Portal:Philadelphia/Selected biography archive/2008

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Philadelphia Portal selected biography archive
2006 - 2007 - 2008

2008[edit]

December
Brian P. Tierney.

Brian Tierney is an American businessman and publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Born in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, Tierney created Tierney Communications, one of the largest and most successful public relations and advertising firms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the local media Tierney became known for personally contacting reporters and their editors with accusations of bias and unprofessionalism whenever a negative story about his clients appeared. In 1997, on behalf of his client the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Tierney lobbied unprofessionalism accusations against Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Ralph Cipriano. The case led to Cipriano accusing The Inquirer of censoring his story and suing the paper for libel. Five years after True North Communications acquired Tierney Communications in 1998, Tierney left and founded another public relations firm, which was a sold a few months later. Tierney entered the media industry in 2006 when he assembled a group of investors to form Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC, a group started with the purpose of buying The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Chief executive of Philadelphia Media Holdings, Tierney also became the publisher of the struggling Philadelphia Inquirer shortly after Philadelphia Media Holdings bought the paper. After overcoming doubts about Tierney's neutrality of the running the paper he criticized in the past, Philadelphia Media Holdings has had to deal with the newspaper's falling circulation and advertising revenue. Outside of business, Tierney has been active in politics and a supporter of Republican causes. Working for the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s, Tierney also worked in George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential election campaign, and Sam Katz's 2003 run for Philadelphia mayor. Tierney is also an active member of numerous board of directors including NutriSystem and his old school, The Episcopal Academy.

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November
Tory Burch.

Tory Burch is an American fashion designer, socialite, businessperson, and celebrity who was born, raised, and educated in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and is described as having Main Line roots. Her parents had been a part of the Hollywood celebrity culture and were part of Philadelphia high society. Thus, Burch was raised in an upper-class home with live-in household help. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she moved to New York City, where she pursued a professional career with various leading fashion industry businesses. While living in New York, she maintained personal relationships with a series of extremely wealthy men. With the financial savvy of her former second husband, she began a fashion label in February 2004 in New York City. The label was an immediate success and was even endorsed by Oprah Winfrey the following year. The label has opened stores in several large American cities and has lines that are sold in several upscale specialty department stores. Burch has won several fashion awards for her designs, and she continues to be involved in high-profile personal relationships within the social elite of New York City.

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October
Constance Drexel.

Constance Drexel, a naturalized American citizen and groundbreaking feature writer for U.S. newspapers, was indicted (but not tried or convicted) for treason in World War II for radio broadcasts from Berlin that extolled Nazi virtues. She had made a name for herself by claiming, falsely, to be an heiress of the famous Drexel family of Philadelphia, descendants of Francis Martin Drexel (who founded the Drexel & Company banking empire) and his son Anthony Joseph Drexel (who founded Drexel University). Arrested in Vienna and jailed at war's end by American troops, she was released and allowed to return to the United States to live. The U.S. Department of Justice eventually dismissed the treason charges because her broadcasts were deemed not "political in nature."

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September
David Morse.

David Morse is an Emmy Award-nominated American stage, television, and film actor. His career began when he starred as Dr. Jack Morrison in the hit medical drama St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988. Morse continued his career by playing in movies such as 16 Blocks, The Green Mile, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Rock, Extreme Measures and 12 Monkeys, which all performed well at the box office. In 2006, Morse had a recurring role as Det. Michael Tritter on the medical drama House, which gained him an Emmy Award nomination. He also had a supporting role in the recent movie Disturbia. In 2008, Morse portrayed George Washington on the HBO miniseries John Adams for which he received a second Emmy nomination. Morse has had various appearances on stage, but perhaps his most acclaimed performance is his portrayal of Uncle Peck on the Off-Broadway play How I Learned to Drive, for which he earned Drama Desk and Obie Awards. He has also had success on Broadway, playing James "Sharky" Harkin in The Seafarer.

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August
Leonore and Walter Annenberg with Ronald Reagan.

Leonore Annenberg is a billionaire former Chief of Protocol of the United States (1981–1982). A prominent philanthropist, she is the widow of former United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom and influential business magnate Walter Annenberg, and serves as the chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation. Annenberg was born in New York City and graduated from Stanford University. After her first marriage ended in divorce, she married Walter Annenberg, who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1969. In her role as the ambassador's wife, Leonore directed a major renovation of the ambassador's official residence. A wealthy couple, they contributed to Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign and upon his inauguration, Leonore was named Chief of Protocol, placing her in charge of advising the president, vice president, and Secretary of State on matters relating to diplomatic protocol. The Annenberg's became major philanthropists, donating money to education facilities, charitable causes, and the arts. Leonore served on many committees and boards as well. Following Walter Annenberg's death in 2002, she continues to donate money and promote the Annenberg Foundation.

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July

80px|left|Walter Francis O'Malley.

Walter O'Malley was an American sports executive who owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1979 and who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He served as the Dodgers' chief legal counsel when Jackie Robinson broke the racial color barrier in 1947. In 1958, as the Dodgers' owner, he brought major league baseball to the West Coast, moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and coordinating the move of the New York Giants to San Francisco at a time when there were no teams west of Missouri. For this, he was long vilified by Brooklyn Dodgers fans. However, neutral parties have called him a visionary for the same business action, and many authorities cite him as one of the most influential sportsmen of the 20th century. His detractors say that he was no visionary, just a man who was in the right place at the right time, yet still regard him as the most powerful and influential owner in baseball after moving the team. O'Malley's Irish father, Edwin Joseph O'Malley, was politically connected. Walter, a University of Pennsylvania salutatorian, went on to earn a Juris Doctorate, and he used the combination of his family connections, his personal contacts, and his educational and vocational skills to rise to prominence. First, he became an entrepreneur involved in public works contracting, and then he became an executive with the Dodgers. He rose from the team's lawyer to the Dodgers' owner and president, and he eventually made the decision to relocate the franchise. Although he moved the team, O'Malley is known as a businessman whose major philosophy was stability through loyalty to and from his employees. During the 1975 season, the Dodgers' inability to negotiate a contract with Andy Messersmith led to the Seitz decision, which limited the baseball reserve clause and paved the way for modern free agency. O'Malley ceded the team presidency to his son, Peter, in 1970 but held the titles of owner and chairman until his death in 1979, when he bequeathed the team to his children Peter O'Malley and Therese O'Malley Seidler.

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June
Albert Alexander "Ox" Wistert.

Al Wistert is a former All-Pro American football offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played his entire nine-year NFL career for the Eagles and became their team captain. He was named to play in the NFL's first Pro Bowl as an Eagle. During most of Wistert's career there were no football All-star games although he was named to the league All-Pro team eight times. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He is one of the three Wistert brothers (Alvin, Francis) who were named All-American Tackles at Michigan and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first Michigan Alum to be selected to the National Football League Pro Bowl. He and his brothers are three of the seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program.

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May
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in the United States, the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and was the first National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander served on many boards, committees, and commissions and held office in many local and national organizations including: President Harry Truman's Committee on Human Rights in 1947 and on the Commission on Human Relations of the City of Philadelphia from 1952 until 1968. She worked in her husband's law firm from 1927 until 1959, when he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. She practiced law on her own until 1976, when she joined the firm of Atkinson, Myers, and Archie as a general counsel. She retired in 1982, was ill with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases for several years, and died in 1989.

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April
Charles Wade Barkley.

Charles Barkley is a retired American professional basketball player. Nicknamed "Sir Charles," for his aggressive and outspoken demeanor, and "The Round Mound of Rebound," for his unusual build and talent as a player, Barkley established himself as one of the National Basketball Association's most dominating power forwards. He was selected to both the All-NBA First Team and All-NBA Second Team five times and once named to the All-NBA Third Team. He earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. In 1993, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player and during the NBA's 50th anniversary, named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team. In 2006, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Barkley was popular with the fans and media, and made the NBA's All-Interview Team for each of his last 13 seasons in the league. He was frequently involved in on- and off-court fights and sometimes stirred national controversy, as in 1993 when he declared that sports figures should not be considered role models. Short for a power forward, he used tenacity and strength to become a dominant rebounder. He was a versatile player who could score, defend, rebound, and assist. In 2002, he retired as one of only four players in NBA history with 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists.

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March
Margaret Mead.

Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the '60s and '70s. She was both a populariser of the insights of anthropology into modern American and western life, and also a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the purportedly healthy attitude towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the '60s "sexual revolution". At the end of her career, her propositions were — albeit controversially — challenged by a fellow anthropologist and literate members of societies on whom she had long before studied and reported. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual mores within a context of traditional western religious life. Perhaps unexpectedly, in view of her famously unconventional views as to the desirability of adjusting traditional family patterns to suit modern times, she remained to her life's end a conventional Anglican Christian and indeed took a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer.

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February
A football.

Al Wistert is a former All-Pro American football offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played his entire nine-year NFL career for the Eagles and became their team captain. He was named to play in the NFL's first Pro Bowl as an Eagle. During most of Wistert's career there were no football All-star games although he was named to the league All-Pro team eight times. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines. He is one of the three Wistert brothers (Alvin, Francis) who were named All-American Tackles at Michigan and later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first Michigan Alum to be selected to the National Football League Pro Bowl. He and his brothers are three of the seven players who have had their numbers retired by the Michigan Wolverines football program.

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January
Terry Gross.

Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, an interview format radio show produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and distributed throughout the United States by National Public Radio. Gross has won praise over the years for her low-key and friendly yet often probing interview style and for the diversity of her guests. She has a reputation for researching her guests' entire lives and asking them about lesser known aspects of their early careers. After growing up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York she began her radio career in 1973 at WBFO in Buffalo, New York. She moved to WHYY-FM in Philadelphia in 1975 to host and produce Fresh Air which began being distributed nationally by NPR in 1985.

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