Marvin H. Davis, a billionaire who amassed his fortune through well-timed deals in the oil and entertainment industries, died in September 2004 at his home in Beverly Hills, California.
Mr. Davis, who was six feet four and weighed 300 pounds, had long suffered from heart trouble, back pain, diabetes and other effects of morbid obesity. Mr. Davis had been plagued by health problems since 1990, but that he and his wife Barbara remained fixtures in Beverly Hills social circles.
Davis sold most of his oil and natural-gas holdings when energy markets were peaking in 1981, and turned his interests to undervalued entertainment businesses and real estate in California.
Most famously, Mr. Davis bought 20th Century Fox in 1981 with Marc Rich, the financier later pardoned by President Bill Clinton and sold it four years later, to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. He also owned the Pebble Beach Company, the Aspen Skiing Company and the Beverly Hills Hotel.
In Hollywood, he took to the notability attached to running a major studio. He named former President Gerald R. Ford and former National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger to the board of Fox, helped guide his son, John, into the entertainment business
Mr. Davis was born on Aug. 31, 1925, in Newark, the son of Jack and Jean Spitzer Davis. Mr. Davis began his career working in his father's oil business in Colorado In 2004, Forbes magazine listed Mr. Davis as the 30th richest person in the United States, estimating his wealth at $5.8 billion.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Davis is survived by five children, Patricia Ann Davis Raynes, John Davis, Nancy Davis Rickel, Gregg Davis and Dana Davis, as well as by his sister, Joan Chorney.