Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr., who built a vast international publishing empire that included prestigious and influential publications from The New Yorker to Vanity Fair and Vogue, died today, reports in those publications confirmed.
He was 89 and died at his Manhattan home. The cause of death was not given.
Newhouse, who was known as "Si," and his brother Donald took over Advance Publications, founded by their late father Sam Newhouse, in 1975, and built it into a network embracing 128 publications in 27 global markets.
Having inherited such titles as Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle and House & Garden, Newhouse added a slew of stylish, high-profile publications, including GQ, Wired, Architectural Digest, W, Gourmet and Bon Appetit.
The company controlled a chain of newspapers that reached across the United States, including the Cleveland (Ohio) Plain-Dealer and the St. Louis (Missouri) Globe-Democrat.
And in 1980 Newhouse expanded the family's presence in book publishing with the purchase of Random House. He was known as a shrewd and hard-working businessman but one passionate about the businesses he chose to own.
An appreciation of Newhouse in Vanity Fair by its editor Graydon Carter described him as "a gambler," but a patient one when it came to getting what he wanted. "He scooped up The New Yorker and hung in there for decades, despite its losses, until it found its new footing -- and in this century, its profitability," Carter wrote.
Newhouse lost nearly $100 million on Vanity Fair after its relaunch, before turning the corner.
Carter said he was once in a negotiation with a photographer's agent who wanted $250,000 more for the person's work than Carter wanted to pay. "Oh, give it," Newhouse said. "I don't want to nickel-and-dime them."
Newhouse attracted top talent to edit his magazines, from Tina Brown at Vanity Fair to Anna Wintour and Diana Vreeland at Vogue, to Harold Evans, Brown's husband, to launch Conde Nast Traveler and then run Random House.
David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, described Newhouse on the magazine's website as a supportive but reticent, hands-off owner. "He never suggested a story, he never revealed his political inclinations, he never gave advance instructions or retrospective criticism." His compliments came "shyly, reluctantly, as if he were overstepping."
Newhouse was one of the richest Americans, with an estimated fortune of nearly $10 billion at the time of his death, and was a renowned philanthropist and art collector, with paintings once said to be worth $100 million.
He is survived by his wife, Victoria, children Samuel and Pamela, his brother Donald and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, according to Vogue.