Jewish Billionaire Mort Zuckerman: Life is better than any fantasy

Mort Zuckerman is known as a billionaire, real estate magnate, media mogul and philanthropist. Not bad for a guy who says he came here from Canada without much money. “I think this country is an extraordinary country and a country of unbelievable opportunity for people like myself who came here not knowing anybody, completely broke and I just had an amazing run,” he said.

Zuckerman came to the U.S. from Montreal in the early sixties to attend the Wharton Business School of Economics, then Harvard Law. He eventually moved to New York in 1984. He’s been portrayed an icon of American business, but he still identifies strongly with being an immigrant. Mort Zuckerman may be on the inside of American business, media and philanthropy, but growing up in Montreal, he very much felt like the outsider. As a Jew, Zuckerman felt that French resentment of English-speaking Canada was directed at Jews. “We used to be attacked on the way to school by French gangs and that made me one of the fastest two block runners in the history of Montreal,” he said. “I saw what anti-Semitism was, nor were you able for a long time to buy homes in Montreal if you were Jewish, so there was that kind of discrimination,” he said.

He creates buildings, advises world leaders, appears on television, donates money to establish medical and scientific institutions. It is a life he could not envision as a young boy in Canada and a young man in the United States. “Mind boggling doesn’t even capture it. There’s no way I could’ve even imagined this. This is, I’ve always said, this is why I said, my life is better than my fantasy and my fantasies never covered anything like this,” he said.


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