Roger Ailes (born Roger Eugene Ailes), was a man of whom it could be said, that he lived a full life.
Born on the 15th of May 1940, in Warren, Ohio, the septuagenarian’s life boasted of diverse interests and achievements amongst which were authoring a self-help book, rising from assistant to executive producer of a television show, becoming the CEO at Fox News, and acting as a political consultant for a number of United States Presidents, including President Donald Trump.
He was a man who understood the dynamics of the power play as he said he doesn’t ignore anything and that when someone gets in his face, he gets in theirs.
Ailes died three days after his seventy-seventh birthday on the 18th of May 2017 from a subdural hematoma.
Roger Ailes’ Bio
Roger was born to Robert and Donna Ailes, the second of three children. He was diagnosed with hemophilia at an early age and had a medical scare at age eight when he was hit by a car and hospitalized. He didn’t let this limit him physically, or socially for that matter, as he went ahead to join the drama club at Warren G. Harding High School, as well as dug ditches during his summertime job with the state highway department.
He bagged a degree in Radio and television from Ohio University in Athens where he also worked as a student station manager.
He met and married his first wife Majorie While there as well, in 1960.
After graduation in 1962, Ailes worked as a production assistant on The Mike Douglas Show, rising eventually to executive producer.
1968, however, showed a sharp turn in his career, when he was invited by Richard Nixon to join his campaign. He founded his own company in 1969 through which he advised businesses and politicians. Roger also diversified into film, TV and theater productions, with the backing of Obie Award-winning The Hot I Baltimore in the mid- 1970s as a fruit of that venture.
He returned to presidential campaign work in 1984, coaching Ronald Reagan for his debates with Walter Mondale from the democratic camp.
In 1988, Roger Ailes was prominently involved in the George H. W. Bush campaign but by the early 1990s, he was back to television. He also authored a book, You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators around this time.
Ailes joined NBC in 1993, to run the CNBC business news network, and launched an early version of MSNBC. He quit before the end of 1995 due to a clash with supervisors and shortly afterward became chairman and CEO, Fox News Channel in October 1996.
Fox News quickly established its presence in the industry, owing largely to Ailes’ use of his influence to lure top talents such as CNBC’s Neil Cavuto, ABC’S White House Correspondent Brit Hume and Inside Edition’s anchor Bill O’Reilly.
At the business end, he understood the need for establishing an identity in a dynamic media landscape while still offering “a fair and balanced” version of the news. His willingness to take risks, combined with the above-created identity, put his network in a position to shape and reshape narratives.
Following the resignation of Murdoch’s son Lachlan in 2005, he became the Fox Television Chairman. Shortly after 2000, he bought a local newspaper in Garrison, New York, and reestablished it as a conservative publication. Roger Ailes also stayed actively involved with his alma mater, providing scholarships for students of the Scripos College of Communication at Ohio University.
By 2016, Fox News had a daily audience of 2 million viewers and Ailes was at the peak of his career. In July of that year, Ailes’s career and good name were rocked by a scandal as former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Several Other women stepped forward with similar claims in the following days and though he denied the charges, Ailes agreed to a settlement with Fox and announced his resignation on July 21.
Roger Ailes’ Net Worth and House
Roger Ailes reportedly amassed a net worth of $100 million, making roughly $20 million per year in salary before he was abruptly fired by Fox in 2017 amid sexual harassment allegations.
The icon and his family resided in Garrison, New York, in the year 2000, on a hilltop parcel in a home constructed of Adirondack river stone across the Hudson River from United States Military Academy at West Point.
Ailes also had residences in Cresskill, New Jersey, and Palm Beach, Florida.
Family – Wife, and Son
Roger Ailes has been married three times; two of which ended in divorce.
He was married to Marjorie White from 1960 to 1977 when the marriage ended in a brutal divorce. In 1981, he married Norma Ferrer, a long-time admirer of his genius, but after their love story grew hot, it died down and ended in divorce in 1995.
He went a third time and married Elizabeth Tilson (born 1960) on February 14, 1998. Formerly a television executive, she was the owner and publisher of local New York state newspapers The Putnam County News & Recorder and The Putnam County Courier.
Ailes had one son, named Zachary, with Elizabeth.
Roger Ailes’ Death
Ailes died on May 18, 2017, in Palm Beach, Florida, after falling and hitting his head at his home the previous week. His death was attributed to a subdural hematoma, aggravated by hemophilia, by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner, just 3 days after his 77th birthday.
Elizabeth announced his death in a statement on the Drudge Report saying she is profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that her husband, Roger Ailes, has passed away.
A 2013 book excerpt from Roger Ailes, Off Camera, gave the impression that Ailes lived ready to die, saying, “Because of my hemophilia, I’ve been prepared to face death all of my life. When it comes, I’ll be fine, calm. I’ll miss life, though. Especially my family”.