Sumner Redstone’s Mogul Swashbuckling Typified A Bygone Corporate Media Era

The reminders came often from Sumner Redstone, self-made architect of a vast media empire.

“Viacom is me,” he once told Fortune magazine. “I’m Viacom. That marriage is eternal, forever.”

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“I’m in control!” he chided Mel Karmazin in a nationally televised news conference as the executive tried to outline his vision for the newly merged Viacom and CBS. “Remember — I’m in control!”

The late Frank Biondi Jr., who engineered a series of key deals in the 1980s and ’90s as Viacom CEO, once acknowledged to the New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta that it could be frustrating toiling in semi-obscurity. “Sumner is the embodiment of this place,” he shrugged.

Redstone, who died Wednesday at age 97, personified more than just a single company. He came to represent a media and entertainment era when deeply flawed, nakedly ambitious, larger-than-life personalities single-handedly set the agenda.

“Sumner Redstone was, for all

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