Chris Gardner Bio
By now, most people are familiar with “The Pursuit of Happyness,” the Hollywood blockbuster starring Will
Smith that brings the bio of millionaire entrepreneur Chris Gardner to the big screen. But, before there
was all the glitz and glamour of a movie, the bio of Chris Gardner was a gritty story of struggle and
determination in the fight for survival.
Born on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this story begins as far away from the bright lights of
Hollywood as possible. He never knew his father and when his poor albeit loving mother couldn’t afford to
look after him and his siblings, he spent his childhood being shuffled between foster homes and other
Despite achieving academic success in high school, this story would continue to endure difficult detours
as the young graduate struggled to find his way. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the hopes of traveling the
world, but wound up never leaving the country. After being discharged, he was hired by a friend as a
clinical research assistant in San Francisco, where he was making $7,400 a year. He later became a
medical supply salesman, which bumped his annual salary up to $16,000.
However, Chris Gardner wanted more and it is precisely that ambition that turned his bio into a major
motion picture. In fact, it was after meeting a man who drove a Ferrari and was making $80,000 per
month that Chris Gardner’s bio would immediately take on a new direction. This man was a stockbroker;
Chris Gardner decided that if he was going to have that kind of life as well, if he was going to one day
drive a Ferrari, then he too needed to be a stock broker.
With a sense of determination that was characteristic of his entire life, the entrepreneur set out knocking
on the doors of investment firms hoping to find one that would give him a chance. Instead of finding a job,
he found himself in jail; a police officer had run his license plates and discovered the $1,200 of fines in
unpaid parking tickets that he owed the city.
After ten days in jail, he went directly to a job interview with Dean Witter – dirty jeans and all. It was a bold
move that would drastically alter the fate of his bio, turning it from a story of despair and disappointment
into one of the greatest success stories in recent American history. The interviewer sympathized and
hired him; finally, someone had given him a chance.
At last, he had a job and more importantly, he had hope. However, challenges would continue to arise in
the bio of Chris Gardner. His ex-girlfriend had left him to raise their 18-month-old son alone, and now with
a child in tow, Chris Gardner was kicked out of his home. While studying for his broker’s exam, the father
and son lived in shelters and $10-a-night motels. It was only after he received his license that he began to
gain the attention of senior executives at Bear Stearns, who promptly hired the eager young stock broker.
This story was now almost a complete success story. In 1987, he founded Gardner Rich, his own
Chicago-based brokerage firm, which has continued to land major clients over the years. Today, Gardner
is a millionaire and he is looking nowhere but forward.