Wednesday, 26. November 2014 - 07:11
12. 10. 12. - 16:00
One of Austria's most colourful characters the building magnet and reality TV star Richard Lugner is to celebrate his 80th birthday.
Lugner has left his mark on Austrian Society whether it was through his regular celebrity VIP guests who he invites to his box at the Opera Ball or the fact that his firm was the first to build a mosque in Vienna.
In 1990 he opened his own shopping mall, Lugner City, in a working class district of Vienna and, from the start, aggressively advertised his business by regularly inviting celebrities—starting with Thomas Gottschalk—who would perform there and sign autographs.
In 1992 Mörtel and his ex-wsife Mausi Lugner brought Harry Belafonte to Lugner City, and also took him along to the Vienna Opera Ball. From that time on, Lugner each year paid a celebrity to visit the shopping centre and then accompany them as their guest to that prestigious function at the Vienna State Opera.
Other guests have included Joan Collins, Ivana Trump, Sophia Loren, Grace Jones, Sarah, then Duchess of York, Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock and Geri Halliwell.
Through his shopping mall, Lugner is one of a small group of businesspeople who helped change Austrians' shopping habits by pushing to the limits the various regulations concerning opening hours.
In a city where shops generally closed at 6 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and at noon on Saturdays to remain closed for more than one and a half days until Monday morning, Lugner strongly advocated late night shopping on at least one weekday and an extension of shopping hours to Saturday afternoon, even when that meant raising the trades unions' opposition.
In the late 1990s Richard Lugner handed over his business to his two grown-up sons by an earlier marriage, Alexander and Andreas Lugner, and went into politics.
In the 1998 presidential elections he finished fourth in a field of five candidates, receiving an astonishing 9.91 per cent of the popular vote; incumbent Federal President Thomas Klestil, who had been running for a second term of office, received 63.4 per cent.
His reality show Die Lugners ("The Lugners") was produced by a private television broadcaster and showed Richard and Christina Lugner, their daughter, Jacqueline (born 1993), and Richard Lugner's mother-in-law, Martha Haidinger, at home, at work, and on holiday - it later featured his search for a new partner and later still his relationship with new love "Katzi".
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