Saturday, June 15, 2024

Newsweek’s Owner, Sidney Harman, Dies at 92


Sidney Harman, the founder of Harman Kardon, and more recently the owner of Newsweek, died yesterday at age 92. When he bought Newsweek last year for $1, he said he was going to live forever. Apparently three weeks ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. Soon after he bought Newsweek, he went into negotiations with Barry Diller and Tina Brown to merge operations with The Daily Beast. The talks fell apart but later came back together. The merger became complete a few weeks ago. Did Harman know he had leukemia way back then? Or was he just prescient? And what happens now to Newsweek? The revived magazine had six pages of ads this week. It will now be up to Diller, whose IAC underwrites this whole operation, and Harman’s estate–including his wife, Jane, former Democratic congresswoman from California–to figure out what happens next. Apart from the whole News/Beast thing, Harman Kardon was really an important player in high fidelity. They made great equipment in the era before Sony and Panasonic, up there with Marantz and other great small outfits. For that, Sidney Harman will be missed.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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