Media mogul Sumner Redstone dies at 97

Sumner Redstone, who built a media empire from his family's drive-in movie chain, has died. He was 97. Redstone had a tight grip on the National Amusements theater chain, which controlled CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. through voting stock. PHOTO CREDIT: Willy Sanjuan

Sumner Redstone, who built a media empire from his family’s drive-in movie chain, has died. He was 97.

Redstone built the company through aggressive acquisitions, but many headlines with his name focused on severed ties with wives, actors and executives. In multiple interviews, he said he’d never die.

His tight-fisted grip on the National Amusements theater chain, which controlled CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. through voting stock, was passed to his daughter Shari Redstone, who battled top executives to re-merge the two entities that split in 2006.