Music Industry
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Country Music Industry
Hall of Fame Member

Benefactor
of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Knighted Chevalier
de la Legion d'Honneur
 
 

Before World War I, my father was in the jewelry business. His clientele consisted of opera stars and other people who could afford expensive jewels. When war broke out, he was not drafted. While looking for a business partner, he found a man who had a business manufacturing suitcases. He tried to get army contracts for this leather factory. The army needed leather goods, both saddles for horses and the belts in which the soldiers kept their food rations. My father was successful and thus became very wealthy. After the war was over he organized four factories: one in Bregenz on Lake Konstanz that made ordinary shoes; one in Vienna that made high-class ladies’ shoes; and two that only made suitcases. This went on for quite some time and my father did quite well; but with so much inflation in Austria, he lost all his money and went back to the jewelry business.

In the meantime, my brother and I went to the Kommers, one of the best schools in Vienna. But when I was seventeen and he, sixteen, we were ready to make some money; so we left school before the end of the school year. In our first venture we went to Tyrol to sell bed linens and cushions. We did exceedingly well and then returned to Vienna.