Sumner Redstone has been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for years. He’s a billionaire. His assets include CBS and Viacom. Ten years ago he fired Tom Cruise which used to be my primary gossip association with him. Here’s how Sumner explained it, rather Trumpily:
“Originally, I actually fired Tom. His behavior was terrible,” Redstone said at a semi-private lunch at the Milken Institute Global Conference (in 2012). “He was jumping on the couch on the Oprah show. Women hated him. A lot of people said they would never come back and see Tom Cruise. Actually, he was getting $10 million, on the lot, for doing nothing," Redstone continued. "That’s why I fired him, and a lot of the studios complimented me.”
Sumner and Tom eventually made up. The way Sumner tells the story, Tom grovelled and he accepted.
Over the last few years though, Sumner’s been in a mess of his own. He’s now 93 years old. He’s in terrible health. And he’s suing two ex-girlfriends, Sydney Holland and Manuela Herzer, for elder abuse, alleging that they made off with $150 million leaving him “in debt” for the taxes he has to pay for their “gifts”. The story was widely reported yesterday in the LA Times, the NY Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and other major outlets. And if you’re only going by those accounts, it certainly does seem like garden variety golddigging. But it’s wayyyyy more complicated than that. And SO smutty.
Earlier this year, Vanity Fair published a detailed piece about the situation called Inside the Raging Legal Battle Over Sumner Redstone’s Final Days. This story has everything: a megalomaniacal ego, a father-daughter duel, boardroom politics, opportunists, cheating, geriatric sex, studio executives, and an ex-con. Rich people problems! And, as always, at the root of it, one word: MORE.
Yours in gossip,