William Wrigley III

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William A. Wrigley III
Born (1933-01-21)January 21, 1933
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died March 8, 1999(1999-03-08) (aged 66)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Occupation Confectionery magnate
Spouse(s) Julie Wrigley
Children Alison Wrigley Rusack, Philip K. Wrigley, Bill Wrigley, Jr.
Parent(s) Philip Knight Wrigley, Helen Atwater

William A. Wrigley III, known as William Wrigley, (January 21, 1933 – March 8, 1999) was president of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, founded by his grandfather William Wrigley, Jr. from 1961 until his death from pneumonia in March 1999.[1] His father P.K. Wrigley preceded him as president. He was succeeded by his son Bill Wrigley, Jr. as president and CEO. He inherited ownership of the Chicago Cubs in 1977. Only a few months later, his mother died, saddling Wrigley with a massive estate tax bill. Most of his money was tied up in either the Wrigley Company or the Cubs, forcing him to sell the Cubs to the Chicago Tribune in 1981.

The company enjoyed a substantial lead in the chewing gum industry during his early years with the firm but, by the time he assumed the presidency in 1961, the company's leadership was succumbing to sugarless gum, and later bubble gum. As a result, the Wrigley Company invested heavily in research in order to expand into several new lines. Under William Wrigley's stewardship the company ventured into Orbit, Freedent, Extra, Hubba Bubba, and Big Red. The company maintained its position as the world's largest manufacturer of chewing gum.

Wrigley was a member of the Yale College Class of 1954 and Delta Kappa Epsilon. He earned a major Football Y, or varsity letter, as manager of the Yale football team.

Wrigley lived by his mother's family motto, "When your name is on the door, you're obliged to watch the store." He was in his office daily, when not traveling to Wrigley Company factories abroad, which was his practice three times per year. He was a legal resident of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where he enjoyed ice-boating, cutting cattle, Arabian horses, and the family dogs. The family's Arabian horse business, first established at Catalina Island, was moved to Lake Geneva in the 1970s. The family's annual 4th of July fireworks display was a tradition in which he participated personally by selecting each component. He was a benefactor of the arts, enjoyed the American cinema, and was on the board at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema Television, now called USC School of Cinematic Arts.


  1. ^ "Wrigley". ChicagoBusiness. Crain Communications, Inc. October 17, 2005. Retrieved December 14, 2007.