Glazer was born in Rochester, New York, the fifth of seven children of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, Abraham and Hannah Glazer. He began working in his father’s watch-parts business at age 8. At 15, when his father died, he entered the business world. Glazer sold watches door to door to help support his family. Reuters quoted Mr. Glazer as once remarking that his father’s death “was probably the most tragic thing that ever happened in my life, but it was good in one way” because “it made me a man.” He briefly attended Sampson College in Romulus, New York before committing himself full-time to jewelry and watch repair. A small man with a reddish beard — he was referred to in the news media as “the leprechaun”
Glazer obtained the watch repair concession at the Sampson Air Force Base. In 1956, after the base closed, he expanded into real estate investing in single-family homes, duplexes, and commercial buildings in Rochester, eventually owning commercial real estate across America. In 1963, he bought the National Bank of Savannah in upstate New York. In 1973, he bought the first of five health care facilities he was to own, the West Hill Convalescent Center in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1976, he purchased three television stations for $20 million including WRBL in Columbus, Georgia. In 1984, he founded First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his various endeavors where he served as president and chief executive officer. First Allied invested in a diverse portfolio of international holdings and public companies including: Zapata Corporation, Houlihan's Restaurant group, Harley-Davidson, Formica, Tonka Toys, Specialty Equipment and Omega Protein.
Glazer’s first gained national business attention in 1984 when he launched an unsuccessful $7.6 billion bid to buy the government controlled freight rail company, Conrail. He was later the largest shareholder of kitchen designer Formica in 1988 and, later, with motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson. Glazer achieved control of Zapata Corporation, an oil and gas company founded by George H. W. Bush. Glazer successfully diversified it into fish protein and Caribbean supermarkets.
Glazer owned a diverse portfolio of investments, which included food service equipment, food packaging and food supplies, marine protein, broadcasting, health care, property, banking, natural gas and oil, the Internet, stocks and bonds.
Glazer purchased the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise on January 16, 1995, following the death of former owner Hugh Culverhouse. He paid $192 million - a league record at that time. Glazer served as president of the team, while sons Bryan, Joel and Edward were co-chairmen at the time.
Since coming under the Glazer family’s ownership, the club has experienced an upswing in its fortunes, winning 131 regular season games, earning seven playoff berths and capturing its first Super Bowl Championship in Super Bowl XXXVII. Prior to Glazer’s purchase, the Buccaneers had won just 87 games in 19 seasons and had advanced to the postseason just three times.
Tampa Bay also eclipsed the club record for wins in a regular season with 12 in 2002. The top five single-season win totals in club history (12 in 2002, 11 in 2005, 11 in 1999, 10 in 2010, 10 in 2000 and 10 in 1997. The team also won 10 games in 1979) have all come under Glazer’s stewardship, and Tampa Bay was the only team in the league to play in the postseason each year from 1999 to 2002. The 2007 campaign saw the Buccaneers claim their third NFC South Division title in six years, the sixth division crown in franchise history.
In January 2009, Glazer and his family hired Raheem Morris as head coach of the Buccaneers, making him the youngest head coach in the National Football League upon his appointment. In addition, the family named longtime Director of Pro Personnel Mark Dominik as the fourth general manager in club history.
On January 27, 2012, Glazer and his family hired long-time Rutgers University head coach Greg Schiano as the ninth head coach in franchise history.
Glazer devoted a significant amount of time working to make the organization more fan-friendly by greatly increasing fan activities at Buccaneers home games through the expansion of the club’s community relations and special events departments. His mandate to enhance the team’s visibility in the community was reflected through increased appearances by Buccaneer players,coaches, cheerleaders and front office officials in recent years. Since 1999, the team has also coordinated with the Glazer Family Foundation to host "Gameday for Kids", a program that has hosted over 13,000 underprivileged youth at Buccaneers home games, giving them an opportunity to spend pre-game moments on the playing field and to cheer on the Buccaneers from exclusive seats in Raymond James Stadium.
Manchester United is one of the most popular and profitable soccer clubs in the world. Glazer acquired ownership of United in a £790m takeover by gradually buying out United shareholders between 2003 and 2005. Glazer's takeover was protested by a portion of United's fans due to financial concerns. However, Glazer's stroke in April 2006 resulted in his sons Joel and Avram, taking over the day-to-day running of the club, and Glazer's family continued to control the club through his death in 2014. Despite Glazer's death, his family owned a 90% stake in the club that is equally split among Glazer's six children.
Peter King wrote of Malcolm Glazer's "quiet legacy," saying "Glazer was a stealth owner if there ever was one. The longtime owner of the Bucs—he bought them from Hugh Culverhouse in 1995—very seldom spoke publicly. Tampa Bay won one Super Bowl under Glazer’s ownership, the Jon Gruden-led title 12 years ago, after Glazer made the difficult decision to fire Tony Dungy and go with new blood. But it’s Dungy who is part of Glazer’s real legacy, both to the Bucs and to the game. The Glazers, in their two decades as owners, have hired three African-American coaches—Dungy, Raheem Morris and Lovie Smith. No other owner in NFL history has hired as many African-American coaches. That should be the significance of Glazer’s run in the NFL—he was colorblind at a time when many teams, and owners, in the league were not. “Yes, it is notable,’’ Dungy said over the weekend. “He hired me when there was still trepidation by some people. And he may not have made the final decision on Lovie, but he set the tone in the organization and he put the mindset in his sons to look at people impartially. He and I had many conversations about relationships and how you treat others. That was very important to him." No one around the NFL will remember many impassioned speeches by Glazer. But his actions spoke louder. The league should hold him up as an example of hiring the best guy."
"Malcolm Glazer was the guiding force behind the building of a Super Bowl-champion organization," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "His dedication to the community was evident in all he did, including his leadership in bringing Super Bowls to Tampa Bay. Malcolm's commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy."
In addition to his business ventures, Glazer was also involved in philanthropic efforts. He launched the Glazer Family Foundation in 1999, which is dedicated to assisting charitable and educational causes in the Tampa Bay community. During its existence, the foundation has donated millions in programs, tickets, grants and in-kind contributions. The foundation donated $5 million toward the construction of the Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa, which opened on September 25, 2010.
Glazer also oversaw the operations of the far-reaching Glazer Family Foundation’s Vision Program, created in 2006 to provide school-children with an opportunity to have vision problems identified in schools at an early age. The initiative, highlighted by the Vision Mobile, visits schools and provides eye examinations to thousands of disadvantaged children.
Glazer’s charitable activities also included the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, an organization that promotes amateur sports activities. Glazer committed $2 million to the Commission.
Malcolm Glazer was married to Linda Glazer from 1961 until his death in 2014. They lived in Palm Beach, Florida, and had five sons and one daughter:Avram Glazer, Co-Chairman of Manchester United.
Kevin E. Glazer
Bryan Glazer, vice-president at First Allied Corporation and Co-Chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Joel Glazer, vice-president at First Allied and Co-Chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United
Darcie S. Glazer Kassewitz, Co-President of the Glazer Family Foundation.
Edward S. Glazer, Director of Manchester United, Co-Chairman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Co-Chairman of First Allied Corporation, Chairman and Owner of US Property Trust, Co-President of The Glazer Family Foundation.
The Glazers attended the Palm Beach synagogue in Palm Beach, Florida.
Glazer died aged 85 on May 28, 2014, as announced by his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Glazer had been in poor health since suffering two strokes in April 2006.