This is the extended version of the Richard Branson biography. For a shorter, mini biography, see the homepage.
Sir Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950 in Shamley Green, Surrey, England, to parents Edward James Branson and Eve Branson. His parents paid his way through public school, where he suffered from dyslexia. Richard Branson’s first experiences in business were unsuccessful: growing Christmas trees, and breeding budgerigars who his mother eventually killed while he was away at boarding school. From his room at boarding school, Richard Branson started plans for Student magazine, which would soon become a huge success.
When he was in his early twenties, Richard Branson started the Virgin company, titled that because he and his friends were virgins at business. Branson had already lost his actual virginity at a party. Richard Branson’s interest in the music industry started with a record shop in London, which he eventually expanded. He launched his own record label, Virgin Records. Things were looking up for Branson, until he was arrested and charged for tax avoidance, having sold records which he’d declared were export stock.
After paying the fines and charges, Richard Branson began looking for talent for his record label. Tired of the old way things were done, Richard Branson had a vision of a relaxed house in which bands could come for days at a time and use the studio at whatever time they felt was right. His logic was that most bands work at night, and by working in the morning or afternoon as they would at most record labels, the bands were not able to create music of the quality they would otherwise. He bought a country home in which he brought his vision to life, and Virgin Records released “Tubular Bells” from Mike Oldfield which was a huge success. He got a lot of publicity when he signed the Sex Pistols, a band too controversial for other record labels. Soon, Virgin Records began to branch out. In 1992, Richard Branson sold his record label in order to keep Virgin Airlines going.
Richard Branson has since had a number of business ventures and been wildly successful. He has managed several world records, and guest starred in many movies and television programs such as Baywatch The Day Today, Only Fools and Horses, Birds of a Feather, Goodness Gracious Me, Friends, and Tripping Over. In 2004 he made an attempt at his own reality show titled The Rebel Billionaire... unfortunately, it was a failure and only lasted one series.
Richard Branson first released his autobiography in 1998, and titled it “Losing My Virginity.” One year later, he was knighted for services to entrepreneurship.
Today, Richard Branson has over 360 companies and a net worth of 4.4 billion pounds. He is married to Joan Templeman and has two kids, Holly Branson and Sam Branson.