31 Facts About Armand Hammer


Armand Hammer was an American business manager and owner, most closely associated with Occidental Petroleum, a company he ran from 1957 until his death.


Armand Hammer was born in New York City to Jewish parents who emigrated from what was then the Russian Empire: Rose and Julius Hammer.


Armand Hammer's father came to the United States from Odessa in 1875 and settled in the Bronx, where he ran a general medical practice and five drugstores.


Late in his life, Armand Hammer confirmed that this was indeed the origin of his given name.


In March 1921, Ludwig Martens sent a letter from Moscow through the Soviet mission in Tallinn to Julius Armand Hammer, who was imprisoned at Sing Sing until 1924, granting his Allied Drug and Chemical concessions for trade with Soviet Russia and requested an Allied Drug representative to be present in Soviet Russia.


Armand Hammer traveled back and forth from the Soviet Union for the next 10 years.


In 1921, while waiting for his internship to begin at Bellevue Hospital, Armand Hammer went to the Soviet Union for a trip that lasted until late 1930.


Armand Hammer has claimed that he originally intended to recoup $150,000 in debts for drugs shipped during the Allied intervention, but was moved by a capitalistic and philanthropic interest in selling wheat to the then-starving Russians.


The 26-year-old Hoover, who was the Justice Department's expert on subversives, was tipped off that Armand Hammer was a courier for the COMINTERN and ensured that foreign intelligence agencies were notified of Armand Hammer's travels.


Armand Hammer moved to the USSR in the 1920s to oversee these operations, especially his large business manufacturing and exporting pens and pencils.


Back in the United States, Armand Hammer was bequeathed a few Faberge eggs by the Soviets between 1930 and 1933.


Armand Hammer gained enormous wealth through his United Distillers of America, which was a 1933 established firm known as the A Hammer Cooperage Corporation until 1946, when it changed its name to United Distillers of America Ltd.


In 1974, Armand Hammer announced a 35-year oil exploration agreement with Libya, the first such agreement signed by Libya after Muammar Gaddafi came to power in September 1969.


Six weeks prior to Nixon's departure, Armand Hammer personally gave Maurice Stans, the finance chairman of Nixon's campaign fund, $46,000 in cash from a numbered bank account in Switzerland which Armand Hammer used as his slush fund money.


Later, in September 1972 Armand Hammer gave Nixon's campaign fund an additional $54,000 from the same Swiss bank account amounting to a total of $100,000 that Armand Hammer donated to Nixon's campaign fund.


Politically, Armand Hammer was a strong supporter of the Republican Party.


Armand Hammer anonymously gave $46,000 to support Nixon before a 1971 law took effect on April 7,1972, which banned political contributions both anonymous and through another person.


Later, in September 1972, Armand Hammer made an additional three illegal contributions totaling $54,000 to Richard Nixon's Watergate fund through friends of former Montana Governor Tim Babcock, who was Hammer's vice president of Occidental Petroleum, after which both Hammer and Babcock pleaded guilty to charges involving illegal contributions.


Gore, who had a longtime close friendship with Armand Hammer, became the head of the subsidiary Island Creek Coal Company, upon his election loss in the Senate in November 1970.


In 1981, Armand Hammer was appointed by US President Ronald Reagan to serve on the three-member President's Cancer Panel and he later served as chairman of the panel from 1984 to 1989.


Armand Hammer was a collector of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.


Armand Hammer purchased Knoedler, the oldest art gallery in America, in 1971.


Armand Hammer was a philanthropist, supporting causes related to education, medicine, and the arts.


Armand Hammer hungered for a Nobel Peace Prize, and he was repeatedly nominated for one, including by Menachem Begin, but never won.


Armand Hammer made a guest appearance on a 1988 episode of The Cosby Show, saying that a cure for cancer was imminent.


Armand Hammer was leading Occidental in 1988 when its oil rig, Piper Alpha, exploded, killing 167 men.


Armand Hammer had close relationships, including in business, with his brothers, Harry and Victor Hammer, throughout their lives.


Armand Hammer married three times, first in 1927, to a Russian actress, Olga Vadimovna von Root, the daughter of a czarist general.


Armand Hammer had only one child, his son Julian Armand Hammer, by his first wife.


Armand Hammer died of bone marrow cancer in December 1990, aged 92 in Los Angeles.


Armand Hammer was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, across the street from the Occidental Petroleum headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard.