Roger Ailes Biography: Net Worth, Age, Awards, Spouse, Height, Children, Death

Posted By Johnson Ajiboye March 4, 2024

Roger Ailes was a powerful and influential figure in American media and politics. He was the founder and president of Fox News Channel, the most-watched cable news network in the United States.

He also served as a media consultant for several Republican presidents and candidates, shaping their public image and campaign strategies.

He was known for his conservative views, controversial management style, and ability to attract and retain loyal viewers and supporters.

He was also accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by many women who worked for him or with him, leading to his resignation from Fox News in 2016.

Profile

  • Full name: Roger Eugene Ailes
  • Date of birth: May 15, 1940
  • Age: 77 years old (at the time of death)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of birth: Warren, Ohio, U.S.
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Television executive and media consultant
  • Height: 1.73 m
  • Parents: Robert Eugene Ailes and Donna Marie Cunningham
  • Siblings: One brother, Robert Ailes Jr.
  • Spouse: Elizabeth Tilson (m. 1998)
  • Children: One son, Zachary Ailes
  • Relationship status: Married until his death
  • Net worth: $100 million

Early Life and Education

Roger Ailes was born on May 15, 1940, in Warren, Ohio, a factory town in the Midwest. He was the son of Robert Eugene Ailes, a maintenance foreman at a Packard Electric plant, and Donna Marie Cunningham, a homemaker.

He had one younger brother, Robert Ailes Jr. He suffered from hemophilia, a blood disorder that prevents clotting, and spent much of his childhood in hospitals.

He also endured physical and verbal abuse from his father, who was a strict and authoritarian parent. He attended the Warren City schools and graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 1958. He was inducted into the school’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009.

Ailes attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he majored in radio and Television. He was the student station manager for WOUB for two years and gained experience in producing and directing various shows.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and started his career in Television in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Personal Life

Roger Ailes married three times in his life. His first wife was Marjorie White, whom he married in 1960 and divorced in 1977.

They had no children. His second wife was Norma Ferrer, whom he married in 1981 and divorced in 1995. They also had no children.

His third and final wife was Elizabeth Tilson, a former television executive and journalist, whom he married in 1998. They had one son, Zachary Ailes, born in 2000. They lived in Garrison, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, until Ailes died in 2017.

Ailes was a devout Catholic and attended Mass regularly. He was also a Republican and supported conservative causes and candidates.

He was friends with prominent political, media, and business figures, such as Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly.

He was also involved in several philanthropic and charitable activities, such as donating to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center, the Putnam County SPCA, and the Philipstown Little League.

Career

Roger Ailes’s career in Television spanned more than five decades, and he was involved in various aspects of the industry, such as production, management, and consulting.

He began his career as a production assistant for The Mike Douglas Show, a talk variety show based in Cleveland and later in Philadelphia.

He became a producer for the show in 1965 and an executive producer in 1967. He won two Emmy Awards for his work on the show in 1967 and 1968.

He also met Richard Nixon, a guest on the show in 1967 and impressed him with his insights on Television and politics.

Ailes left The Mike Douglas Show in 1968 to join Nixon’s presidential campaign as a media adviser. He helped Nixon improve his image and performance on Television and devised strategies to appeal to the voters.



He was credited with being a key factor in Nixon’s victory over Hubert Humphrey. His role in the campaign was chronicled in the book The Selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinniss.

In 1969, Ailes founded his consulting firm, Ailes Communications, which offered media and public relations services to various clients, such as corporations, celebrities, and politicians.

He also produced and directed several television and theatre projects, such as the Broadway musical Mother Earth and the Off-Broadway play The Hot l Baltimore.

He returned to political consulting in 1984, when he worked for Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign. He helped Reagan prepare for the debates and craft his messages.

He also worked for George H.W. Bush’s campaign in 1988 and was instrumental in creating the infamous \”Willie Horton\” ad, which attacked Bush’s opponent, Michael Dukakis, for his record on crime.

He also advised other Republican candidates, such as Mitch McConnell, Dan Quayle, Rudy Giuliani, and George W. Bush.

In 1993, Ailes left political consulting and became the president of CNBC, a cable business news network owned by NBC.

He revamped the network’s programming and ratings and launched a new channel, America’s Talking, which featured talk shows and interactive segments.

In 1996, he was hired by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corporation, to create a new cable news network, Fox News Channel, which would compete with CNN and MSNBC.

Ailes became the chairman and CEO of Fox News and oversaw its launch and growth. He hired and promoted conservative commentators and hosts, such as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Megyn Kelly.

He also established the network’s slogan, \”Fair and Balanced\”, and its editorial direction, which favoured the Republican Party and criticized the Democratic Party and the mainstream media.

He made Fox News the country’s most-watched and profitable cable news network and a powerful force in American politics and culture.

Ailes also expanded his media empire by becoming the chairman of Fox Television Stations, which owned and operated 28 local stations nationwide, and 20th Television, which produced and distributed syndicated programs.

He also launched Fox Business Network, a rival to CNBC, in 2007 and Fox News Radio, a syndicated radio service, in 2003.

He also published two books, You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators (1988), co-authored with Jon Kraushar, and Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public (2001).

Awards

Roger Ailes received many awards and honours for his work in Television and media, such as:

  • Two Emmy Awards for The Mike Douglas Show in 1967 and 1968
  • The Television Hall of Fame in 2017
  • The Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in 2004
  • The Freedom of Speech Award from the First Amendment Center in 2002
  • The Paul White Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2001
  • The Barbara Olson Award for Excellence and Independence in Journalism from The American Spectator in 2001
  • The Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in 2013

Death

Roger Ailes died on May 18, 2017, at 77, in Palm Beach, Florida.

He had suffered a fall at his home a week earlier, which caused a subdural hematoma that was aggravated by his hemophilia.

He was pronounced dead at a hospital. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Zachary. He was buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

Controversy

Roger Ailes was involved in several controversies and scandals throughout his career, mainly related to his sexual harassment of women, his political bias, and his dissemination of misinformation.

Some of the most notable ones are:

In 2012, he was accused of ordering one of his employees, Judith Regan, to lie to federal investigators about her affair with Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who President George W. Bush nominated to be the secretary of homeland security in 2004.

Regan had published Kerik’s memoir, The Lost Son, in 2001 and had a secret relationship with him. Ailes allegedly wanted Regan to conceal the affair to protect Kerik’s nomination and Giuliani’s presidential aspirations, as Giuliani had appointed Kerik police commissioner in 2000.

Regan sued Ailes and News Corporation for wrongful termination, defamation, and harassment and received a $10.75 million settlement in 2008.

In 2014, he was accused of spying on his employees and critics, using a team of private investigators, security consultants, and lawyers.

He reportedly installed a surveillance system in the Fox News headquarters, monitored the phone calls and emails of his staff, and hired operatives to dig up dirt on his enemies, such as journalists, activists, and politicians.

He also allegedly created a “black room” operation, where he directed smear campaigns and negative publicity against his opponents.

One of them is David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group that criticized Fox News.

In 2016, he was accused of interfering with the editorial independence and journalistic integrity of Fox News by pushing a pro-Trump agenda and suppressing negative stories about Trump and his associates.

He reportedly gave Trump advance notice of the questions for the Republican primary debate in August 2015 and advised him on handling the media and the public.

He also allegedly instructed his anchors and reporters to avoid or downplay the coverage of Trump’s scandals, such as the Access Hollywood tape, the Russia investigation, and the Stormy Daniels affair.

Social Media

  • Twitter handle: N/A
  • Instagram handle: N/A

Net Worth

Roger Ailes had an estimated net worth of $100 million at his death.

He earned a salary of $20 million per year as the head of Fox News and had a stake in the network.




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