August 23, 1932|
West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Residence||Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Temple University|
|Known for||Owner of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1985–1994|
|Net worth||US $ 2.5 billion (March 2018)|
Early life and education
Braman was born in 1932 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia, where his father owned a barbershop. Braman's parents were both Jews who emigrated from Europe. His Romanian-born mother was a seamstress and his Polish father a barber. Braman was a water boy in his teenage years at the Eagles training camp, which was then in West Chester. During the season, he would sneak into Shibe Park to watch the team play. Braman attended West Philadelphia High School and graduated from Temple University in 1955 with a degree in business administration.
Braman began his career as a market research analyst for Seagram's Distributors in 1955. A few years later he took an executive position at Bargaintown U.S.A. which he eventually acquired and turned into Keystone Stores, a chain of self-service variety stores in the Philadelphia area. In the mid-1960s he spearheaded the merger between his Keystone Stores business and Philadelphia Laboratories to create Philadelphia Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics. Braman was appointed president and CEO of the new company. Acquisitions under his tenure at the company included Vitamix Pharmaceuticals, F.A. Martin and Company, and U.S. Cocoa Corporation. Braman stepped down from his position at Philadelphia Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics in 1969 to pursue other interests.
Braman got his start in the automobile business in 1972 when he acquired controlling interest of Sharpe-Taylor Cadillac in Tampa, Florida. During these early years, Braman was mentored by well known car dealer and fellow Philadelphia native Victor Potamkin. In 1975, Braman bought the former Nolan Brown Cadillac in Miami, Florida. The following year, Braman took on his first import brands with the purchase of BMW and Rolls-Royce dealership C.R. Berry Motors and moved both franchises next to his Miami Cadillac dealership. By 1980, Braman had Cadillac, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Fiat, Lancia, and Toyota dealerships along the 2000 block of Biscayne Boulevard in Miami.
While continuing to expand his dealership holdings in the South Florida area, Braman has also added dealerships in Colorado. Today, Braman serves as chairman of Braman Management, an umbrella company for his automotive businesses that include more than 20 dealerships in Florida and Colorado selling Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche and Rolls-Royce.
In addition to his retail automotive businesses, Braman had majority ownership of Austin Rover Cars of North America (ARCONA), the distributorship for Sterling automobiles imported to the United States starting in 1987. The company's name was changed to Sterling Motor Cars in 1989 and closed in 1991 after sales of the Rover 800-based Sterling 825/827 models failed to meet expectations.
Braman and his brother-in-law, Ed Leibowitz, became owners of the Philadelphia Eagles in April 1985 having acquired them from Leonard Tose for a reported $65 million. Initially, Braman owned 65% of the team while Leibowitz owned 35%. In July 1986, Braman bought out Leibowitz’s interest. During Braman's ownership, the Eagles made playoff appearances in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992. They were NFC East division champions in 1988.
He financially supported a recall election against Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez because of a huge property tax increase and pay hikes to Alvarez's top staffers. On March 15, 2011 close to 90% of those that turned out to vote that day in Miami-Dade County, voted to recall the mayor. It is believed to be one of the most lopsided recall elections in the history of American elections.
Braman is a supporter of Marco Rubio, and was considering spending anywhere between US$10 million to US$25 million in support of his 2016 presidential campaign. According to the acknowledgements in his autobiography, Rubio has thanked Braman for being a supporter, and Braman has employed at one time or another Marco Rubio's wife, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, at the Braman family's charitable foundation.
Braman and his wife, Irma, established the Norman and Irma Braman Family Foundation, which primarily helps fund medical and educational projects throughout the world. It is headed by their daughter Debra Wechsler.
Braman, an art collector, also serves as president of the Irma and Norman Braman Art Foundation, which supports the arts and culture in and around the Miami area.
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- The American Presidency Project, Nomination of Norman Braman To Be Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization September 28, 1981
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- Lebanon Daily News: "Sophie Miller Obituary" on December 6, 2009
- The Florida House of Representatives House Resolution 9123 – A resolution honoring Norman Braman for his philanthropy on behalf of the people of the State of Florida | 2008
- The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation: A New Center of Excellence – The Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility retrieved March 24, 2013
- Norman Braman: Eagles Owner Los Angeles Times