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John Peterman
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Entrepreneur
    (circa 1942- )
    Born in Lexington, Kentucky
    Founded the J. Peterman Company (1987)
    Inspired the character Jacopo Peterman in Seinfeld
    Father-in-law of actor Steve Zahn
    An interviewer wrote, 'The first thing that strikes you about John Peterman in the flesh is that he really talks like that. Like the writer of the [catalogue]. Like the character on 'Seinfeld.''
    His company stole its travel/safari theme from Banana Republic.
    Due to overly aggressive expansion, his company went bankrupt (1999) and he lost rights to the J. Peterman name. ('The rapidity of the crash was amazing. But we did a lot of things we shouldn't have done.')
    A lot of 'Seinfeld' fans probably never realized a real J. Peterman was out there.
    While at Holy Cross, he played third base for two baseball teams that went to the College World Series (1962-63).
    He said he did not mind being portrayed as 'a buffoon and a bore' on 'Seinfeld' because 'For the long term, this was good for the brand name and the company.'
    He was able to repurchase the J. Peterman name and restart the company (2001).
    John O'Hurley, who played J. Peterman on 'Seinfeld,' was one of the investors in the relaunched J. Peterman Company.

Credit: C. Fishel


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