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Buffett the movie 2 1-17


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Excerpt from Andy Kilpatrick's book -

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Buffett the movie 2 1-17

  1. 1. Speaking of Rockefeller, some comparison can be drawn as to the partnership of Rockefeller and Henry Flagler, who together built Standard Oil. Similarly, it was Buffett and Charles Munger who together built Berkshire. Two years in the making, the story moves along largely in Buffett’s own words. The film features never-before-released home videos, family photos, archival footage, and inter- views with family and friends. The show traces Buffett’s rise from his childhood investing in the stock market to his exalted spot as one of the most influential businessmen in the world. It includes profes- sional milestones from his saving Salomon Brothers after its bond trading scandal in the early 1990s to personal ones like the loss of his first wife Susie. Further, the movie tracks Buffett’s path to Columbia Business School where his teacher Ben Graham was a major influence on him. His partnership with Munger is recounted as are Buffett’s efforts to transform a strug- gling textile mill into a huge company with holdings in stocks, bonds, cash, and insur- ance companies. “I like numbers,” Buffett says in the movie to a group of I t was inevitable—yes, a full-length feature about the life and times of America’s financial genius, Warren Buffett. An HBO press release annnouncing the documentary, directed by Peter Kunhardt, called him "truly a one-of-a-kind billionaire. With a net worth of more than $60 billion, the legendary investor, now 86, still lives in a modest home in Omaha, and continues to drive himself to the office every morning to manage Berkshire Hathaway, the fourth largest public company in the world. But more surprising than his humble lifestyle and self-effacing personality are Buffett’s moral integrity and unique mind, which drove him not only to become the most successful businessman in the world, but also an unparalleled philanthropist.” HBO continued, “With unprecedented access to his day-to-day personal life, ‘Becoming Warren Buffett’ tells the improbable story of how an ambitious, numbers-obsessed boy from Nebraska became one of the richest, most- respected men in the world.'' The movie premiered on January 19, 2017, in New York at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Coincidentally, MOMA was founded by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr., the richest man of his time whom Buffett has now far surpassed. After adjusting for inflation, Rockefeller’s peak worth of $900 million in 1913 would be a mere $22 billion in today’s dollars. A pittance compared to the Buffett fortune. Museum of Modern Art The well-known Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York was the locale for the debut of the HBO movie "Becoming Warren Buffett" on January 19, 2017. About 450 invitees watched the premiere which ran for an hour and 36 minutes. MOMA as Movie Theater Buffett himself walked through this door with members of his family, greeted people, met with the press, sat in the audience, and watched the movie. Afterwards he greeted attendees for well over an hour before flying home. The Invitation This is the poster put out by HBO to announce its coming attraction (Photos by Pat Kilpatrick) Star of the Show Coke in hand, the movie star himself talked with guests late into the night after the movie aired. Buffett had come from a round of business talks, greeted dozens of people, and watched the movie before heading home to Omaha to meet with a visit- ing group of students. The Wall Street Journal (January 21-22, 2017) reported that Buffett and AIG CEO Peter Hancock had met for lunch earlier that day. AIG announced a $9.8 billion reinsurance deal with Berkshire early the next morning. 013017 The Story of Warren Buffett BUFFETT THE MOVIE 1 1
  2. 2. Omaha Central High School students. “It started before I can remember.” The film goes on to say how, as a seven-year-old, he read a library book called One Thousand Ways to Make $1000 and how he earned money selling Coca-Cola, gum, and newspapers. Before the release of the movie, Buffett’s fortune had risen to more than $70 billion (more than $100 billion if his charitable gifts are included) as Berkshire stock soared to $250,000 in late 2016. The film’s first trailer opened with the billionaire picking up fast food at a drive-through window where he ordered a sausage McMuffin with egg and cheese for $2.95 and passed up the $3.17 bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. He explains: “The market is down this morning, so I think I’ll pass up the $3.17 and go for the $2.95." Frugal, yes. No wonder one of his license plates said “Thrifty.” Among those interviewed in the movie were Buffett’s longtime friends Charles Munger, Bill Gates, and Carol Loomis, who had a half-century career with Fortune magazine. In 2006, Buffett announced he was giving the vast portion of his fortune to the Gates Foundation. HBO also made a documentary about Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher and her legendary mother Debbie Reynolds. After their sudden back-to-back deaths, HBO aired that show on January 7, 2017, earlier than planned. The “Singin’ in the Rain” star Ms. Reynolds was no stranger to Buffett. She attended two Berkshire annual meetings in the early 2000s. After meeting Buffett in 1999 when she was performing with the Omaha Symphony, she became a Berkshire shareholder. Buffett later invited her to the annual meet- ings and other events as well. “We had a couple of great dinners together,” Buffett said. (Omaha World-Herald, January 2, 2017). She was interested in Buffett’s ideas about investing at a time when she was watching her own finances. “I know show business, but I don’t know business business,” she was quoted in a 2001 interview (Omaha World-Herald, January 2, 2017). Buffett’s first wife Susie was featured prominently in the movie. He has said she was a great influence on him in a number of ways. She made him more aware of civil rights issues, charitable endeavors, and he said “rounded” him as a person from his near total focus on business. At one point in the movie, Buffett is photographed reading while his three children play in the room. Family members, including Mrs. Buffett (from comments taken from an earlier interview with Charlie Rose), said Buffett was “physically” present at home but often his deep thoughts took him elsewhere. One question that Buffett didn't wish to answer was what his last words to his father were. Reportedly, Buffett agreed to help with the movie to honor his father and first wife Susie, whom he felt had never received full credit. The movie showed Buffett teaching a class at Omaha’s Central High School where he shows his humor as well as his honesty when he tells the students when he was their age, he was really “bad” at dating. But at the same time, he was inspirational in his message about taking good care of the one mind and one body that each of us is given—they must “last a lifetime.” Buffett himself arrived at the premiere simply by walking through the front door of MOMA with family members. No sirens. No entourage. He dove into the evening’s gala shaking hands with some of the 450 people he personally invited as well as those invited by HBO or the Kunhardt family. The press, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Page Six/New York Post to People, were present with lots of questions about Trump. Buffett, a well-known Hillary Clinton backer, said he “overwhelmingly” supported Trump’s cabinet picks. Often Buffett has said that regardless of party, “Don’t bet against America.” CBS’s Lesley Stahl and former Fortune writer Carol Loomis were in house. Well-known Berkshire luminaries such as GEICO’s Tony Nicely and Ajit Jain, Berkshire's insurance guru, were predictably on hand. Big names such as American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to tennis great Billie Jean King were present and accounted for. Other invitees were HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler, who intro- duced the movie, Gloria Steinem; and “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan. President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass also attended. The movie received a standing ovation. Buffett ended his role by saying physically he was depreciating, adding that, “I’m getting down to salvage value.” Hardly. The party resumed in the main room well into the night with Buffett chatting, shaking hands, and hugging friends. His day finally came to an end when his NetJets flight touched down after midnight in the fog and cold of Omaha. Of Permanent Value Buffett the Movie 2 Peter Kunhardt Peter Kunhardt worked at ABC News for 10 years before joining with other family members to start his own Kunhardt Productions in 1987. He has produced other documentaries fea- turing Richard Nixon, Oprah Winfrey, P.T. Barnum, Gloria Steinem, Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln as well as John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy. Debbie Reynolds Richard Plepler