Thursday, July 29, 2004
William S. Paley
Sept.28th 1901-Oct.26th 1990
East side, West side, all-around-the town… Here in Manhattan Island the cornucopia of ethnicity is the blend that makes the United States strong from the inside out.
Ellis Island was the touchstone for Samuel and Goldie Drell Paley as it was for so many that came to this country. They brought with them all the heritage of their fatherland, Mother Russia. They were to settle in Chicago, and that is where their son was to be born on September 28th 1901.
He attended Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, began college at the University of Chicago and completed it at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S, degree from the university's Wharton School in 1922.
Later that year he was named Vice President of his family's Congress Cigar Company, a major cigar manufacturer. He held that post until three days before his 27th birthday, he bought control of a small company called United Independent Broadcasters and turned that into CBS.
For all of you in the CBS family, it would be easy for anyone to wish upon a star, that you might have had that success, if you were born to the purple cloth as Mr. Paley was.
However, as with all visionaries as he was, theirs is a gift that portends the success that will come from the overdrive of their motivation.
He could look to the sky and pick only those bright stars that could make a galaxy. That was what he did with the infant radio, and then he took the stepchild television and made it a place for all of us to spend a major portion of our lives in a worthwhile career.
He was a father figure to me and to Pat Finn. We both started as office boys and mailroom clerks. I had such great faith in his ability to make CBS into the giant that it became. I hope that when you see the picture of Mr. Paley you too will remember all that he provided us with. The recompense was not only money, but also character as well, and ambition to help make CBS the Tiffany Network. For you see he always hired the best to attain the very best… and, that's you, my friends.
Tony Cucurullo & Ted Perzeszty