Charles Dolan

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For the Irish politician, see Charles Dolan (politician).
Charles Dolan
Born (1926-10-16) October 16, 1926 (age 87)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Nationality Irish
Occupation Businessman

Charles F. Dolan (born October 16, 1926) is an American billionaire (worth an estimated $3.3 billion[1] ) and founder of Cablevision and HBO.[2][3] Through supervoting shares, Dolan today controls Cablevision, AMC Networks, and Madison Square Garden, Inc., which at one point were all part of Cablevision itself.


A John Carroll University dropout, Dolan was born in Cleveland. The son of an inventor, he served in the U.S. Air Force and studied at John Carroll University before blazing a trail in telecommunications. His earliest professional endeavors focused on the packaging, marketing and distribution of sports and industrial films. Working together with his wife in their Cleveland home, Dolan edited and produced short film reels of sports events for syndication to television stations. Selling the business, Dolan joined the acquiring firm and moved east to New York.

In the early 1960s, Dolan established Teleguide Inc., which provided information services via cable to New York City hotels. That same decade, he founded Sterling Manhattan Cable, the first urban cable television company in the nation. In its early years, Sterling forged first-of-its-kind agreements to bring New York professional sports teams, cultural programming and movies into the homes of New York City cable viewers.

In the early 1970s, Dolan founded Home Box Office Inc., the first premium programming service in the cable television industry. He organized Cablevision Systems Corporation on Long Island after the sale of Home Box Office to Time-Life, Inc. and has spearheaded many of the company's advancements. Most recently, he was the vision behind VOOM, Cablevision's effort to expand content delivery and meet the demands of the exploding HDTV market, which was expected to include 6 million households by the end of 2003 — and 12 million by year-end 2005. Dolan is a trustee of Fairfield University and a member of the board of governors of St. Francis Hospital in Port Washington, New York.

Dolan and his wife, Helen Ann, reside on Long Island. They have six grown children, three of whom are in management at Cablevision. The Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University is named in recognition of his $25 million donation in 2000 and his service to the university as a member of the board of trustees.[4]

From 2001 through early 2002, Dolan was a major bidder in the sale of the Boston Red Sox. Dolan submitted a maximum bid of $750 million,[5] but ultimately lost out to a group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino.