Forrest Mars, Sr.

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Forrest Mars, Sr.
Forrest Mars, Sr.jpg
Wrong photo, this is Forrest Edward Mars Jr.
Born Forrest Edward Mars
March 21, 1904 (1904-03-21)
Wadena, Minnesota, U.S.
Died July 1, 1999 (1999-08) (aged 95)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Education Yale University
Occupation Director of Mars, Inc.
Founder of Ethel M Chocolates
Net worth US$4.0 billion (1999)[1][2]
Spouse(s) Audrey Mars
Children Forrest Edward Mars, Jr.
John F. Mars
Jacqueline Mars
Parents Frank C. Mars, Ethel G. Mars

Forrest Edward Mars, Sr. (March 21, 1904 – July 1, 1999) was an American businessman and the driving force of the Mars candy empire. He is best known for introducing M&M's and the Mars bar, as well as orchestrating the launch of Uncle Ben's Rice. He was the son of candy company Mars, Inc. founder Frank C. Mars and his first wife Ethel G. Mars (née Kissack).[3]

Early life and career[edit]

Mars was born in Wadena, Minnesota, and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada after his parents' divorce when he was just a child. He rarely saw his father. After high school he entered the University of California at Berkeley and later transferred to Yale University, where he completed a degree in industrial engineering in 1928.[4]

As an adult, Forrest Mars reunited with his father at Mars, Inc. However the pair ran into a disagreement when Forrest wanted to expand abroad while his father did not. Mars then took a buyout from his father and moved to England where he created the Mars bar while estranged from his father in 1933. In Europe, Mars briefly worked for Nestlé and the Tobler company.[4]

After he returned to the United States, Mars started his own food business, Food Products Manufacturing, where he established the Uncle Ben's Rice line and a gourmet food business, Pedigree. In partnership later with Bruce Murrie, Mars developed M&M's, the chocolate candy covered in a crunchy shell which "melts in your mouth, not in your hands," in 1940. They were modeled after a candy that he had discovered while in Spain during the 1930s. It is believed that he got the idea when he saw soldiers eating a similar candy during the Spanish Civil War.[4] Peanut M&M's were introduced in 1954 although Forrest had been allergic to peanuts his entire life. Murrie later left the business.

Following the death of his father, Forrest Mars took over the family business, Mars, Inc, merging it with his own company in 1964.[4] He was married to Audrey Ruth Meyer (b. May 25, 1910, in Chicago, d. June 15, 1989, in Washington, D.C.), and they had three children — Forrest Jr., John and Jacqueline.

Mars retired from Mars, Inc. in 1973, turning the company over to his children.[5]

In 1981, retired and living in Henderson, Nevada, he founded Ethel M Chocolates, named after his mother.[6] Ethel M was purchased by Mars, Inc. in 1988.[7]

Mars died at age 95 in Miami, Florida, having amassed a fortune of $4 billion. He was ranked as 30th in Forbes magazine's list of richest Americans (Forrest, Jr. and John were 29th and 31st, respectively). He left the business jointly to his three children.

Mars was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1984.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The World's Richest People (1999): #101 - #125". Forbes. 1999. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Forbes 400 Richest Americans (1998): #26 - #50". Forbes. 1998. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mars Family". Practically Edible. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/mars.html
  5. ^ Brenner, Joel Glenn (July 26, 1992). "Life on Mars: The Mars family saga has all the classic elements". The Independent. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "About Us". Ethel M Chocolates. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Allen, Lawrence (2010). Chocolate Fortunes.