Retirement begins for many Americans at 65, but don't tell that to the co-founder of one of the nation's most prominent public relations firms. Harold Burson is 96 and still on the job several days a week. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following story.
Harold Burson no longer spins stories, but at 96 he's trying to keep his mind turning.
Three days a week, the public relations guru heads to a large corner office at the firm he founded more than 60 years ago.
"My wife passed away seven years ago," said Burson. "I don't know what else I would do. No one has asked me, told me not to come."
That's probably because they still lean on him for advice.
Burson is considered the godfather of modern public relations - building the firm Burson-Marsteller into a global PR Colossus.
His office is a shrine to himself and the big clients he has represented.
"I take the position that public relations has existed since the time people started communicating with one another," Burson said.
Born in Tennessee, Burson initially worked as a newspaper reporter; he still carries his Newspaper Guild card from 1941.
He entered public relations and moved to New York.
He served in World War II, and even covered the Nuremberg Trials for a military radio station, then returned to the city and PR.
"I have a lot of nostalgia for the New York I first came to - 1942 is when I first started living here," Burson said.
It was a time, he says, when opportunity was abundant. He lived near the Wardorf-Astoria, built his business and became rich. Achievements that he believes are now harder to realize.
"I think New York was a better place to be because there was not as much inequality back then," said Burson. "It's very discouraging to young people who have to live three in a studio apartment and still have to pay 700, 800, 900 dollars a month rent."
Still, Burson acknowledges New York is one of the few cities in the world where opportunity awaits the ambitious.
He should know; he's still taking advantage of it. And when asked if he'll ever retire.
"I may when get older," Burson said.
Maybe when he turns 100.