October 11, 2013 in Nation/World

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ biological father finally found


(Full-size photo)

The story of Jeff Bezos being raised by an adoptive father is hardly new. The Amazon.com Inc. CEO has said previously that he never knew his biological father, and the only time he thinks about him is when he fills out medical forms.

But in his forthcoming book, Bloomberg BusinessWeek senior writer Brad Stone unearths Ted Jorgensen, and finds a sympathetic figure who had no idea that one of the world’s most successful businessmen is his son. Instead, the onetime circus performer expresses regret that he walked away from the son he fathered when he was 18.

“I wasn’t a good father or a husband,” Jorgensen told Stone in “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” which has been excerpted in the current issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “It was really all my fault.”

While Bezos has been largely dismissive of his biological father in interviews over the years, Jorgensen has been entirely oblivious about his son. The 18-year-old Jorgensen, who was an expert unicycle rider who performed with a local circus, married Bezos’ mother, the 16-year-old Jackie Gise, after she was pregnant. But the young Jorgensen stayed out late and drank, dropped out of college and wasn’t interested in getting a job.

Some 17 months after young Jeffrey’s birth, Gise filed for divorce. Three years later, Gise told Jorgensen, according to Stone’s book, that she was remarrying and wanted him to stay out of their lives. Jorgensen complied.

“After a few years, he lost track of the family and then forgot their last name,” Stone wrote.

Stone found Jorgensen at his bike shop in Glendale, Ariz., late last year and told him that Bezos was his son. The 69-year-old had no idea who Bezos was. Stone had to pull up photos from the Web on his phone to explain.

“His eyes filled with sorrow and disbelief,” Stone said.

Nyad wraps up 48-hour swim

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad on Thursday finished her 48-hour swim in pool set up at a busy Manhattan intersection to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy, an event that raised more than $105,000 in donations.

“It honestly was tougher than I ever imagined it to be,” the 64-year-old Nyad said as she emerged from the pool at 8:48 a.m. “That was a long two days,” said Nyad, bundled up in a blanket and receiving fluids intravenously as she spoke to reporters.

Nyad started the swim Tuesday in the 40-yard pool set up in midtown Manhattan’s Herald Square, getting out only to use the restroom.

Nyad last month became the first person confirmed to have swum from Havana to Key West, Fla., without a shark cage.

The birthday bunch

Actor Ron Leibman is 76. Actor David Morse is 60. Actress Joan Cusack is 51. Actor Luke Perry is 47. Actor-comedian Artie Lange is 46. Actress Jane Krakowski is 45. Rapper U-God (Wu-Tang Clan) is 43. Rapper MC Lyte is 42.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email