DEAD: Malcolm Forbes

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Malcolm Forbes (aged 70)
American publisher (Forbes magazine)

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (19 August 1919 – 24 February 1990) was an American entrepreneur most prominently known as the publisher of Forbes magazine, founded by his father B. C. Forbes. He was known as an avid promoter of capitalism and free market trade, and for an extravagant lifestyle, spending on parties, travel, and his collection of homes, yachts, aircraft, art, motorcycles, and Fabergé eggs.

DEATH: home, Timberfield, in Far Hills, New Jersey. He was pronounced dead by his friend and physician, Dr. Oscar Kruesi, said Don Garson, director of corporate communications for Forbes Inc. In March 1990, soon after his death, OutWeek magazine published a story with the cover headline “The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes,” by Michelangelo Signorile, which outed Forbes as a gay man. Signorile was critical of the media for helping Forbes publicise many aspects of his life while keeping his homosexuality a secret. The writer asked, “Is our society so overwhelmingly repressive that even individuals as all-powerful as the late Malcolm Forbes feel they absolutely cannot come out of the closet?” Even in death, the media was reluctant to disclose his sexuality; the New York Times would refer only to him as a “famous, deceased millionaire” while reporting on the controversy. Since Malcolm Forbes’ death, his son Steve Forbes has been editor-in-chief but the business is no longer family-controlled.

Donald Trump, in his 1990 memoir Trump: Surviving at the Top, alleged that his temporary removal from the Forbes 400 in the year Forbes died was due to a feud that had arisen after Trump had not allowed Forbes to bring “two young men who appeared to be well under the legal drinking age” into the bar at the Plaza Hotel. Trump stated that Forbes “lived openly as a homosexual… but expected the media and his famous friends to cover for him.”

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