Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- FROM EW: Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks Reunite in Trailer for Her Directorial Debut Ithaca
- Read the Cover Story: George Turns 3: The Preschool Prince!
- Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston Enjoy Romantic Dinner Date in L.A. – Get the Details!
- President Obama Passes The Torch: 'Never A Man Or Woman – Not Me, Not Bill, Nobody – More Qualified Than Hillary Clinton'
- Tim Kaine Dedicates First Speech as VP Nominee to His Son Deployed With Marines: 'I Trust Hillary Clinton With Our Son's Life'
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- June 21, 1976
- Vol. 5
- No. 24
Bill Dearden Takes Over Hershey and Becomes a Sugar Daddy to Some Young Orphans
For William E.C. Dearden, now 53, it paid off. The former "home boy," as all alumni of the Milton Hershey School for orphans in Hershey, Pa. are called, was named vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the Hershey Foods Corporation last March. (Hershey himself died in 1945). Now Dearden has a unique opportunity to repay his debt. Hershey Foods, with sales of $556 million, is the world's largest manufacturer of chocolate and cocoa products, and roughly 65 percent of its stock is held in trust for the Hershey School. "All of us know we're working for more than just profit," says the cheerful, 6'5", 215-pound Dearden, who earns an annual salary of $125,000. "We can see where our profits are going—to support 1,300 orphans. With my background, that's an important satisfaction to me."
Dearden owned little more than the shirt and knickers he was wearing the day in 1935 he arrived at the school. He was 13. His mother had died and his father was unemployed with two younger children to support in Philadelphia. Dearden recalls that first day: "It was like Christmas all over again." He was given new shoes and his first pair of long pants, and he sat down to a meal that seemed like a feast—creamed rice and apple pie. ("It was like getting two desserts.")
Then, as now, the school took care of the boys' room, board, tuition, clothing, medical and dental expenses—and even provided a weekly allowance that has gone from 25¢ in Dearden's day to $1. "All of the boys come here from rough backgrounds," says Alfred Gibble, who was "Big Bill" Dearden's basketball and football coach. "They've been shunted from pillar to post. The Hershey School is very demanding, and if you survive it you're a pretty good man."
After Hershey, Dearden went on to Albright College in Reading, Pa., where he met and married fellow student Mary Kline in 1944, the year of his graduation. After tours with the Navy and Dun & Bradstreet, Dearden took Al Gibble's advice and returned to the school as assistant business manager. It was a small step from there to the corporation itself, where he began as assistant to the chairman.
Today Dearden presides over a chocolate-covered empire that would bedazzle Willie Wonka. In addition to the famous Hershey bars (which have gone from a nickel to 15¢ in the past seven years) and Candy Kisses, the company sells Krackles, Mr. Goodbars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, among other goodies.
A constant nibbler on Hershey products, Dearden confesses his favorite treats are chocolate cake and chocolate pie. He keeps his weight under control by jogging every morning, golfing on weekends and fishing off the Deardens' new seaside house in Ocean City, New Jersey.
But Hershey comes first, and Dearden is forever spreading the word. "You can tell I'm a salesman," he says. "I never run out of gas." Gibble has another explanation for the boss's enthusiasm: "Bill is a home boy. And he always will be."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!