On this date in 1937, Kerry Packer was born in Sydney, Australia. His father was the wealthy Sir Frank Packer, an influential figure in Australian publishing and broadcasting. After his father’s death in 1974, Packer inherited Sir Frank Packer’s media legacy: He became head of the Australian Consolidated Press (1974–2005), chairman of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, and owner of Channel Nine. In 1977, Packer founded World Series Cricket, an independent cricket competition televised on Channel Nine, which provided higher salaries for players and changed the way that cricket was played for television. In order to form World Series Cricket, Packer recruited famous players from traditional cricket teams, making him the subject of worldwide controversy. He married Roslyn Redman Weedon in 1963 and they have two children, James and Gretel.
In 1990, Packer suffered the first of many heart attacks while playing polo. The heart attack left Packer clinically dead, but he was successfully revived after about eight minutes. “Believe me, there is nothing on the other side. I’ve been there,” Packer said of his experience (quoted in a Dec. 27, 2005 BBC News article). D. 2005