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Donald Trump is a real estate mogul and billionaire. He is also owner of Trump Plaza and host of the NBC reality series, The Celebrity Apprentice.
Donald Trump - Trump Tower (1:32)
Merv Griffin - Full Biography (43:50)
Rosie O'Donnell - Full Episode (45:18)
This biography of Donald Trump focuses on his beloved Trump Tower building in New York City.
Donald Trump, celebrity entrepreneur, watched his Taj Mahal Casino lose revenue and saw the Trump Organization stare down bankruptcy while he was divorcing Ivana Trump.
Merv Griffin, America's ultimate showman, knew what audiences wanted and made it his life's work to entertain with his talk show and his game shows "Wheel of Fortune," and "Jeopardy."
The full Biography episode on the life of Rosie O'Donnell.
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Trump then worked out a complex deal with the city to win a 40-year tax abatement, arranged financing, and then completely renovated the building, constructing a striking new facade of reflective glass designed by architect Der Scutt. When the hotel, renamed the Grand Hyatt, opened in 1980, it was popular and an economic success, making Donald Trump the city's best known and most controversial developer.
Trump married Ivana Zelnickova Winklmayr, a New York fashion model who had been an alternate on the 1968 Czech Olympic Ski Team, in 1977. After the birth of the first of the couple's three children in 1978, Donald John Trump, Jr., Ivana Trump was named vice president in charge of design in the Trump Organization and played a major role in supervising the renovation of the Commodore.
In 1979 Trump leased a site on Fifth Avenue adjacent to the famous Tiffany & Company as the location for a monumental $200 million apartment-retail complex designed by Der Scutt. It was named Trump Tower when it opened in 1982. The 58-story building featured a 6-story atrium lined with pink marble and included an 80-foot waterfall. The luxurious building attracted well-known retail stores and celebrity renters and brought Trump national attention.
Meanwhile Trump was investigating the profitable casino gambling business, which was approved in New Jersey in 1977. In 1980 he was able to acquire a piece of property in Atlantic City. He brought in his younger brother Robert to head up the complex project of acquiring the land, winning a gambling license, and obtaining permits and financing. Holiday Inns Corporation, the parent company of Harrah's casino hotels, offered a partnership, and the $250 million complex opened in 1982 as Harrah's at Trump Plaza. Trump bought out Holiday Inns in 1986 and renamed the facility Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Trump also purchased a Hilton Hotels casino-hotel in Atlantic City when the corporation failed to obtain a gambling license and renamed the $320 million complex Trump's Castle. Later, while it was under construction, he was able to acquire the largest hotel-casino in the world, the Taj Mahal at Atlantic City, which opened in 1990.
Back in New York City, Donald Trump had purchased an apartment building and the adjacent Barbizon-Plaza Hotel in New York City, which faced Central Park, with plans to build a large condominium tower on the site. The tenants of the apartment building, however, who were protected by the city's rent control and rent stabilization programs, fought Trump's plans and won. Trump then renovated the Barbizon, renaming it Trump Parc. In 1985 Trump purchased 76 acres on the west side of Manhattan for $88 million to build a complex to be called Television City, which was to consist of a dozen skyscrapers, a mall, and a riverfront park. The huge development was to stress television production and feature the world's tallest building, but community opposition and a long city approval process delayed commencement of construction of the project.
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