Forrest Mars Sr.

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Forrest Mars Sr.
Forrest Edward Mars

March 21, 1904 (1904-03-21)
DiedJuly 1, 1999 (1999-08) (aged 95)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationYale University
OccupationDirector of Mars, Inc.
Founder of Ethel M Chocolates
Net worthUS$4.0 billion (1999)[1][2]
Spouse(s)Audrey Ruth (Meyer) Mars
ChildrenForrest Edward Mars Jr.
John F. Mars
Jacqueline Mars
Janet Henderson
Parent(s)Frank C. Mars
Ethel G. Mars

Forrest Edward Mars Sr. (March 21, 1904 – July 1, 1999) was an American businessman and the driving force of the Mars candy empire. He is best known for introducing Milky Way (1923) and Mars (1932) chocolate candy bars, and M&M's (1941) chocolate candy, as well as orchestrating the launch of Uncle Ben's Rice. He was the son of candy company Mars, Inc. founder Frank C. Mars and his first wife Ethel G. Mars (née Kissack).[3]

Early life and career

Mars was born in Wadena, Minnesota, and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada after his parents' divorce when he was just a child. He rarely saw his father. After high school he entered the University of California, Berkeley and later transferred to Yale University, where he completed a degree in industrial engineering in 1928.[4]

As an adult, Forrest Mars reunited with his father at Mars, Inc. However, the pair ran into a disagreement when Forrest wanted to expand abroad while his father did not. Mars then took a buyout from his father and moved to England where he created the Mars bar and Maltesers while estranged from his father in 1933. In Europe, Mars briefly worked for Nestlé and the Tobler company.[4]

In 1934, he bought a British company, Chappel Bros, specialized in canned meat for dogs. Due to the lack of competition, Forrest took control of this market as he launched and marketed Chappie's canned food.[5]

After he returned to the United States, Mars started his own food business, Food Products Manufacturing, where he established the Uncle Ben's Rice line and a pet food business, Pedigree. In partnership later with Bruce Murrie, Mars developed M&M's, the chocolate candy covered in a crunchy shell which "melts in your mouth, not in your hands," in 1940. They were modeled after a candy that he had discovered while in Spain during the 1930s. It is believed that he got the idea when he saw soldiers eating a similar candy during the Spanish Civil War.[4] Peanut M&M's were introduced in 1954 although Forrest had been allergic to peanuts his entire life. Murrie later left the business.

Following the death of his father, Forrest Mars took over the family business, Mars, Inc, merging it with his own company in 1964.[4] He was married to Audrey Ruth Meyer (b. May 25, 1910, in Chicago, d. June 15, 1989, in Washington, D.C.), and they had four children – Forrest Jr., John, Janet, and Jacqueline.[citation needed]

Mars retired from Mars, Inc. in 1973, turning the company over to his children.[6]

In 1980, retired and living in Henderson, Nevada, he founded Ethel M Chocolates, named after his mother.[7] Ethel M was purchased by Mars, Inc. in 1988.[8]

Mars died at age 95 in Miami, Florida, having amassed a fortune of $4 billion. He was ranked as 30th in Forbes magazine's list of richest Americans (Forrest Jr. and John were 29th and 31st, respectively). He left the business jointly to his three children.[citation needed]

Mars was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1984.

See also

Profile in Fortune Magazine, published in 1967, republished March 31, 2013.


  1. ^ "The World's Richest People (1999): #101 - #125". Forbes. 1999. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  2. ^ "Forbes 400 Richest Americans (1998): #26 - #50". Forbes. 1998. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  3. ^ "Mars Family". Practically Edible. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d
  5. ^ Rothacher, Albrecht (2004-10-25). Corporate Cultures and Global Brands. World Scientific. ISBN 9789814482585.
  6. ^ Brenner, Joel Glenn (July 26, 1992). "Life on Mars: The Mars family saga has all the classic elements". The Independent. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  7. ^ "About Us". Ethel M Chocolates. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Allen, Lawrence (2010). Chocolate Fortunes.
  • Brenner, Joel Glenn (1999). The Emperors of Chocolate. Random House. ISBN 0-679-42190-4.
  • Cadbury, Deborah (2010). Chocolate Wars. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-732555-9.