William Bruce Jenner (October 28, 1949), Mount Kisco, New York, U.S.
Athlete, Motivational Speaker, Socialite, Television Personality and Businessman
Chrystie Crownover (1972-1981)
Burt Jenner (son)
William Bruce Jenner (born October 28, 1949) is a former U.S. track and field athlete, motivational speaker, socialite, television personality and businessman. He won the gold medal for decathlon in the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics.
Following his Olympic win and the related recognition, he married Kris Kardashian, and his professional career evolved into being a television celebrity. By 1981, he had starred in several made-for-TV movies and was Erik Estrada's replacement on the top rated TV series CHiPs. He has six children: Burt, Casey, Brandon, Brody, Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Since his 1991 marriage to Kris Jenner, he is the stepfather to Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob Kardashian. Since 2007, he has appeared with his blended family on Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Jenner was born in Mount Kisco, New York, the son of Esther R. (nee McGuire) and William Hugh Jenner. He attended Newtown High School in Newtown, Connecticut, after spending a year at Sleepy Hollow High School in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Jenner earned a football scholarship and attended Graceland College (now Graceland University) in Iowa, but a knee injury forced him to stop playing football and he switched to the decathlon. He was mentored by Graceland's track coach L.D. Weldon, who was the first to recognise Jenner's potential and encouraged him to pursue the decathlon. Jenner debuted in the decathlon at the Drake Relays in 1970, placing fifth.
Jenner placed third in the decathlon at the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials and finished in tenth place at the 1972 Munich games. His success prompted him to devote himself to an intense training regimen, while also selling insurance outside training hours. He acknowledged that he was supported and subsidised by his then wife, Chrystie Crownover, who worked as an airline stewardess. In the era before professionalism was allowed in athletics this kind of training was unheard of. During that period he spent eight hours a day at the San Jose City College track. Centered around Bert Bonanno, the coach at SJCC, San Jose at the time was a hotbed for training aspiring Olympic athletes, including Jenner, along with Millard Hampton, Andre Phillips, John Powell, Mac Wilkins, Al Feuerbach and others. In 1974 and 1976, Jenner was the American champion in the event.
At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, he won the gold medal in the Decathlon, setting the world record of 8,616 points, The world record was broken by just 4 points by Daley Thompson in 1980. In 1985, the IAAF Decathlon scoring table was changed, so Jenner's winning score has been re-evaluated against that table and reported as 8634 for comparative purposes. As of 2011, Jenner is #25 on the world all-time list and the #9 American.
As a result of winning the Olympic decathlon, Jenner was a national hero. He was the 1976 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976. He was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, the Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the United States National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1980. He was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
San Jose City College hosted the "Bruce Jenner Invitational" (frequently shorted to "Jenner") as a televised, annual stop on the United States Track and Field Circuit (a meet equivalent in stature to the Prefontaine Classic) for the better part of two decades. Records were set at the meet, with Jenner frequently hosting the telecasts.
In the 1970s, Olympic athletes were considered amateur and were absolutely not allowed to seek or accept payment for their positions as sports celebrities. In 1972, three major Olympic titles (basketball, 100 meters and decathlon), were won by Soviet athletes during the Cold War. Winning "back" the decathlon title made Jenner an American hero. After his Olympic success, Jenner set out to cash in on his celebrity status (requiring him to give up any future Olympic appearances). He left his vaulting poles in the stadium, having no intention of ever using them again. Quickly after the Games, Jenner appeared on the front of Wheaties brand breakfast cereal as a "Wheaties champion." Of several hundred athletes who have been featured, Jenner is one of seven Wheaties "spokesmen." He was invited to the White House to meet with President Gerald R. Ford, who autographed a political cartoon that featured the pair.
On November 22, 1977, Bruce went to San Francisco to refute charges filed by the district attorney that General Mills, the makers of Wheaties, had been engaged in false advertising. Jenner contended that he likes the cereal and consumes this breakfast cereal two to three times per week. Two days later District Attorney Joseph Freitas withdrew the false advertising suit against General Mills for its advertising campaign featuring Mr. Jenner, saying that it was "a case of overzealousness" on the part of his staff.
In 1977, the Kansas City Kings selected Jenner with the 139th pick of the NBA Draft. Jenner had not actually played basketball since high school; the closest he came to a roundball career was when he sank a basket in the "YMCA" sequence of the film Can't Stop The Music in 1980. The movie was a disco-era comedy about the singing group The Village People. It gave Jenner a starring role, but the movie was a flop. Jenner was nominated for the 1980 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance. That was the end of his theatrical movie career until he appeared in 2011's Jack and Jill in a scene with Al Pacino as an actor in a play. Adam Sandler won the Golden Raspberry for both Worst Actor and Worst Actress in that film. Both Can't Stop The Music and Jack and Jill won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture, making Jenner two for two in his movie career.
Jenner decided to try for a television career, and had some success, starring in the TV movies The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story (1980) and Gramblings White Tiger (1981). In 1981-82 he became a semi-regular on the police series CHiPs, guest-starring as Officer Steve McLeish (substituting for star Erik Estrada, who was lodged in a contract dispute with NBC and MGM), for a half-dozen episodes.
His "hero shot," the finish of the final event of 1976 Olympic decathlon, was parodied by John Belushi on Saturday Night Live endorsing "Little Chocolate Donuts" instead of Wheaties.
Jenner also appears in the video games Olympic Decathlon (1981) and Bruce Jenner's World Class Decathlon (1996).
Auto Racing Career
Jenner was a successful race driver in the IMSA Camel GT series (International Motor Sports Association) in the 1980s. His first victory came in the 1986 12 hours of Sebring in the IMSA GTO class driving the 7-Eleven Roush Racing Ford Mustang, with co-driver Scott Pruett, not only winning their class, but finishing 4th overall in the 12-hour endurance race. His most successful year was also 1986, finishing second in the championship to Pruett.
Further TV Appearances
Jenner has appeared as himself on a variety of game shows and reality TV programs. He starred with Grits Gresham in an episode of ABC's The American Sportsman. The program featured Gresham hunting, fishing or shooting in exotic sports with celebrities. In the early 1990s he was the host of an infomercial for a stair-climbing exercise machine called the Stair Climber Plus.
In January 2002, Jenner participated in an episode of the American series of The Weakest Link featuring Olympic athletes. In February and March 2003, he was part of the cast of the American series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and made a cameo on a season three episode of The Apprentice that originally aired in May 2005. He was partnered with Tai Babilonia for Skating with Celebrities that aired January-March 2006 (they were eliminated during the fifth of seven episodes). Jenner has additionally served as a guest judge on Pet Star on Animal Planet, and appeared on NBC's game show Identity as well as Celebrity Family Fued with his family.
Additional television and talk show appearances by Jenner include Nickelodeon's made-for-TV film Gym Teacher: The Movie as well as episodes of Murder She Wrote, Family Guy, Pey Star on Animal Planet, Identity, Lingo Olympic Winners episode and Celebrity Family Feud as well as such talk shows as Hannity and The Bonnie Hunt Show.
Since late 2007, Jenner has starred in the E! reality series Keeping up with the Kardashians, along with wife Kris Jenner, stepdaughters, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and stepson Rob (from Kris' marriage to attorney Robert Kardashian), and daughter Kylie and Kendall. Season two had an average of 1.6 million viewers, an increase over the previous cycle. Jenner has also made cameo appearances on the show's spinoff series.
His company, Bruce Jenner Aviation, sells aircraft supplies to executives and corporations. Jenner was the business development vice president for a staffing industry software application known as JennerNet, which was based on Lotus Domino technology.
Jenner was the marketing name for Bruce Jenner's Westwood Centers for Nautilus & Aerobics in the early 1980s. Jenner had no ownership in the centers. The fitness centers were owned by David Cirotto. The centers were sold to Super Fitness Centers, owned by martial arts expert Paul Snow.
Jenner was diagnosed with dyslexia as a young child, he appeared in the sitcom Silver Spoons where he revealed his condition to the Stratton family, and after retiring from sports, he has built a successful career as a motivational speaker and television sports commentator (making an appearance on the series Learn To Read).
Jenner has a younger sister named Lisa. His younger brother, Burt was killed in an auto accident in Canton, Connecticut shortly after Jenner's success in the Olympics, so Jenner named his first son after his deceased brother. In his first marriage to Chrystie Crownover (married from December 15, 1972 to January 2, 1981) he had two children, first son Burton William "Burt" Jenner (born September 6, 1978) and daughter Cassandra Lynn "Casey" Jenner (born June 10, 1980). His second marriage, from 1981 to 1985, was to Linda Thompson. Their two sons together Brandon Thompson (born June 4, 1981) and Sam Brody (born August 21, 1983) appeared in their own reality show The Princes of Malibu, which also featured them living with their stepfather David Foster. Brody was also on the reality show The Hills.
Jenner is married to Kris Jenner (previously Kardashian, nee Houghton). After dating for five months, they married on April 21, 1991. Kris was previously married to lawyer Robert Kardashian. Jenner has two daughters with Kris, Kendall Nicole (born November 3, 1995) and Kylie Kristen (born August 10, 1997). He is also the stepfather of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Rob Kardashian.
Jenner has four grandchildren from his daughter Cassandra Marino (married to Michael Marino), Francesca and Isabella and his step-daughter, Kourtney Kardashian, Mason Dash Disick and Penelope Scotland Disick.
|1980||Can't Stop the Music|
|2003||I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!||Himself|
|2006||Skating with Celebrities||Himself|
|2007-present||Keeping up with the Kardashians||Himself|
|2011||Khloe & Lamar||Himself|
|2011||Jack and Jill||Himself|