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Forrest Mars Sr.
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Forrest Edward Mars

March 21, 1904 (1904-03-21)
Died July 1, 1999 (1999-08) (aged 95)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Education Yale University
Occupation Director of Mars, Inc.
Founder of Ethel M Chocolates
Net worth US$4.0 billion (1999)
Spouse(s) Audrey Ruth (Meyer) Mars
Children Forrest Edward Mars Jr.
John F. Mars
Jacqueline Mars
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).

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.

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. For a few years he worked at the new plant in Chicago and supervised the development of the Snickers and 3 Musketeers bars. Frances Herdlinger, a newly hired chemist at the Chicago lab of Mars Inc remembered "[Forrest Mars] would turn up often with something new for us to try." 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.

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.

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 possibly modeled after Smarties. 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. He was married to Audrey Ruth Meyer (b. May 25, 1910, in Chicago, d. June 15, 1989, in Washington, D.C.), and they had three children – Forrest Jr., John, and Jacqueline.

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

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

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.

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

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