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This onetime social gadfly, who hobnobbed with President Carter and Soviet chief Mikhail Gorbachev (whom he still cites as his hero), has a relatively quiet social life."I have several good friends but not one [in particular],” he says."I quit completely a year ago, but prior to that, all I’ve drunk is a glass or two of wine,” he says.“I haven’t been a heavy drinker in years — not even a moderate one.
I confide on certain things with my family, my close girlfriends, Phil [Phillip Evans, vp and chief communications officer of Turner Enterprises]. In fact, I don’t have very many enemies, [though] I’ve lost a lot of good friends who passed away." Turner doesn’t pay attention to TV anymore, other than CNN. As for CNN’s sister network, HLN, "the News and Views Network” featuring Nancy Grace: “I haven’t watched in years.Often, during our conversations, he tunnels down a track of his own — spending 15 minutes on his Voluntary Initiatives, for instance — as if his mind is full of his own thoughts and private obsessions. Charming and refined, she assures me in the few seconds we get to speak that Turner is affectionate and fully loving, whatever Fonda’s statements may have implied to the contrary. But though he has several girlfriends, it is a very small number, and he does not take them up lightly, and he gives them his absolute support when he does.He has replaced Fonda with a new arrangement, alternating among four girlfriends, each of whom gets approximately a week per month of his time. One, novelist Elizabeth Dewberry (), is with him here in New York, where he’s spending some time for U. But Dewberry’s history is almost as complicated as her lover’s: She was married to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler, who wrote a somewhat extraordinary e-mail to his colleagues when she left him for Turner. And Elizabeth’s leaving me is as much about the three weeks a month she is alone as it is about the week a month she is with Ted." Turner doesn’t name the other women in his life.The tycoon-turned-philanthropist has removed the wallet from his blazer to show me a printed card with his "11 Voluntary Initiatives," an oddly naive reinvention of the Ten Commandments that he concocted some 15 years ago, including such vows as "I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow beings." PHOTOS: Ted Turner's Life and Loves in Photos He leans forward, adamant about reading each one. "I worked on them for a long time." It’s a rare burst of energy from this man who once epitomized it.
At age 73, there’s almost no trace of the frenetic, hyper-kinetic mogul once known as the “Mouth of the South” and “Captain Outrageous." His antics (from keeping a pet alligator as a student to almost losing his life in a 1968 sailing race) and innovative empire-building (turning a tiny TV station into a nation-spanning “superstation" and launching the first global TV news network, CNN) have made him the stuff of legend, putting his present absence from the media scene in stark relief."He was exceptionally important in the media landscape.