What You Need to Know
- Ivana Trump married Donald Trump in 1977.
- When she and her husband divorced in 1990, publications ran stories about the split for three months.
- When she died, she was just five years older than Lloyd Lofton.
Do you remember where you were when Donald Trump and Ivana Trump announced they were divorcing?
It was 1990, I lived in Anaheim, California, and the headlines went on for 11 days in a row about their divorce. Liz Smith got three months’ worth of news coverage out of their divorce.
Who knew at the time that Donald Trump would eventually be president of the United States? He has dominated the political scene since 2015 and, as a result, Ivana has been in and out of the news since then.
Last week, it was announced that she was found at the bottom of a set of stairs in her Manhattan apartment, where the New York Fire Department responded to a report of cardiac arrest. The medical examiner’s office will determine the cause of death.
For me and, I believe, many clients and prospects, the news of the death of someone like Ivana Trump leads to other thoughts.
A Generational Shift
Ivana Trump was a model who was raised in the former Czechoslovakia and married Donald Trump in 1977, holding key positions in his business, including the Trump Organization.
Ivana Trump was an icon at the time, Vanity Fair called her the “Power Blonde.” It described her as a “working mother, four days a week,” and said she “boarded a big black helicopter, [and] carried a Vuitton briefcase.”
One of Vanity Fair’s articles about her said: “She thinks and talks numbers like a platinum-blond computer. The numbers are money, and the money is big. This is not some fluff job her husband whipped up to give his restless wife something to do.”
In September 1990, Vanity Fair said, “Unfortunately for Donald and Ivana Trump, all that glittered wasn’t gold. But the reign of New York’s self-created imperial couple isn’t over yet.”
The death of Ivana Trump, along with the deaths of Bob Saget, Meat Loaf, James Caan, Naomi Judd, Ray Liotta, Sidney Poitier, Peter Bogdanovich, Ronnie Spector, Louie Anderson and others this year, is a sign that the older generation is dying off.
These people don’t mean anything to millennials — those born between 1981 and 1994 — and maybe that’s the way it should be.
The Digital Natives
The millennials are members of the first generation that doesn’t know what it’s like not to have the internet, or even cellphones. (I got my first cellphone installed in my car in 1984. It was a UHF phone. You got an operator and gave the operator the number. The operator dialed it and connected you. Operators listened to the calls. If you cussed, they warned you they would disconnect you.)
This generation was raised with a laptop, iPad, iPhone, tablet and Apple Watch. (We boomers fantasized about the Dick Tracy watch. Look it up.)
My new car steers itself. Ring Doorbell notifies me when someone is at my front door (even when I’m at my grandkids’ house in Iowa). FedEx can open my garage door to leave packages, and I can log onto my desktop from anywhere around the world.
Millennials are considered “digital natives.”
They are comfortable learning and using the latest devices and software releases in the workplace. The pandemic has resulted in this generation actually demanding they be able to work from home. (We members of earlier generations used to demand two-ply toilet paper in the employee restroom, and we didn’t always get it.)
Five Years Away
So what does all this have to do with Ivana Trump’s death?
I’m 68, barely five years away from her age.
I sat in a barber chair in the 1980s, watching Donald Trump being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey where he said he might, one day, consider running for president, after Oprah asked him, and he said he thought he’d win.
I vividly remember thinking that he should.
Her death scares me.