Robert Iger, the world's most powerful media executive and among the most remunerated ($66 million in 2018), grew up in Oceanside and, as he makes clear in his new memoir ("The Ride of a Lifetime"), never entirely left Oceanside behind.
The chief executive of Disney, now 68, writes in his book that his father Arthur, who died in 2010 at the age of 84, left a particularly indelible impression: "A brilliant and complicated man who shaped me more than anyone."
As Iger writes here, his father was a Navy veteran (who served on a sub chaser during World War II), a jazz trumpeter, an expert on the Great American Songbook (about which he wrote two books), a professor at New York Institute of Technology and an advertising executive. A 2018 Vogue profile also said he "suffered from bipolar disorder, and his episodic rages made it impossible for him to sustain a consistent income. "
In his book, Iger concurs, saying that "by the time I was ten or eleven, he'd changed jobs so many times that I began to wonder why," and later learned he had undergone electroconvulsive therapy to treat manic depression. Iger recalled that he "never knew which Dad was coming home at night," and could tell by the way he opened and closed the front door, "and walked up the steps whether it was happy or sad Dad."
Iger adds that he never wanted "to experience the same sense of failure he felt about himself."
“I started working in eighth grade" — he attended Fulton Avenue School No. 8 — "shoveling snow and babysitting and working as a stock boy in a hardware store” (although doesn't say which one.)
At 15, he got a job as a summer janitor in the school district, and recalls “cleaning gum from the bottoms of a thousand desks can build character or at least tolerance for monotony, or something."
Meanwhile, here are a few other ties to Oceanside that Iger doesn't cover in the book:
— Iger's dad, mom Miriam, and younger sister Carolyn lived at 102 Virginia Ave., a block or so from one of the main drags in town, Long Beach Road. His sister still lives in Port Jefferson. His mother (described by Iger as "warm, loving, a stay-at-home mom until I went to high school") later worked at Boardman Jr. High and died in 2013 at the age of 85.
— Iger attended Oceanside High, where he graduated in 1969, and according to a 2005 Los Angeles Times profile, "played intramural softball, was on the Human Relations Club and was president of the Key Club, a sort of junior Kiwanis [and was] also sports editor of the school paper, worked as a varsity sports announcer and played Francis Nurse in 'The Crucible,' an Arthur Miller play. His senior year he was voted 'most enthusiastic,' …"
— Iger's parents wouldn't let Iger read comics as a kid, according the Vogue profile ("These were too frivolous.") Let that little irony sink in: The man runs the company that owns Marvel was not allowed to read comics. (Presumably he does now.) In his book, Iger offers a possible explanation: "My parents were worriers …"