|Birth Day:||December 17, 1937|
|Death Date:||Dec 26, 2005 (age 68)|
|Birth Place:||Sydney, Australia|
|#5||R. C. Packer||Grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#7||James Packer||Son||$3.7 Billion||N/A||53||Entrepreneur|
|#9||Jackson Lloyd Packer||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#10||Francesca Packer Barham||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#11||Emmanuelle Sheelah Packer||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As per our current Database, Kerry Packer died on Dec 26, 2005 (age 68).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He was a poor student but a talented athlete; he participated in such sports as cricket, rugby, and boxing.
Kerry Packer was born Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer on 17 December 1937 in Sydney. His father was Sir Frank Packer, an Australian media proprietor who controlled Australian Consolidated Press and the Nine Network. His mother, Gretel Bullmore, was the daughter of Herbert Bullmore, the Scottish rugby union player. He had an older brother, Clyde Packer. He took part in various sports at school, including boxing, cricket, and rugby; though he struggled academically, possibly due to undiagnosed dyslexia. On his father's death in 1974, the family estate, valued at $100 million, passed directly to Packer. His father had fallen out with his elder son, Clyde, in 1972.
Packer was often the centre of controversy. One of the earliest incidents occurred on 7 June 1960, when his father was trying to take over the Anglican Press, a small publisher run by Francis James. According to author Richard Neville, Frank Packer was angered by James' refusal to sell the Anglican Press, so he sent Kerry and some burly friends to pressure him into selling. They forced their way in and reportedly began vandalising the premises, but James was able to barricade himself in his office and call Rupert Murdoch, Packer's most powerful rival. Murdoch quickly dispatched his own team of 'heavies', who threw Kerry and friends out. Not surprisingly, the Murdoch press had a field day with the news that the son of Australia's biggest media tycoon had been caught brawling in the street.
Although Packer's reputation as an astute businessman was legendary and he made some good investments, he was by no means a self-made man—his grandfather, Robert Clyde Packer, and his father, Sir Frank Packer, had built up the media empire and its related holdings over many decades. As pointed out by internet news outlet Crikey, if $100 million had been invested in the Australian sharemarket in September 1974 through a balanced portfolio of the top 200 companies, that portfolio would be worth a lot more than $6.9 billion in December 2005, possibly as much as $11 billion.
Kerry Packer's independent business life began after his father's death in 1974 when he inherited control of the family's controlling share in PBL, valued at A$100 million. Further, his principal Australian investments in television and casinos were highly protected from competition by government regulation which Packer and his employees worked very hard to have maintained.
Outside Australia, Packer was best known for founding World Series Cricket. In 1977 the Nine Network cricket rights deal led to a confrontation with the cricket authorities, as top players from several countries rushed to join him at the expense of their international sides.
His most severe legal challenge came in 1984 with the Costigan Commission alleging (using the codename of "the squirrel", renamed "the Goanna" in media reports) that he was involved in tax evasion and organised crime, including drug trafficking. He successfully counter-attacked the commission with the assistance of his counsel Malcolm Turnbull. In 1987, the charges were formally dismissed by Attorney-General Lionel Bowen. Mystery surrounded Packer's receipt of a "loan" of A$225,000 in cash from Brian Ray, a bankrupt Queensland businessman. When questioned about this transaction at the Costigan Royal Commission Packer said "...I like cash. I have a squirrel mentality. I like to keep money in cash. It is by no means the most cash I ever had in my life."
Packer controlled Nine Network and Nine's Wide World of Sports in the 1980s, and "famously sold the network to Alan Bond and then bought it back three years later for less than a quarter of the price." Writes the Sydney Morning Herald, "Packer's decision to sell Nine to Bond in 1987 for $1.2 billion - before buying back the network in 1990 for $250 million - is legendary in Australian television."
In 1987, Packer made a fortune at the expense of disgraced tycoon Alan Bond. He reportedly sold Bond the Nine Network at the record price of A$1.05 billion in 1987, and then bought it back three years later for a mere A$250 million, when Bond's empire was collapsing. Packer later quipped, "You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I've had mine". Packer was then able to reinvest the proceeds in a 25% share in the Foxtel pay TV consortium.
Packer suffered as many as four heart attacks. In 1990, while playing polo at Warwick Farm, Sydney, he suffered from a heart attack that left him clinically dead for seven minutes. Packer was revived by paramedics and then airlifted to St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney, and received bypass surgery from Dr Victor Chang, a pioneering cardiac surgeon. It was not common for an ambulance to have a defibrillator at the time – it was purely by chance that the ambulance which responded to the call had one fitted.
Packer sometimes took a direct interest in the editorial content of his papers, although he was far less interventionist than the notoriously hands-on Rupert Murdoch. Packer also occasionally interfered directly in the programming of his TV stations; in 1992, he called his Sydney station, TCN-9, and ordered its personnel to "Get that shit off the air!", referring to Australia's Naughtiest Home Videos hosted by Doug Mulray, which was cut during its first and only airing on national television. (It has since aired in its entirety). He is also said to have often manipulated broadcasts of cricket himself, to ensure that the end of a cricket match was broadcast, despite previously set television broadcast schedules.
Packer was a keen polo player. In 1992, he and Gonzalo Pieres Sr. founded Ellerstina, a polo team that has claimed multiple titles at the Argentine Open and other high-handicap tournaments. Packer bought the Fyning Hill estate in West Sussex and expanded it to over 400 acres. Packer built the headquarters for his Ellerston polo team at Fyning Hill, and would arrive at the estate in May for the three-month English polo season. Packer sold the estate to the Russian businessman Roman Abramovich in 1999 for GB£12 million.
Packer funded the World Rugby Corporation (WRC), a company formed by lawyer Geoff Levy and former Wallaby player Ross Turnbull. Both wanted a professional worldwide rugby union competition in 1995. A majority of the All Blacks and Wallaby teams signed up to the WRC. In response, the Australian, New Zealand and South African rugby unions formed SANZAR, who partnered with News Limited to launch two professional competitions, the Super 12 and Tri Nations Series. The South African Rugby Union told the Springboks players that they would never play for their country again if they committed to the WRC, and they remained with the SARU. Most of the All Blacks then followed them, and finally the Wallabies did too, so the WRC project was abandoned.
Packer was a longtime heavy smoker and an avid gambler, fabled for his large wins and losses. In 1999, a three-week losing streak at London casinos cost him almost A$28 million – the biggest reported gambling loss in British history.
He also suffered from a chronic kidney condition for many years, and in 2000, he made headlines when his long-serving helicopter pilot, Nick Ross, donated one of his own kidneys to Packer for transplantation. The story of the transplant was covered in detail by the Australian TV documentary program Australian Story, a rare occasion on which Packer granted a media interview (and, to the surprise of many, not to his own network; Australian Story is produced by the public network, ABC). After recovering from the operation, Packer launched an organ transplant association in memory of cricketer David Hookes.
Kerry Packer was also one of Australia's largest landholders. In 2003, a deposit of rubies was discovered on one of his properties.
At the time of his death, the Nine Network was the jewel in the PBL crown. Although it had a tough year in 2005 against rival Seven Network (which was aided largely by US TV hits such as Desperate Housewives and Lost), Nine still finished the year as the number-one network.
Kerry Packer died of kidney failure on 26 December 2005, nine days after his 68th birthday, at home in Sydney, Australia, with his family by his bedside. Knowing that his health was failing, he instructed his doctors not to treat him with curative intent or by artificially prolonging his life with dialysis. He told his cardiologist earlier in the week that he was "running out of petrol" and wanted to "die with dignity". His private funeral service was held on 30 December 2005, at the family's country retreat, Ellerston, near Scone in the Hunter Region. Having obtained council permission, he was buried on the Ellerston property near the polo field.
The Packer family accepted an offer of a state memorial service, which was held on 17 February 2006 at the Sydney Opera House. The granting of this taxpayer-funded honour was criticised by some members of the community as Packer was famous for his alleged tax minimisation. At the memorial service, close friend Alan Jones was Master of Ceremonies; the service featured speeches from son, James, Russell Crowe on behalf of daughter Gretel, Prime Minister John Howard and Richie Benaud. Attendees included Tom Cruise (a friend of James Packer) and his then partner Katie Holmes; Greg Norman; members of the Australian cricket team; and past and present figures from all sides of politics.
In 2007, the Chaser's Andrew Hansen made passing mention of Packer's death in The Eulogy Song.
The Packer family has long been involved in media. Packer's grandfather Robert Clyde Packer owned two Sydney newspapers while his father, Sir Frank Packer, was one of Australia's first media moguls, and Kerry's son, James, was executive chairman of PBL, before resigning in 2008. Sir Frank wanted Kerry to experience work in the newspaper industry from the ground up, so Packer started in the loading dock of the Sydney newspaper The Telegraph, loading papers. He was not originally destined for the role, but in the early 1970s Kerry took the place of the designated successor, his older brother, Clyde, after Clyde fell out with their father, quit PBL and moved to America. Kerry took over the running of PBL in 1974, on the death of his father.
In June 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that former federal opposition leader, and subsequently an Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull – a former legal adviser and business associate of Packer – revealed to journalist Annabel Crabb that Packer had threatened to have him killed when they fell out over their 1991 attempt to take over the Fairfax newspaper group through their Tourang consortium. Packer reportedly made the threat after Turnbull told Packer he was going to have him thrown out of the consortium by revealing Packer's intention to play an interventionist role in the newspaper group.
One of the leaders of the "rebellion" was England captain Tony Greig. Greig remained a commentator on the Nine Network's payroll until his death in December 2012. Packer's aim was to secure broadcasting rights for Australian cricket, and he was largely successful. In the 1970s the global cricket establishment fiercely opposed Packer in the courts. To counter the establishment, Packer hired the ten best Senior Counsels in the UK and put them on retainers, stipulating that they were not to take on any additional work during the court case (the sole purpose of which was to deny the establishment the best legal minds to prosecute their case) . When he died he was mourned with a minute's silence at the MCG as one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport.
Currently, Kerry Packer is 83 years, 7 months and 8 days old. Kerry Packer will celebrate 84th birthday on a Friday 17th of December 2021.
Find out about Kerry Packer birthday activities in timeline view here.