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Malcolm Stevenson Forbes

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes
Inducted into the U. S. Ballooning Hall of Fame
July 29, 2007
by the Balloon Federation of America at the
National Balloon Museum, Indianola, Iowa


Malcolm Stevenson Forbes rose to prominence in the last half of the 20th century as Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Forbes, the nation’s leading business magazine. He was also a collector of art, a licensed hot-air balloonist and a motorcycle enthusiast.

Malcolm Forbes was born on August 19, 1919 in New York City. He died in 1990 at the age of 70 in Far Hills, New Jersey. At the time of his death, Mr. Forbes was Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine and Chairman and CEO of Forbes Inc.

The third of five sons of Bertie Charles (B.C.) and Adelaide Stevenson Forbes, Malcolm Forbes lived all of his life in New Jersey, growing up in Englewood and moving to Far Hills following his marriage in 1946.

He attended the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, receiving his B.A. in 1941. In 1941, Forbes joined the Army, serving as staff sergeant of the Heavy Machine Gun Section in the 334th Infantry, 84th Division. He saw action in France, Belgium and Germany. He was wounded just prior to the Battle of the Bulge, when he prevented the possible encirclement of his battalion. For demonstrating initiative, resourcefulness and alert action, he was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

Honorably discharged in 1946, Forbes joined his father at Forbes magazine. A few years later, he began his political career. In 1951, he was voted into the New Jersey State Senate by a record plurality. In 1957, he ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New Jersey. He served in the state senate until he resigned in 1958.

Upon the death of his father in 1954, Mr. Forbes was named Editor and Publisher of Forbes magazine. In 1957, he became Editor-in-Chief, in addition to his duties as Publisher.

At 48, Forbes took up hot air ballooning. He was an internationally known balloonist, setting six official world records in hot air ballooning in October 1973, while becoming the first person in history to successfully fly across America in a hot air balloon. For this achievement, in 1975 President Gerald Ford awarded him the Harmon Trophy as Aeronaut-of-the-Year. That same year he also founded the world’s first balloon museum, at Forbes’ Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, France. In 1985, Mr. Forbes was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey, and in 1986 he was awarded the Diplome Montgolfier by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Ballooning. In 1989, the French association Les Aeronautes awarded Mr. Forbes the Medaille Charles Dollfus for his outstanding achievements in ballooning.

Mr. Forbes was named to the Board of Directors of the Balloon Federation of America in 1974. In addition, in 1975 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Aeronautic Association and in 1976 was elected Executive Vice President of that organization.

Malcolm Forbes was also an author; his books include Around the World on Hot Air and Two Wheels (1985) and More Than I Dreamed (1989), both published by Simon & Schuster.

"All other sports cannot compare! Ballooning has everything the constant challenges; the unusual excitement it creates, even to the ground observer; the aesthetics and, of course, it is also a team sport. What more can anyone ask for?"

- Malcolm S. Forbes 

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