His no-nonsense glare and distinctive comb-over as instantly recognizable as his landmark, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper, Donald Trump, born on June 14th, 1946, established himself as one of Manhattan's most successful real-estate developers before moving on to become the catchphrase-spouting host of reality television's most competitive series -- The Apprentice.
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As a young, aspiring businessman the Queens, NYC native wheeled and dealed alongside his father, Fred, in the pair's Sheepshead Bay office for five years, later striking out on his own to construct not only the world-renowned Trump Tower, but such luxury residential building as Trump Palace, Trump Plaza, Trump Parc, Trump World Tower, and Trump Park Avenue as well. Of course, Trump was never one to shy away from a challenge, so in addition to the residential construction he also found success in the gaming arena by establishing The Trump Organization as one of the world's largest operators of hotels and casinos. After opening three world-class casinos and hotels in Atlantic City, NJ (including Trump Plaza, Trump Marina, and Trump Taj Mahal), Trump boldly began expanding westward with the construction of The Trump Casino in Buffington, IN, and Trump 29 Casino in Palm Springs, CA. Trump also catered to the wealthy elite with construction of various high-profile golf clubs and luxury private clubs throughout the United States.
Trump's outspoken nature repeatedly found the tireless business tycoon making headlines throughout the 1990s, and moving into the new millennium it began to appear that Trump's high-profile career in real estate was taking a back seat to his increasingly prolific public persona. Trump also became the subject of much gossip as a result of his turbulent marriages to former wives Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. He expounded on his personal philosophy of profit in such best-selling books including The Art of the Deal, Surviving at the Top, and The America We Deserve. However popular his writings were, it was his stint as the host of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that began to move Trump to the forefront of popular culture.
In 2004, any question of Trump's status as a media icon was instantly put to rest with the premiere of the hit reality television series The Apprentice. An instant hit with audiences, The Apprentice showcased the heated competition between a variety of contestants as they vied for the coveted position of personal assistant to The Donald himself. Each episode, one unfortunate contestant would be coldly dispatched by Trump with the decidedly curt and unmistakable catchphrase "You're Fired," which instantly became as essential a component of the public lexicon as The Fonzie's "Heeeeeeeeey!," Arnold's "Whatch talkin' 'bout Willis?" or Ralph Kramden's "One of these days, Alice" had in decades previous. Trump's position in popular culture only grew in the years following, as The Apprentice continued to fare well, despite a notorious feud with Martha Stewart following poor ratings on her season hosting the series in 2005.
Trump openly discussed the possibility of running for public office many times over the course of the 2000's, suggesting himself as a candidate for everything from Governor of New York to President of the United States, and considering affiliations ranging from the Reform Party to the GOP. Always looking for the most attention grabbing position, Trump registered with the Democratic Party in 2001, but later sided with the Republicans in 2009. In 2011, he announced he was beginning a primary campaign to run for president on the Republican ticket in 2012, and subsequently began seeking publicity through stunts like affiliating himself with the conspiracy-theorist "birther" movement, and dropping the f-bomb in public statements about gas prices.
~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi