10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mortimer Zuckerman


Esteemed businessman, publisher, and philanthropist, Mortimer Zuckerman, has managed to create a legacy that spans multiple industries and continues to make impacts till today. However, aside from his well-known status as an established real estate tycoon and the former publisher of ‘The New York Daily News’, there are intriguing aspects of his life that are relatively unknown to the public. Join us as we delve into 10 surprising facts you might not know about Mortimer Zuckerman.

1. His background

Mortimer Benjamin Zuckerman was born on June 4, 1937, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He was raised in a Jewish household, with his parents being devout followers of the faith. Despite his affluent status, he had humble beginnings. Zuckerman’s flair for entrepreneurship started from a young age when he helped manage his father’s tobacco and candy store after school.

He later moved from Canada to the United States to pursue further education and ended up settling there. Despite accomplishing much in his adopted country, Zuckerman has never hidden his affection for his Canadian roots.

2. Educational background

When it comes to education, Zuckerman has an impressive and well-rounded portfolio. After high school, he attended Sir George Williams University, now known as Concordia University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Later, he ventured to Boston and attended Harvard Law School.

Beyond his law degree, he obtained an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Lastly, he completed a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School.

3. Boston Properties, Inc

Zuckerman co-founded Boston Properties, Inc., one of the largest real estate investment trusts in the United States. He served as chairman from 2001 to 2016. The business owns, manages, and develops one of the largest portfolios of Class A office properties in the United States.

Under his leadership, the company built and acquired many significant buildings, including Manhattan’s General Motors Building. Since his retirement, Zuckerman has remained the company’s chairman emeritus.

4. Media influence

In addition to his exploits in real estate, Zuckerman also has substantial media influence. He bought ‘The Atlantic Monthly’ in 1980, which he sold in 1999, and purchased ‘US News & World Report’ in 1984. He served as editor-in-chief of the magazine until 2012.

Zuckerman’s investment in media did not stop there. In 1993, he bought ‘The New York Daily News’, an investment he held onto until 2017. His years in the news business established him as a respected name in American journalism.

5. Philanthropy

Zuckerman is well-known for his philanthropy. He established the Zuckerman Scholars Program, which supports future leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) from the United States and Israel.

One of his most generous gifts was a $200 million donation to endow a Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University. His philanthropic actions are driven by his belief in giving back to the society that provided him opportunities.

6. His billionaire status

Zuckerman’s extensive influence in the media and real estate has led him to amass substantial wealth. According to Forbes, his net worth was $2.7 billion as of 2020.

Even though Zuckerman is a billionaire, he is known to live a relatively modest lifestyle. Despite his wealth, he reportedly prefers not to flaunt it with flashy cars or grand parties.

7. Political involvement

Despite being a businessman, Zuckerman also has had political involvements. He has an open position on the Israel-US relationship and has not been silent about his political viewpoints.

He identifies as a centrist, with views that borrow heavily from both liberal and conservative ideologies. Over the years, he has endorsed political candidates from both Democratic and Republican parties.

8. Art collection

Zuckerman has an impressive art collection. Being fond of 20th-century art, his collection boasts masterpieces by Willem de Kooning, Piet Mondrian, and Marc Chagall.

He also listed his passion for art as one of the crucial things that keep him inspired in life. His collection reaches far beyond usual exhibitions and reveals much about his affinity for beauty and creativity.

9. He was a Yale lecturer

Yet another fascinating aspect of Zuckerman’s life is his short-but-significant stint as a lecturer at Yale University. There, he taught real estate Investments and Development.

His time at Yale provided invaluable insights to students who aspired to venture into real estate or investment. His ability to ground complex business concepts in terms of real-world examples was widely appreciated by his students.

10. A family man

At home, Zuckerman is a family man. He has two daughters with his former wife, Marla Prather, a former curator of the Whitney Museum and National Gallery. Despite his business commitments, he tries to spend quality time with his family.

He has expressed the importance he places on his family several times in his interviews, stating that his family is his greatest joy and the support behind his successful life.

From his business endeavors to his impact on media and philanthropy, Mortimer Zuckerman undoubtedly created a rich and diverse legacy that is worth exploring. Exploring his life undoubtedly gives deeper insights into the principles and values that powered his immense success.

New York Times Article on Mortimer Zuckerman

Forbes Profile on Mortimer Zuckerman

The Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University

Boston Properties, Inc.