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December 23, 1923 |
|Spouse(s)||Judith Stern (1940s-1970s)
Pia Zadora (1977-1993)
Tali Sinai (2010- )
--Simona Riklis Ackerman (deceased)
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Riklis grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel, before coming to the United States in 1947 with his first wife, Judith Stern, with whom he has three children: Ira, Simona, and Marcia. He studied mathematics at Ohio State University, graduating in 1950. His first significant job was as a junior stock analyst for the Minneapolis investment firm Piper Jaffray.
Riklis is credited with originating complicated paper transactions like high-yield bonds and leveraged buyouts to take over control of major companies, then doing paper switches of the assets into companies he owned. His first significant foray was the creation of the Rapid-American Corporation by combining his significant stake in Rapid Electrotype Company, a platemaking concern with the American Colortype Company, a maker of stereoview lithographs and dollhouse furniture. Tracing the history of Rapid American Corporation and its renamed form Glen Alden Corporation, one can find the succession of acquisitions Riklis used to create his financial empire, including McCrory Stores, Leeds Travelware, Gruen Watch Company, Elizabeth Arden cosmetics, Aunt Nellie's Farm Kitchens, Bargain Time, Beatrice Foods, Canadian retailer Dylex, Culligan International, Fabergé Cosmetics, J. J. Newberry stores, Lerner Shops, Lawry's Meat Specialties, Martha White Foods, Odd Lot Trading, International Playtex, the Riviera hotel and casino in Las Vegas, RKO-Stanley Warner Theatres, Samsonite, Schenley Industries, and the one-time American distributor of Dewar's whisky.
After his financial empire was well established, he returned to Ohio State to complete his acquisition of a Master's Degree in Finance. His degree thesis, titled "Expansion through Financial Management" and based on his career, discussed "the effective use, or rather non-use, of cash."
One of the many shells and holding companies he created in the process of building the empire was E-II Holdings, in which the other investors later discovered he had placed the names of impressive companies, but not the assets. Among the investors in E-II was Carl Icahn. These investors revolted on Riklis and started seizing other properties in the financial empire.
Many of the corporations declared bankruptcy, again carefully maneuvered by Riklis to preserve his personal wealth. He famously sold his stake in the Carnival Cruise Line to Ted Arison for US$1. Forbes Magazine reported that while at the helm of a string of his companies, Riklis left his creditors unpaid for over US$2.9 billion in debt. According to Forbes, less than 10% of this had been recovered as of 2007. Riklis donated $1,000 to the presidential campaign of Joseph Biden.
In March 2013 Riklis filed for bankruptcy protection for Rapid-American Corp because of asbestos related personal injury claims brought against Rapid American through their subsidiary Philip Carey Manufacturing.
After divorcing his first wife, the 53-year-old Riklis was married to the then 23-year-old Pia Zadora on September 18, 1977. They had two children, Kady and Kristofer. Riklis then financed the movie Butterfly, starring Zadora. Her acting in the film was lampooned by comedians and professional critics, winning her the Razzie Award for Worst Actress, but she also won the Golden Globe Award as New Star of the Year after a well publicized press junket paid for by Riklis, also hosted at his own Riviera Hotel. Riklis and Zadora then bought and demolished one of Beverly Hills' best known landmarks, Pickfair Manor, the former home of silent movie legends Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, to build a larger home on the site. They lived there until they divorced in 1993.
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- "Meshulam Riklis". Nndb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
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- By STEPHANIE STROMPublished: May 26, 1993 (1993-05-26). "COMPANY NEWS; E-II Holdings Wins Fight For Reorganization Plan". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Riklis Family Corporation - Company Snapshot". Alacrastore.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- Nathan Vardi (2000-02-03). "Magazine Article". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- "Rapid-American Files Bankruptcy Citing Asbestos Liability". Blomberg.com. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
- New York Times: "Mona Ackerman, Advice Columnist, Dies at 66" By DANIEL E. SLOTNIK December 5, 2012
- The Daily Mail: "EXCLUSIVE: From Penthouse to Prison: How Broadway star Pia Zadora's racy pictures are a far cry from her arrest for 'choking' her teenage son" by Sara Nathan July 3, 2013
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- "TheGoldenGlobes.com". TheGoldenGlobes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
- By BERNARD WEINRAUBPublished: February 08, 1993 (1993-02-08). "First Comes a Junket, Then a Golden Globe; Hollywood Is Buzzing - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
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