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How Baseball Owners Made Their Fortunes

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Baseball season is finally here, so let's take a look at the people profiting from $16 stadium beers.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Ken Kendrick (Part-Owner)

Owner Since: 1995

The Numbers: Forbes estimates the Diamondbacks are worth $447 million. Kendrick was a founding part-owner of the franchise in 1995 and became Managing General Partner in 2004.

Collector: Kendrick owns the most expensive baseball card in history, the T206 Honus Wagner. He paid $2.8 million for the card—dubbed the "Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner" because Wayne Gretzky was one of its previous owners—in 2007. Kendrick owns more than 10,000 baseball cards.

How He Got Rich: In the '70s, Kendrick merged his data technology firm with another to create Datatel, Inc. The company specializes in information processing and software products for higher education.

Atlanta Braves: Liberty Media (Chairman John C. Malone)

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Owners Since: 2007

The Numbers: The media group bought the Braves in 2007 for $450 million. The baseball franchise is worth around $508 million today. Forbes estimates the company's Chairman, John Malone, to be worth $7.1 billion.

Other Holdings: Liberty Media either owns or holds large shares of QVC, Expedia, Sirius XM Radio, and Barnes & Noble.

How He Got Rich: Malone started in telecomunications at AT&T and served as the President and CEO of TCI before becoming the Chairman of Liberty Media Group.

Baltimore Orioles: Peter Angelos

Owner Since: 1993

The Numbers: Angelos led a group of investors in the $173 million acquisition of the Baltimore Orioles. They were awarded the franchise in bankruptcy court.

Other Investors: Techno-thriller novelist Tom Clancy was a member of that investment group and made $230 million from his original $43 million stake in the team. That buys a lot of U.S. Navy baseball hats.

How He Got Rich: Angelos is a successful personal injury attorney. He represented the state of Maryland in their suit against Philip Morris and his firm also took on the manufacturers of the diet drug Fen-Phen.

Boston Red Sox: John W. Henry

Owner Since: 2002

The Numbers: After he sold the Florida Marlins, John W. Henry and his partner Tom Werner paid $380 million for the Red Sox in 2002. The team is now worth $1.3 billion.

Other Ventures: Henry is also the principal owner of the Boston Globe and Liverpool FC, and is a part-owner of NASCAR's Roush Fenway Racing team.

How He Got Rich: John Henry started a commodities management company in 1981. According to Forbes, he is "winding down" the "struggling" firm.

Chicago Cubs: Thomas S. Ricketts

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Owner Since: 2009

The Numbers: The Ricketts family bought the Cubs for $700 million.

Wrigley Connection: After college, Ricketts lived with his brother in an apartment across the street from Wrigley Field. He also met his wife in Wrigley's bleachers during a game.

How He Got Rich: Tom Ricketts is a director of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (his father founded Ameritrade in 1983). He is also the chairman of Incapital LLC, an investment firm. The Ricketts family wealth is estimated at $1 billion.

Chicago White Sox: Jerry Reinsdorf

Owner Since 1981

The Numbers: Reinsdorf bought the White Sox for $20 million. The team is now worth an estimated $695 million.

Other Ventures: Reinsdorf also owns the Chicago Bulls. He bought the then-financially struggling basketball team in 1985. The Bulls are now one of the most profitable franchises in sports.

How He Got Rich: Reinsdorf started his career as a tax attorney. He went on to specialize in real estate tax shelters and investments in properties that were under construction.

Cincinnati Reds: Robert Castellini

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Owner Since: 2006

The Numbers: Castellini led a group that purchased the team for $270 million from dairy billionaire Carl Lindner, Jr. in 2006.

Frequent Buyers Club: Robert Castellini was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' ownership group as well as the investment group that purchased the Baltimore Orioles.

How He Got Rich: He is the president of a Cincinnati-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler.

Cleveland Indians: Larry Dolan

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Owner Since: 1999

The Numbers: Larry Dolan bought the team for $323 million. The Indians are now estimated to be worth $600 million.

Family Business: His brother Charles founded Cablevision, which controls the Madison Square Garden company. That entity, which is now run by Larry's nephew James, owns the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.

How He Got Rich: Dolan was a successful lawyer and is a managing partner of a large Ohio-based firm.

Colorado Rockies: Charles and Richard Monfort

Owners Since: 1992

The Numbers: The Monfort brothers bought a controlling interest in the expansion team in 1992, paying $92 million. The Rockies are now worth an estimated $575 million.

They Don't Quite Agree With Those Numbers Above: Dick Monfort thinks the club is worth a little more than Forbes' estimate. In an email to the Denver Post, he wrote, "The Astros sold for $600 million, as did the Padres, so I would guess that is the realm of our value. Then you do balance sheet adjustment. Forbes is close."

How They Got Rich: Their father sold his meat processing and distributing company for $365.5 million to ConAgra Foods in 1987. Both brothers work as executives there.

Detroit Tigers: Mike Ilitch

Owner Since: 1992

The Numbers: Ilitch bought the Tigers in 1992 for $82 million. The team is worth an estimated $680 million.

Second Baseman: He played minor league ball for four years before injuring his knee.

How He Got Rich: Pizza pizza. In 1959, Ilitch opened Little Caesars Pizza in Garden City, Michigan. A massive franchise followed, and Illitch is worth an estimate $2.7 billion today.

Houston Astros: Jim Crane

Owner Since: 2011

The Numbers: Crane paid $465 million for the Astros in 2011.

Scratch Golfer: Golf Digest ranks Crane as the world's best CEO golfer. As of 2006, he had a 0.8 handicap.

How He Got Rich: Crane founded Eagle Global Logistics, Inc., a worldwide transportation and supply management company, in 1984. He served as CEO until it merged with CEVA Logistics in 2007.

Kansas City Royals: David Glass

Owner Since: 2000

The Numbers: Glass was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royals in 1993 and eventually bought the team in 2000 for $96 million. They are now worth an estimated $490 million.

How He Got Rich: From 1988 to 2000, Glass served as CEO of Wal-Mart.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Arturo Moreno

Owner Since 2003

The Numbers: Moreno bought the Angels from The Walt Disney Company in 2003 for $180 million.

Pioneer: Moreno is the first ever Mexican American owner of a major U.S. sports team.

How He Got Rich: He started his career in advertising and eventually became the CEO of Outdoor Systems, a billboard company. Moreno sold Outdoor Systems in 2008 for a reported $8 billion. He is now worth an estimated $1.15 billion.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Guggenheim Baseball Management (CEO: Mark Walter)

Owner Since: 2012

The Numbers: Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group let by Mark Walter (Magic Johnson is another notable member), purchased the Dodgers in 2012 for $2 billion—a record amount for a sports team.

How He Got Rich: Walter is a founder and CEO of Guggenheim Partners, LLC, a financial and investment firm based in New York and Chicago.

Miami Marlins: Jeffrey Loria

Owner Since: 2002

The Numbers: Loria had become majority owner of the Montreal Expos in 1999. After a series of miscues (some accuse these of being deliberate), Loria couldn't secure English-language television rights and demanded tax funds for a new stadium (the request was denied). In 2002, with the help of commissioner Bud Selig, Loria sold the Expos to MLB for $120 million. John W. Henry, the owner of the Marlins at the time, then sold the Florida team to Loria for $158.5 million, making it possible for Henry to buy the Red Sox. The Expos were then moved to D.C. to become the Nationals. All three moves happened almost simultaneously, with all parties working closely together on the switches.

Nice Painting, Can it Play Third?: In 2013, Loria sold one Alberto Giacometti painting for $32.6 million. As Yahoo! notes, that's over $6 million less than the Marlins' payroll at the time.

How He Got Rich: After studying art in college, Loria became head of the Vincent Price Collection of artwork at Sears (yes, this was a thing). After leaving the department store, he opened his own gallery and became a successful art dealer.

Milwaukee Brewers: Mark Attanasio

Owner Since: 2005

The Numbers: Attanasio led a group that purchased the Brewers from the Selig family for $223 million.

Collector: After his collection of Yankees Topps cards was stolen from a cousin's house, Attanasio tried to replenish the entire set by buying replacements on eBay.

How He Got Rich: Attanasio co-founded Crescent Capital Group, an investment firm, in 1991. The group was sold to the Trust Company of the West in 1995, and he stayed on as an executive.

Minnesota Twins: Jim Pohlad

Owner Since: 1984

The Numbers: Carl Pohlad purchased the Twins in 1984 for $44 million. After his death in 2009, his son Jim inherited the team, which is now worth an estimated $605 million.

Number Cruncher: When his father bought the Twins, Jim Pohlad worked as an analyst and made payroll projections for the team.

How He Got Rich: Pohlad's father got into the banking industry after the great depression and became a successful investor in industries like aviation and soft-drink bottling. At the time of his death, Carl Pohlad's net worth was estimated at $3.6 billion.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon (Majority Owner)

Owner Since: 2002

The Numbers: In 2002, Wilpon and his family became the majority owners of the Mets for a total sum of $391 million.

Madoff Money: Wilpon invested heavily with Bernie Madoff. After Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme fell apart, victims sued Wilpon and other Mets owners for knowingly supporting the fraud. They agreed on a settlement of $162 million, as well as the acknowledgment that Wilpon and the Mets' ownership had no clue about the scheme.

How He Got Rich: In the 1970s, Wilpon and his brother started Sterling Equities, a real estate development company. They focused on real estate at the bottom of the market and the business soon boomed.

New York Yankees: Hal Steinbrenner

Owner Since: 1973

The Numbers: George Steinbrenner led a group that purchased the Yankees from CBS for under $10 million in 1973. They are now worth $2.5 billion, making them the most valuable team in baseball and the fourth most valuable franchise in all of sports.

How He Got Rich: Hal was given control of the Yankees in 2007 by his father, George, as his health began to wane. The family's money originally came from the Kinsman Marine Transit Company, a shipping business purchased by George's great-grandfather in 1901.

Oakland Athletics: Lewis Wolff and John L. Fisher (Co-Owners)

Owner Since: 2005

The Numbers: Wolff led the ownership group that bought the A's for $180 million in 2005. The majority owner is John J. Fisher, who staked most of the money.

Soccer Side Projects: Fisher has small ownership investments in the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS and Scottish side Glasgow Celtic.

How He Got Rich: Wolff made his fortune in real estate. He began as an appraiser in St. Louis before moving west and becoming a development mogul in San Diego. His companies now manage hotel properties around the world.

Fisher is an heir to the Gap clothing fortune. He is worth an estimated $2.8 billion.

Philadelphia Phillies: David Montgomery (Managing Group Partner)

Owner Since: 1981

The Numbers: David Montgomery is managing partner of the group that bought the Phillies from the Carpenter family for $30 million in 1981.

Heckling the Team He'd One Day Run: As a teenager, Montgomery would attend Phillies games with friend (and future Pennsylvania Governor) Ed Rendell. One time, after ribbing Phillies reliever Turk Farrell, Rendell recalls, “[Farrell] got so mad he looked like he was going to throw a ball at us, and Turk could really hum the ball. We were scared to death.”

How He Got Rich: Montgomery's wealth comes from within the franchise—he was the team's director of sales and marketing before becoming its business director shortly before the purchase.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Robert Nutting

Owner Since:1996

The Numbers: Robert Nutting purchased the team for $92 million. The Pirates are now evaluated to be worth $572 million.

Air Pirate: Nutting is a licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor.

How He Got Rich: Nutting is the President and CEO of Ogden Newspapers, a publisher of over 40 newspapers and media outlets across the U.S. that was started by his great-grandfather in 1890.

San Diego Padres: Ron Fowler

Image courtesy of Bagumba, used under Creative Commons license.

Owner Since: 2012

The Numbers: Fowler was a member of the minority ownership group of the Padres and organized a new group that bought full ownership of the team in 2012 for $800 million (as much as $200 million of the sale included the rights to Fox Sports San Diego).

Other Ventures: Fowler used to own the San Diego Shockers, an indoor soccer team that dissolved in 1996.

How He Got Rich: Fowler is the chairman of Liquid Investments, a West Coast beer distribution company.

San Francisco Giants: Charles Bartlett Johnson (Principal Owner)

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Owner Since 1992

The Numbers: In 2012, Charles B. Johnson upped his stake in the Giants' ownership group and became principal owner (the group had purchased the team in 1992 for $100 million).

Low-Visibility Owner: Johnson watched the Giants' 2010 World Series victory at home on TV and he sent his daughter to represent him during the parade.

How He Got Rich: Johnson was the Chairman of Franklin Resources, which controls mutual fund purveyor Franklin Templeton. His father founded Franklin Distributors in 1947. Charles B. Johnson's net worth is estimated at $7.7 billion.

Seattle Mariners: Nintendo (represented by CEO Howard Lincoln)

Owner Since: 1992

The Numbers: Gaming giant Nintendo bought the Mariners in 1992 in a deal worth $100 million. The team is now worth $710 million. Howard Lincoln became the CEO of the Mariners after the death of majority shareholder and former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Baseball?: When he bought the Mariners, Yamauchi admitted that he had never been to a baseball game in his entire life. Despite owning the team for 20 years until his death, Yamauchi never attended a single game.

How He Got Rich: Lincoln started his career with Nintendo as a lawyer before eventually working his way up to Chairman in 1994.

St. Louis Cardinals: William DeWitt, Jr.

Owner Since: 1995

The Numbers: DeWitt and his partners purchased the Cardinals from Anheuser-Busch for $150 million.

Serial Investor: Before buying the Cardinals, DeWitt was a member of groups that invested in the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.

How He Got Rich: DeWitt is a founder of the investment firm Reynolds, DeWitt & Co., which owns various properties such as the U.S. Playing Card Company and dozens of Arby's franchises.

Tampa Bay Rays: Stuart Sternberg

Owner Since: 1995

The Numbers: Sternberg is the Rays' principal owner—he bought a controlling interest in the team for $200 million.

Adios, "Devil": In 2007, Sternberg oversaw the team's name change from "Devil Rays" to, simply, "Rays": "We were tied to the past, and the past wasn't necessarily something we wanted to be known for."

How He Got Rich: Sternberg started investing in the stock market and worked in the industry until 2002, when he retired from Goldman Sachs as a partner. According to the New York Times, "he cashed out...for a reported $400 million."

Texas Rangers: Ray Davis

YouTube

Owner Since: 2010

The Numbers: Davis bought the Rangers for $593 million. The team is now valued at $825 million.

Invisible Owner: After the (suspected) ousting of team CEO Chuck Greenberg, the notoriously hard-to-find Davis talked to reporters to answer questions. Davis quickly reminded them not to get used to it: "Neither Bob [Simpson] or I expect ever to do another press conference."

How He Got Rich: Ray Davis's estimated net worth is around $1.9 billion. He made his money in the energy sector, acting as CEO of Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. until 2007.

Toronto Blue Jays: Rogers Communications (Chairman: Alan Horn, CEO: Guy Lawrence)

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Owner Since: 2000

The Numbers: Rogers Communications acquired the Blue Jays in 2000 for $137 million.

Company Ownership: The Blue Jays are one of three Major League Baseball teams to be owned by a company (The Braves and Seattle Mariners are the other two).

Washington Nationals: Ted Lerner

Owner Since: 2006

The Numbers: The Lerner Family bought the Nationals from MLB for $450 million.

Other Ventures: Lerner is a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Verizon Center and the Washington Wizards and Capitals.

How He Got Rich: Lerner, a real estate mogul, began by building shopping centers in rural Maryland. His net worth is estimated to be around $4 billion.

See Also:

How NBA Owners Made Their Money
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How NFL Owners Made Their Money

All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise stated. Financial numbers are from Forbes unless otherwise stated.

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12 Surprising Facts About Bela Lugosi
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On October 20, 1882—135 years ago today—one of the world's most gifted performers was born. In his heyday, Bela Lugosi was hailed as the undisputed king of horror. Eighty-five years after he first donned a vampire’s cape, Lugosi's take on Count Dracula is still widely hailed as the definitive portrayal of the legendary fiend. But who was the man behind the monster?

1. HE WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL THEATER OF HUNGARY.

To the chagrin of his biographers, the details concerning Bela Lugosi’s youth have been clouded in mystery. (In a 1929 interview, he straight-up admitted “for purposes of simplification, I have always thought it better to tell [lies] about the early years of my life.”) That said, we do know that he was born as Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó on October 20, 1882 in Lugoj, Hungary (now part of Romania). We also know that his professional stage debut came at some point in either 1901 or 1902. By 1903, Lugosi had begun to find steady work with traveling theater companies, through which he took part in operas, operettas, and stage plays. In 1913, Lugosi caught a major break when the most prestigious performing arts venue in his native country—the Budapest-based National Theater of Hungary—cast him in no less than 34 shows. Most of the characters that he played there were small Shakespearean roles such as Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Sir Walter Herbert in Richard III.

2. HE FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR I.

The so-called war to end all wars put Lugosi’s dramatic aspirations on hold. Although being a member of the National Theater exempted him from military service, he voluntarily enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1914. Over the next year and a half, he fought against Russian forces as a lieutenant with the 43rd Royal Hungarian Infantry. While serving in the Carpathian mountains, Lugosi was wounded on three separate occasions. Upon healing from his injuries, he left the armed forces in 1916 and gratefully resumed his work with the National Theater.

3. WHEN HE MADE HIS BROADWAY DEBUT, LUGOSI BARELY KNEW ANY ENGLISH.

In December 1920, Lugosi boarded a cargo boat and emigrated to the United States. Two years later, audiences on the Great White Way got their first look at this charismatic stage veteran. Lugosi was cast as Fernando—a suave, Latin lover—in the 1922 Broadway stage play The Red Poppy. At the time, his grasp of the English language was practically nonexistent. Undaunted, Lugosi went over all of his lines with a tutor. Although he couldn’t comprehend their meaning, the actor managed to memorize and phonetically reproduce every single syllable that he was supposed to deliver on stage.

4. UNIVERSAL DIDN’T WANT TO CAST HIM AS COUNT DRACULA.

The year 1927 saw Bela Lugosi sink his teeth into the role of a lifetime. A play based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker had opened in London in 1924. Sensing its potential, Horace Liveright, an American producer, decided to create an U.S. version of the show. Over the summer of 1927, Lugosi was cast as the blood-sucking Count Dracula. For him, the part represented a real challenge. In Lugosi’s own words, “It was a complete change from the usual romantic characters I was playing, but it was a success.” It certainly was. Enhanced by his presence, the American Dracula remained on Broadway for a full year, then spent two years touring the country.

Impressed by its box office prowess, Universal decided to adapt the show into a major motion picture in 1930. Horror fans might be surprised to learn that when the studio began the process of casting this movie’s vampiric villain, Lugosi was not their first choice. At the time, Lugosi was still a relative unknown, which made director Tod Browning more than a little hesitant to offer him the job. A number of established actors were all considered before the man who’d played Dracula on Broadway was tapped to immortalize his biting performance on film.

5. MOST OF HIS DRACULA-RELATED FAN MAIL CAME FROM WOMEN.

The recent Twilight phenomenon is not without historical precedent. Lugosi estimated that, while he was playing the Count on Broadway, more than 97 percent of the fan letters he received were penned by female admirers. A 1932 Universal press book quotes him as saying, “When I was on the stage in Dracula, my audiences were composed mostly of women.” Moreover, Lugosi contended that most of the men who’d attended his show had merely been dragged there by female companions.   

6. HE TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER.

Released in 1931, Dracula quickly became one of the year's biggest hits for Universal (some film historians even argue that the movie single-handedly rescued the ailing studio from bankruptcy). Furthermore, its astronomical success transformed Lugosi into a household name for the first time in his career. Regrettably for him, though, he’d soon miss the chance to star in another smash. Pleased by Dracula’s box office showing, Universal green-lit a new cinematic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Lugosi seemed like the natural choice to play the monster, but because the poor brute had few lines and would be caked in layers of thick makeup, the actor rejected the job offer. As far as Lugosi was concerned, the character was better suited for some “half-wit extra” than a serious actor. Once the superstar tossed Frankenstein aside, the part was given to a little-known actor named Boris Karloff.

Moviegoers eventually did get to see Lugosi play the bolt-necked corpse in the 1943 cult classic Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. According to some sources, he strongly detested the guttural scream that the script forced him to emit at regular intervals. “That yell is the worst thing about the part. You feel like a big jerk every time you do it!” Lugosi allegedly complained.

7. LUGOSI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH BORIS KARLOFF WAS MORE CORDIAL THAN IT’S USUALLY MADE OUT TO BE.

It’s often reported that the two horror icons were embittered rivals. In reality, however, Karloff and Lugosi seemed to have harbored some mutual respect—and perhaps even affection for one another. The dynamic duo co-starred in five films together, the first of which was 1934’s The Black Cat; Karloff claimed that, on set, Lugosi was “Suspicious of tricks, fearful of what he regarded as scene stealing. Later on, when he realized I didn’t go in for such nonsense, we became friends.” During one of their later collaborations, Lugosi told the press “we laughed over my sad mistake and his good fortune as Frankenstein is concerned.”

That being said, Lugosi probably didn’t appreciate the fact that in every single film which featured both actors, Karloff got top billing. Also, he once privately remarked, “If it hadn’t been for Boris Karloff, I could have had a corner on the horror market.”

8. HE LOVED SOCCER.

In 1935, Lugosi was named Honorary President of the Los Angeles Soccer League. An avid fan, he was regularly seen at Loyola Stadium, where he’d occasionally kick off the first ball during games held there. Also, on top of donating funds to certain Hungarian teams, Lugosi helped finance the Los Angeles Magyar soccer club. When the team won a state championship in 1935, one newspaper wrote that the players were “headed back to Dracula’s castle with the state cup.” [PDF]

9. HE WAS A HARDCORE STAMP COLLECTOR.

Lugosi's fourth wife, Lillian Arch, claimed that Lugosi maintained a collection of more than 150,000 stamps. Once, on a 1944 trip to Boston, he told the press that he intended to visit all 18 of the city's resident philately dealers. “Stamp collecting,” Lugosi declared, “is a hobby which may cost you as much as 10 percent of your investment. You can always sell your stamps with not more than a 10 percent loss. Sometimes, you can even make money.” Fittingly enough, the image of Lugosi’s iconic Dracula appeared on a commemorative stamp issued by the post office in 1997.

10. LUGOSI ALMOST DIDN’T APPEAR IN ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN—BECAUSE THE STUDIO THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD.

The role of Count Dracula in this 1948 blockbuster was nearly given to Ian Keith—who was considered for the same role in the 1931 Dracula movie. Being a good sport, Lugosi helped promote the horror-comedy by making a special guest appearance on The Abbott and Costello Show. While playing himself in one memorable sketch, the famed actor claimed to eat rattlesnake burgers for dinner and “shrouded wheat” for breakfast.

11. A CHIROPRACTOR FILLED IN FOR HIM IN PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.

Toward the end of his life, Lugosi worked on three ultra-low-budget science fiction pictures with Ed Wood, a man who’s been posthumously embraced as the worst director of all time. In the 1953 transvestite picture Glen or Glenda?, Lugosi plays a cryptic narrator who offers such random and unsolicited bits of advice as “Beware of the big, green dragon who sits on your doorstep.” Then came 1955’s Bride of the Monster, in which Lugosi played a mad scientist who ends up doing battle with a (suspiciously limp) giant octopus.

Before long, Wood had cooked up around half a dozen concepts for new films, all starring Lugosi. At some point in the spring of 1956, the director shot some quick footage of the actor wandering around a suburban neighborhood, clad in a baggy cloak. This proved to be the last time that the star would ever appear on film. Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956;  he was 73 years old.

Three years after Lugosi's passing, this footage was spliced into a cult classic that Wood came to regard as his “pride and joy.” Plan 9 From Outer Space tells the twisted tale of extraterrestrial environmentalists who turn newly-deceased human beings into murderous zombies. Since Lugosi could obviously no longer play his character, Wood hired a stand-in for some additional scenes. Unfortunately, the man who was given this job—California chiropractor Tom Mason—was several inches taller than Lugosi. In an attempt to hide the height difference, Wood instructed Mason to constantly hunch over. Also, Mason always kept his face hidden behind a cloak.

12. HE WAS BURIED IN HIS DRACULA CAPE.

Although Lugosi resented the years of typecasting that followed his breakout performance in Dracula, he asked to be laid to rest wearing the Count’s signature garment. Lugosi was buried under a simple tombstone at California's Holy Cross Cemetery.

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The First Known Uses of 6 Common Typographic Symbols
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Many of the most common symbols on our keyboards have fascinating origin stories. Some, such as the zero, we now take for granted—yet the idea of denoting an absence of value was not present in Western mathematics until introduced from the East. Other symbols, such as the hashtag or at-sign, had a variety of uses until the internet ushered in a new way of communicating and fixed them with the meanings we know today. Below are six examples of the first known usage and subsequent history of some of the most common typographic symbols.

1. AT SIGN // @

The @ (or at-sign) is usually dated to 1536 in a letter from a Florentine merchant, Francesco Lapi, who used it to mean a unit of wine called “amphorae.” But a Spanish researcher claims to have found an even earlier usage in a 1448 document, where the symbol also referred to a unit of measurement (even today, Spaniards call the @ symbol arroba, which is also a unit of weight, and some other Romance languages have similar dual meanings). Either way, the researchers think that the symbol then moved to Northern Europe, where it eventually gained the meaning of “at the price.” Other explanations have also been offered, but whatever the exact root of the symbol, its meaning eventually became known as shorthand for at, and it was generally used in written financial transactions—for example, in noting “Bob sells James 4 apples @ $1.”

The sign had largely fallen out of use by the early 1970s, when computer scientist Ray Tomlinson was working at what is now BBN Technologies, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tomlinson, who was working for the government on a forerunner of the internet, was trying to figure out how to address messages sent from one computer to another when he noticed the little-used @ on his computer keyboard, and used it to send a prototype email. This precedent was soon adopted as the internet developed, and the at-sign is now, of course, central to our lives.

2. ZERO // 0

The absence of a value is a complex concept, one that many ancient civilizations struggled with. The idea of a zero ultimately came to the West from the mathematicians of India, where, as in a few other cultures, zero was initially used as a placeholder, for example to indicate a lack of units, as in the number 101.

The earliest surviving usage of a zero in India has been traced to an ancient mathematical text known as the Bakhshali manuscript, which is held at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. In September 2017, radiocarbon dating indicated that the manuscript was produced as early as the 3rd or 4th century—providing us with the first known usage of zero some 500 years earlier than previously thought. As Oxford’s Bodleian Library says, “the symbol in the Bakhshali manuscript is particularly significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is this dot that evolved to have a hollow centre and became the symbol that we use as zero today. Secondly, it was only in India that this zero developed into a number in its own right, hence creating the concept and the number zero that we understand today."

The manuscript itself was discovered buried in a field in 1881 in what is today Pakistan. Written on 70 delicate leaves of birch bark, historians think it represents a training manual for Silk Road traders, teaching them concepts of arithmetic.

3. HASHTAG // #

Hashtag on an old typewriter key
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The origin of the hashtag (or pound sign as it's traditionally known in the U.S.) comes from scribes writing shorthand for the Latin libra pondo, which translates as "pound by weight." The abbreviation they used was lb, which was sometimes misread as 16. So, scribes took to drawing a line through the top of the two letters, which over time developed into the now familiar #. In the 1960s, the pound sign was chosen by Bell Laboratories to be a function key on their newly designed telephone keypad. (The Bell Labs team fondly nicknamed the symbol the “octothorpe,” possibly in honor of athlete Jim Thorpe.) Fast-forward to 2007, when early Twitter users wanted to be able to group and filter their feeds, so developer Chris Messina suggested they appropriate the method used in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) whereby users employed the pound sign or "hashtag" to signpost what they were chatting about. (Programmers knew the symbol as the hash, which was now being used to "tag" content.) This simple method soon caught on, and today the hashtag has become indelibly linked to the rise of social media.

4. ELLIPSIS // …

Originally, periods of silence were marked textually with a series of hyphens, but today the symbol of choice is the , a.k.a. the ellipsis. Dr. Anne Toner of Cambridge University spent years researching the ellipsis and finally discovered what she thinks is its first use—an English translation of Roman dramatist Terence’s play Andria printed in 1588. Although the play used hyphens instead of dots, the general idea caught on rapidly. (Toner notes that although there are only four “ellipses” in the 1588 translation, there are 29 in the 1627 version.) By the 18th century, dots started to replace the dashes, which an assistant professor from Southeastern University suggests may be connected to a medieval piece of punctuation called subpuncting or underdotting, which generally indicated something was incorrectly copied.

5. AMPERSAND // &

Ampersand symbol on an old metal block
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The ampersand originated in Latin when the word et (meaning and) was written in cursive script as a ligature (in which one or more letters are written together as a single glyph). One of the earliest examples was found daubed in graffiti on the walls of a house in Pompeii, where it was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. By the 8th century the ampersand became a recognizably distinct character, but the word ampersand did not come into use until the late 18th/19th century, when English school children would recite "and per se and" meaning “and by itself means and” to help remember the symbol (per se being Latin for "by itself"). One of the most thorough investigations into the typographic history of the ampersand comes courtesy of German graphic designer Jan Tschichold, who in 1953 published The am­persand: its ori­gin and de­vel­op­ment, in which he collected numerous examples of the ampersand from the 1st century onwards, visually charting its developing form.

6. PLUS SIGN // +

A variety of ceramic plus signs
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The plus sign used for addition in mathematics likely derives from a shorthand ligature for the Latin et meaning “and” and was probably in use for a long time before a surviving example appeared in print. One candidate for the earliest surviving usage is in French philosopher and polymath Nicole Oresme's Algorismus proportionum, a manuscript handwritten between 1356 and 1361, although scholars debate whether it's a true plus symbol. The first use of a plus sign in a printed book is more definitive, and can be found in a 1489 edition of Johannes Widmann’s Mercantile Arithmetic. Widmann also uses the minus sign for the first time in print in this volume—although both plus and minus signs relate not to addition and subtraction but to surpluses and deficits in business accounting. After this usage, the plus sign began to appear more frequently in German mathematical texts, and first appeared in an English text in 1557 in Robert Recorde’s The Whetstone of Witte—which also introduced the equals sign.

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