If diversifying your portfolio is a basic aphorism for financial health, then Barry Diller—as influential in the mass media of the 2010s as he was during the 1960s—is as healthy as a billionaire’s horse, with a net worth of $1.8 billion, according to Forbes.
After a legendary career in television and film (ABC and Paramount during an age that produced everything from Laverne and Shirley to Saturday Night Fever to Indiana Jones to Terms of Endearment), Mr. Diller created the Fox Broadcasting Network with Rupert Murdoch and gave the go-ahead to The Simpsons, among others. In 1992, Mr. Diller left Fox to build his own empire, starting with QVC, Home Shopping Network and USA Network. His company, IAC/InterActiveCorp, would beat much of the media establishment into Internet media, assembling a varied portfolio of web companies: Expedia, Match.com, CitySearch, Ticketmaster, LendingTree, Ask.com, TripAdvisor. Now, with Aereo, he’s dragging broadcast TV kicking and screaming into mobile-device media. Overlooking the Hudson, IAC’s Frank Gehry-designed headquarters in Chelsea introduced a neighborhood of shops and small businesses to the joys of conglomerates. Mr. Diller’s considerable influence extends beyond his own achievements. He is married to Diane von Furstenberg. Their Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation supports several aims such as education, human rights, the arts and the environment. The foundation also had a hand in taming and beautifying our urban jungle, committing in 2011 to donate a record $20 million to the future of the High Line. Finally, Mr. Diller’s emphasis on mentoring has sprinkled his acolytes throughout corporate America, to the point that the phenomenon has a nickname. “The Killer Dillers” include executives who have gone on to head the Walt Disney Company, Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks SKG, BBC America and others.