New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Floyd Odlum

Floyd Odlum (Executive.  Born, Union City, MI, Mar. 30, 1892; died, Indio, CA, June 17, 1976.)  A law graduate of the University of Colorado, Floyd Bostwick Odlum came to New York in 1917 to join the firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, specializing in utilities work.  In 1923, Odlum and his first wife with a partner formed an investment pool that became Atlas Utilities Corp., an exceptionally successful holding company.  He shrewdly sold his stock just before the 1929 stock market crash and used the resultant cash to prosper even further during the Great Depression.  On Sept. 24, 1935, Odlum and several associates took control of the financially-ailing Garden, installing Col. John Reed Kilpatrick as president.  In 1937, he took over R.K.O. Radio Pictures and shifted his attentions towards California, where he and his second wife, aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran, subsequently moved.  Odlum later moved into the aviation industry and promoted the development of a new missile (called the Atlas), which was eventually used to power N.A.S.A.’s lunar landers.  During World War II, he served with the War Production Board and the Office of Price Administration.  Odlum subsequently sold his Garden interests, left Atlas in 1960, and, afflicted with severe arthritis, went into semi-retirement on a 732-acre estate in Indio, Calif.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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