June 27, 1924|
|Died||November 10, 1992
Palo Alto, California
|Education||B.A. Northwestern University|
|Spouse(s)||Lolly Lurie (1946-1968; divorced; 4 children)
Susan Jeanne Metzger (1969-1992; his death; 1 child)
--Susan Wexler Piser
--Jane Wexler Feil
--Diane Wexler Grant
--Judith Wexler Gigliotti
--Page Hannah Adler
Early life and education
Wexler was born to a Jewish family in Chicago, the son of Lottie and Simon Wexler, and attended Northwestern University. His father founded the Columbia Radio Corporation in 1921 and the Allied Radio Corporation in 1928. Allied Radio was an American radio manufacturer and retailer, which sold radio sets, tubes, capacitors, amateur radio equipment, citizen’s band (CB) radios, and consumer audio systems through retail stores and beginning in 1962, also via mail-order. In 1970, Allied Radio was purchased by the Tandy Corporation, the parent company of Radio Shack. His brother was cinematographer, film producer, and director Haskell Wexler.
By his early '30s, he was building a reputation for financing monumental skyscrapers. With his father's help, he brokered the construction of the Executive Plaza Hotel on Wacker Drive (now known as Hotel 71).
In 1979 he, along with his business partner Edward W. Ross, purchased the Drake Hotel. The Drake was successfully nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. In 1983, Wexler’s Jupiter Industries, which had interests in the Playboy Building, Lake Point Tower, Michigan Avenue real estate, dozens of Chicago hotels, and property holdings in both New York City and Los Angeles, saved Goldblatt's from bankruptcy. Jupiter also developed the Vista International Hotel at the World Trade Center, later known as the Marriott World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was known for pioneering new development areas; the Executive Plaza was the first hotel in Chicago in decades, and the Vista was the first hotel in downtown Manhattan for decades. He also built the Outer Drive East development in Chicago, which expanded the downtown into an industrial and shipping area in decline.
When Bertram Lee failed to come up with his ten percent share to purchase the National Basketball Association Denver Nuggets in 1989, Peter Bynoe recruited Jerrold Wexler and Jay Pritzker to keep the deal alive. The group held an interest in the team until 1992 when COMSAT bought out Drexel Burnham Lambert, Bynoe and his partners. In addition to his business interests, he was a very active political contributor. In addition, he served on the board of trustees of the John Austin Cheley Foundation.
Personal life, death, and legacy
Wexler was married twice. In 1946, he married Lolly Lurie; they had four children: Susan Wexler Piser; Jane Wexler Feil; Diane Wexler Grant; and Judith Wexler Gigliotti. They divorced in 1968. In 1969, he married Susan Jeanne Metzger with whom he had one child: film director Tanya Wexler. He has three stepchildren from his marriage to Metzger: actress Daryl Hannah, Donald Hannah, and actress Page Hannah Adler.
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- Chicago Tribune: "Filmmaker and Lincoln Park native Tanya Wexler on her romantic comedy 'Hysteria'" by Nina Metz May 24, 2012
- Chicago Tribune: "Jerrold Wexler Partner Sues In Wake Of Ouster - Jupiter Coup Spawns A Bitter Asset Battle" By J. Linn Allen March 29, 1996
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