Charles Dolan

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Charles F. Dolan
Born (1926-10-16) October 16, 1926 (age 94)
Alma materJohn Carroll University (dropped out)
OccupationFormer chairman of Cablevision
Known forFounder of Cablevision
Net worthIncrease US$5.35 Billion (Dec 2020)[1]
Spouse(s)Helen Dolan
Children6, including James L. Dolan

Charles Francis "Chuck" Dolan[2] (born October 16, 1926) is an American billionaire and the founder of Cablevision.[3][4] Through supervoting shares, Dolan today controls AMC Networks, MSG Networks, Madison Square Garden Sports, and Madison Square Garden Entertainment which at one point were all part of Cablevision itself.

Early life[edit]

The son of an inventor, Dolan was born in Cleveland, Ohio.[5] He served in the United States Army Air Forces at the end of World War II[6] and studied at John Carroll University, before dropping out and entering the telecommunications field.[5] His father, David, sold a patent to Ford Motor.[7]


His earliest professional endeavors focused on the packaging, marketing and distribution of sports and industrial films, which he produced with his wife in their Cleveland home and then sold to televisions stations which syndicated the material.[8] Dolan sold his interests to Telenews in exchange for a job[9] and when Dolan was 26 he moved to New York and founded Teleguide Inc, a service that provided information to hotels.[10]

That same decade, Dolan founded Sterling Manhattan Cable, the first company to wire buildings to have cable television access.[10] 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,[11] including agreements with the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.[9] Two years later, he sold Sterling Cable's Manhattan operations to Time Inc and renamed his Long Island business Cablevision Systems.[10]

In the early 1970s, Dolan founded Home Box Office, the first premium programming service in the cable television industry, which he sold to Time Life.[8][10] Later, he organized Cablevision Systems Corporation on Long Island and has spearheaded many of the company's advancements.[9] After that, he was the vision behind VOOM, Cablevision's effort to expand content delivery and meet the demands of the exploding HDTV market,[12] which was expected to include 6 million households by the end of 2003—and 12 million by year-end 2005, but was shut down when other directors deemed it financially unsustainable.

From 2001 through early 2002, Dolan was a major bidder in the sale of the Boston Red Sox. He submitted a maximum bid of $750 million,[13] but ultimately lost out to a group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino.[14]

In 2016, Dolan sold Cablevision to Patrick Drahi's Altice for $17.7 billion.[15]

Affiliations and honors[edit]

  • Dolan is a trustee of Fairfield University and a member of the board of governors of St. Francis Hospital in Port Washington, New York.
  • In November 2016, Dolan received an honorary doctorate from Fairfield University, "in recognition of his remarkable contribution to our culture industry, for his exemplary vision and tenacity as a media pioneer, and for his important contribution to Fairfield University as a trustee and donor who has supported scholarship funds and the Charles F. Dolan School of Business."[16]

Personal life[edit]

Dolan and his wife, Helen Ann, reside in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. They have six children,[17] among whom is James L. Dolan, who serves as Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company and its professional sports teams, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers,[18] and Patrick Dolan, principal owner and publisher of Newsday.

Charles Dolan's younger brother Larry and nephew Paul own the Cleveland Indians.[19]


Dolan has contributed to Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign.[20]


The Fairfield University 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.[21]

The Dolan Center for Science and Technology is John Carroll University's showcase building. Completed in 2003 at a cost of over $66 million, it houses JCU's science departments, including Mathematics and Computer Science.[22]


  1. ^ "Charles Dolan". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "Charles F. Dolan". NNDB.
  3. ^ "Corporate Leadership | Charles Dolan". Cablevision. October 16, 1926. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "#430 Charles Dolan & family - The World's Billionaires 2009". February 13, 2009. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Charles Dolan". Cable Center 2000 Honorees.
  6. ^ CABLE READY : Maverick CEO Charles Dolan’s Vision Makes Cablevision a Powerhouse
  7. ^ "Charles Dolan" (PDF). Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Charles Dolan". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c HARRIS, KATHRYN (December 11, 1994). "CABLE READY : Maverick CEO Charles Dolan's Vision Makes Cablevision a Powerhouse". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Merced, Michael J. de la (September 17, 2015). "The Dolans, the Clan That Built the Cablevision Empire, Say Goodbye". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  11. ^ Gent, George (July 12, 1973). "SterlingW Will Bring Pay TV to Manhattan Next Fall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  12. ^ JOURNAL, Peter GrantStaff Reporter of THE WALL STREET. "At Cablevision, Father-Son Split Looms Over Future". WSJ. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Sale of Red Sox approved". January 16, 2002. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Red Sox reach deal to sell team for record $700m - The Boston Globe". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  15. ^ "Charles Dolan & family". Forbes. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  16. ^ "Congratulations Dr. Charles F. Dolan". Fairfield University. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "Charles Dolan". Forbes. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  18. ^ James Dolan profile, Wall Street Journal.
  19. ^ "Dolan family known for the Cleveland Indians, Cablevision: PD 175". The Plain Dealer. November 22, 2017.
  20. ^ "Image# 201712119089167090". Federal Elections Commission. December 11, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Fairfield University's business school a valuable resource", Fairfield County Business Journal, January 20, 2003.
  22. ^ "Explore the Dolan Center for Science and Technology – Mathematics and Computer Science", John Carroll University website (October 2016).