Former college professor turned outspoken CEO and owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie, has achieved a lot in his 67 years: from teaching students in social policy at Boston University to establishing his own production firm; from winning two Oscars to transforming the Eagles into one of the wealthiest franchises in the NFL, one thing’s for sure – no one can accuse him of having a poor work ethic. Having spent the last 25 years building and shaping the Eagles vision, Lurie is undoubtedly one of the most successful owners in the league. Find out more with these 10 little known facts.
1. His grandfather founded the General Cinema Cooperation
Given his family history, the chances of Lurie failing in business were slim to none. In 1935, Lurie’s grandfather, Phillip Smith, founded his first drive-in theater under General Cinema Cooperation – 30 years later, it had grown into a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate with 23,700 employees scattered around the world, several publishing houses, a Pepsi bottling operation, multiple radio stations, three insurance companies, a global consulting firm and a new name- Harcourt General Inc. With that kind of success running in his veins, where else was Lurie to go but straight to the top?
2. He founded his own production company in 1985
After leaving University, Lurie started his career in the family business, General Cinema Corporation. While at the company, Lurie enjoyed several notable positions, including executive liaison between the corporation and Hollywood’s production community, and adviser in The General Cinema national film buying office. After learning his craft, Lurie branched out in 1985 to found the production company, Chestnut Hill Productions. The company proved a success, producing such movies and TV shows as Blind Side (1993), Malibu Shores (1996), Sergiu (2009) and Inside Job (2010).
3. He’s won 2 Oscars
In his role as producer at Chestnut Hill Productions, Lurie earned a significant amount of praise… and awards. One of his proudest moments came in February 2011 when his executive produced Inside Job (a documentary about the late 2000’s financial crisis) won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Two years later, Leary enjoyed another back-patting moment when he picked up a 2nd Oscar for Inocente, a coming- of- age story about a homeless 15-year-old girl in California who dreams of becoming an artist.
4. He took out a $185 million loan to buy the Eagles
Two Oscars and a production company might make a man proud, but it doesn’t necessarily make him rich enough to buy a Football team. According to Forbes, Lurie had to take out a $185 million loan from the Bank of Boston to buy the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had to go cap in hand to his mother, Nancy Lurie Marks, to ask for a little help. Together, they pledged their stock in the family trust as collateral, as well as putting up millions of dollars of stock from the family businesses of Harcourt General and GC Companies Inc as capital. Fortunately, the money wasn’t wasted- today, the franchise is worth a staggering $1.1 billion.
5. He transformed the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles
When he acquired the Philadelphia Eagles, the franchise wasn’t exactly at the top of its game. Lurie recognized a complete top -to- tail transformation was going to be needed to turn around the Eagles fortunes. With that in mind, he began an immediate restructuring program that involved the redesign and relocation of its office headquarters, practice facility and stadium. He also committed the funds to develop 2 new state- of- the- art facilities in south Philly: the NovaCare Complex (2001) and the Lincoln Financial Field (2003), a wide-ranging event destination that’s since served as a venue for numerous music concerts, soccer matches, Monster Jam, the NCAA Lacrosse Championships and more besides.
6. He’s raised awareness for Autism
Over the years, Lurie has become almost as well-known for his contributions to philanthropy as he has for his contributions to the Eagles. Most notable is his work in raising awareness (and funds) for autism– a cause particularly close to his heart on account of his brother having the condition. In 2017, Lurie founded the Eagles Autism Challenge, a triathlon that donates 100% of its participant-raised proceeds to Autism research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.
7. He loves good food
Lurie, who lives in Philadelphia with his 2nd wife Tina (he divorced his first wife, Christina Weiss Lune, in 2012) and two children, has plenty of interests to keep him occupied when he’s not at work. Favorite activities include travelling, golfing, tennis, taking in a movie, listening to some music or finding the best new restaurants in town.
8. His Net Worth is $2 Billion
If you thought the Philadelphia Eagles were worth a lot ($1.1 billion, lest you forget) wait until you hear how much their CEO Lurie is worth. As of 2019, sources estimate the businessman’s total net worth to be a mammoth $2 billion. Now that’s what I call inspirational.
9. He has a PhD from Brandeis University
After graduating high school, 67-year-old Lurie enrolled in Clark University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. He subsequently obtained his master’s degree in psychology from Boston University, and his PhD in social policy from Brandeis University. After completing his thesis on the depiction of women in the entertainment industry, Lurie entered academia on a paid basis as an adjunct assistant professor of social policy at Boston University.
10. His biggest regret is giving Chip Kelly personnel control
In May 2019, Lurie revealed his biggest regret from the last 25 years of owning the Eagles is stripping personnel chief Roseman of power and giving Chip Kelly full control. “I don’t regret the hiring of him because it was done with a really good thought process,” Lurie told the Atlantic. “But, yes, I would say I regret giving him the kind of authority I gave him, yeah. That’s an easy one’.