-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born September 13, 1915, in Naples, Italy; died July 6, 2003, in Darien, CT. Businessman, philanthropist, and author. Heiskill was the former head of Time, Inc., and became a major philanthropist in New York City after his retirement. Born to expatriate Americans living in Italy, Heiskell was only six years old when his parents divorced, and he spent his youth living in various countries in Europe as he traveled with his peripatetic mother. He did not start receiving a formal education until he was ten years old, attending school in Lausanne, Switzerland; he later attended the École du Montcel in France, where he passed his baccalaureate. Heiskell briefly taught math and geology at Montcel and also worked as a bartender. When he moved to the United States in 1935, he thus considered himself more European than American. Applying to Harvard University, he bypassed undergraduate school to attend the university's business school for a year, but dropped out because he did not enjoy the courses. He next got a job, briefly, writing for the New York Herald Tribune before joining the staff of Time, Inc., to work on science and medical stories for Life magazine. By 1946 Heiskell had, remarkably, worked his way up to the position of publisher of Life, and in 1949 he became vice president of Time, Inc. This was followed by promotions to chairman in 1960 and chief executive office in 1969. While at Time, Heiskell oversaw such profitable efforts as the creation of Time-Life Books and the founding of People magazine, while other ventures proved disappointing, such as the eventual cessation of Life, and the unsuccessful effort to publish foreign magazines. Still, when he retired from Time in 1980, Heiskell could say he had left behind a profitable company. Unfortunately, he was saddened by the company's later merger with Warner Communications and then AOL. But Heiskell moved on to other activities in which he found great satisfaction. As director, and then chairman, of the New York City Public Library, he campaigned to raise funds for the crumbling system, including the rehabilitation of the landmark main branch. He was also responsible for the revival of Bryant Park into a beautiful and safe public recreation area, and he worked diligently to raise funds for public housing projects. For all these initiatives, the city of New York gained considerably from Heiskell's tireless efforts. Heiskell related much of his personal story in his autobiography, Outsider, Insider: An Unlikely Success Story (1998).



Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2003, p. B10.

New York Times, July 7, 2003, p. A15.

Washington Post, July 8, 2003, p. B8.

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Heiskell, Andrew 1915-2003

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