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Jack Kent Cooke Life Chronology

Associated Press
Sunday, April 6, 1997; 6:08 p.m. EDT

Chronology of the life of Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, who died Sunday:

Oct. 25, 1912 — Cooke is born in Hamilton, Ontario.

1934 — Cooke starts selling encyclopedias across Canada to earn money during the Depression.

1937 — Cooke is hired by press giant Roy Thomson to manage CJCS, a radio station in Stratford, Ontario, for $25 a week, his first job in the communications television industry from which he would make his fortune.

1951 — In his first sports business venture, Cooke purchases baseball's Toronto Maple Leafs of the AAA International league.

1960 — Cooke moves to California.

1965 — Cooke buys the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers from trucking magnate Bob Short for $5.2 million, a big price tag in its day. Cooke would later sign such greats as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.

1966 — Cooke acquires the NHL expansion franchise called the Kings.

1967 — Cooke builds the ultimate showplace for his Los Angeles teams, the "Fabulous'' Forum.

1971 — Cooke is promoter of the first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, billed as the "Fight of the Century,'' at Madison Square Garden.

1974 — Cooke becomes majority owner of the Redskins.

1978 — Cooke moves to the Washington area.

1979 — Cooke sells the Lakers and the Kings to Dr. Jerry Buss for $67.5 million, then the largest business transaction in sports history.

1979 — Cooke divorces first wife, the former Jeannie Carnegie. The settlement made the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest at that time ($49 million). The presiding judge was Joseph Wapner of "People's Court" fame.

1980 — Cooke takes over day-to-day operation of the Redskins from Edward Bennett Williams.

Oct. 31, 1980 — Cooke marries Las Vegas socialite Jeanne Maxwell Williams. They divorce 10 months later.

Jan. 13, 1981 — Cooke hires San Diego offensive coordinator Joe Gibbs to coach the Redskins.

Jan. 30, 1983 — The Redskins win Super Bowl XVII, beating Miami 27-17.

1985 — Cooke buys the Los Angeles Daily News from the Chicago Tribune Co.

July 24, 1987 — Cooke marries third wife, Suzanne Martin. She later claimed that the marriage was contingent upon her aborting a fetus conceived by Cooke. After the wedding, she decided to have the baby and the marriage was dissolved after 73 days.

Aug. 28, 1987 — Saying the Redskins are losing money, Cooke announces plans for new stadium.

Jan. 31, 1988 — Redskins win Super Bowl XXII, beating Denver 42-10.

May 5, 1990 — Cooke marries Marlena Remallo Chalmers, who served 3½ months in federal prison in the 1980s for conspiring to import cocaine into the country. The marriage is declared void 3½ years later because Chalmers' divorce from a previous husband was ruled invalid.

Jan. 26, 1992 — Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI, beating Buffalo 37-24.

Aug. 24, 1992 — Redskins move into Redskin Park, Cooke's new state-of-the-art training facility in Ashburn, Va.

March 5, 1993 — Gibbs resigns, citing personal reasons, ending one of the greatest coaching careers in NFL history.

July 1995 — Cooke re-marries Marlena Remallo Chalmers.

Sept. 11, 1995 — Cooke's eldest son, Ralph Kent Cooke, who ran Cooke's horse breeding farm in Lexington, Ky., dies at 58.

March 13, 1996 — After eight years of rejection from the District of Columbia and from suburban jurisdictions in Virginia and Maryland, Cooke secures a place to build his new stadium. He signs a contract for a 78,600-seat, $160 million complex on a farm in Landover, Md. He later coined a postmark for the venue — Raljon — after his two sons, John Kent Cooke and the late Ralph Kent Cooke.

Nov. 10, 1996 — Cooke falls ill as he sits in the owner's box at RFK Stadium during the Redskins-Arizona Cardinals game. He is hospitalized for five days, and starts spending the bulk of his time at his northwest Washington estate rather than his expansive ranch in Middleburg, Va.

Dec. 22, 1996 — Cooke misses Redskins final game at RFK Stadium because of osteoarthritis, the only home game he missed after moving to Washington.

April 6, 1997 — Cooke dies of cardiac arrest after collapsing at his northwest Washington home.

Sept. 14, 1997 — The first home game is scheduled for the Redskins' new stadium.

© Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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