After buying the rights to use this photo of Ike Perlmutter, taken standing next to Donald Trump, the picture then went through Bleeding Cool’s best image resolution people, to sharpen and clarify and give you the best look at Ike Perlmutter we have had for over thirty years.
Isaac Perlmutter was an Israeli soldier, fighting in the Six-Day War of 1967. Broke, he emigrated to the USA, and began selling toys on the streets of New York. This led to buying and selling surplus stocks and specialising in children’s toys. He formed a company called Odd Lot Trading, which provided items to the discount market and achieved remarkable success, selling the company to Revco Discount Drug Stores in exchange for 12% of Revco stock. After he failed to takeover the company, he sold that share back for $120 million.
His dealings with Coleco led him to buy their debt when they struggled in the eighties, and became the senior secured investor, making his profit if or when the company went bankrupt. Instead it was sold to Hasbro, and Perlmutter left with a sizeable return on his investment.
Perlmutter gained a controlling interest in Remington from Victor Kiam and became Vice President, selling the company two years later. He was also co-owner with Avi Arad of Toy Biz, which was then purchased by Marvel Comics, putting Perlmutter onto the board – and Avi Arad into the movie studios. When Marvel filed for bankruptcy in the nineties, and Perlmutter and Arad were able to eject investors Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman, transforming Toy Biz into Marvel Toys and taking control of the whole company.
By 2001, Perlmutter was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marvel, and is now CEO of Marvel. He retained that role after he signed off the Marvel sale to Disney, adding over a billion to his existing billionaire wealth. This deal was also down to Perlmutter’s decision to raise funds to make a series of movies directly under Marvel’s control – and bringing in all the revenue as well, after mortgaging the rights to Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. A move which paid off spectaculaly for the company, and for Hollywood.
During his time at Marvel, he has been repeatedly accused of racism, homophobia and sexism, and general unpleasant behaviour towards staff, including a settled class action lawsuit by black female Disney executives against him. While some of those stories, I have heard first hand accounts of, such as towards Bob Harras, Eric Ellenbogen or Grace Randolph, and reported such over the decades, certain other less directly sourced stories I have been led to believe were concoctions by departments of Marvel looking to use Perlmutter as a sin eater, a reason for why an unpopular decision has been made that exonerates the one making it, a role Perlmutter had been happy to accept.
His oft-repeated stories about “penny pinching” – removing paper clips from waste bins, tearing up discarded paper in quarters to be used as note paper, demanding the catering budget be cut for press, were deliberately intended to act as examples for the rest of the company to look to their budgets.
But he has also told people I know that taking away sofas and couches from Marvel offices was in order to save people’s marriages from temptation. Which shows a singular lack of imagination.
He also waged was with Fox Studios over rights to Fantastic Four and X-Men, and ended up issuing a decree that Marvel would stop publishing Fantastic Four comics or issuing licensing deals. And licensing and promotion was dialled way back on X-Men too.
Last year, Kevin Feige wrested control over Marvel Films away from Ike Perlmutter, and sacked the Marvel Creative Committee which used people from the comics side of the business such as Alan Fine, Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis to give notes to the use of these characters in other media. But he has continued to exert his control on the comics, the games, the toys and the TV – and even managed to get the first two TV episodes of their next project The Inhumans, into the cinema instead, directly competing with Marvel Films. The new relationship has also seen slightly greater co=-operation with Fox again.
Ike Perlmutter is married to Laurie J. Perlmutter, and they run their philanthropic work together. The Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professorship and Chair in Cell Biology at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine is part of the New York University School of Medicine. NYU Langone has the Laura Perlmutter Center for Women’s Imaging and, after a $50 million gift, the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, for which Ike sits on the board. While Laura Perlmutter has served as a trustee on the NYU Medical Center’s Board of Trustees since 1993.
In 2015, Laura Perlmutter donated two million dollars to a Super PAC supporting the presidential candidacy of Marco Rubio. Ike donated a million dollars has also donated to Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign’s donation for wounded veterans. Laura Perlmutter also donated almost half a million dollars, the maximum allowable, to a PAC supporting Donald Trump during the election campaign. The Perlmutters live in the same Florida resort as Trump’s Mar-A-Lago club, from which he has been conducting much of his Presidential business. Laura sits on Trump’s Inauguration committe and Donald and Ike were photographed together by Jonathan Ernst, surreptitiously through a window, the first photo of Perlmutter to be taken and publically shared for over thirty years….