“Pursuit of Happyness” True Story of Christopher Gardner!

Chris Gardner and son Christopher

Christopher Gardner is the owner and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Conquering grave challenges to become a successful entrepreneur, Gardner is an avid motivational and aspirational speaker, addressing the keys to overcoming obstacles and breaking cycles.

Gardner is also a passionate philanthropist whose work has been recognized by many esteemed organizations. The amazing story of Gardner’s life was published as an autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, (Amistad/Harper Collins) in May 2006, and became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller.

In paperback, the book spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into fourteen languages. Gardner was also the inspiration for the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” released by Columbia Pictures in December 2006. The movie is the #2 all-time domestic grossing drama. Will Smith starred as Gardner and received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance. Gardner was an associate producer on the film. Gardner’s second book, Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be was published in 2009.

Born February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Christopher Paul Gardner’s childhood was marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy. Gardner published his autobiography out of a desire to shed light on these universal issues and show they do not have to define you. Gardner never knew his father, and lived with his beloved mother, Bettye Jean Triplett (nee Gardner), when not in foster homes. Gardner is indebted to Bettye Jean for his success as she provided him with strong “spiritual genetics” and taught him that in spite of where he came from, he could chart another path and attain whatever goals he set for himself.

Gardner joined the Navy out of high school and then moved to San Francisco where he worked as a medical research associate and for a scientific medical supply distributor. In 1981, as a new father to son Christopher Gardner Jr., he was determined to find a career that would be both lucrative and fulfilling. Fascinated by finance, but without connections, an MBA or even a college degree, Gardner applied for training programs at brokerages, willing to live on next to nothing while he learned a new trade. Chris Jr.‘s mother left and Gardner, despite his circumstances, fought to keep his son because, as he says, “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father is, and that he isn’t going anywhere.”

Gardner earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program but became homeless when he could not make ends meet on his meager trainee salary. Today, Gardner is involved with homelessness initiatives assisting families to stay intact, and assisting homeless men and women who are employed but still cannot get by. It is estimated that 12% of the homeless population in the United States is employed; in some communities that estimate is as high as 30%. Gardner worked at Bear Stearns & Co from 1983-1987 where he became a top earner. In 1987 he founded the brokerage firm Gardner Rich in Chicago from his home with just $10,000. Gardner Rich LLC is an institutional brokerage firm specializing in the execution of debt, equity and derivative products transactions for some of the nations largest institutions, public pension plans and unions.

Dedicated to improving the well-being of children through positive paternal involvement, Gardner is a board member of the National Fatherhood Initiative, and received the group’s Father of the Year Award in 2002. He serves on the board of the National Education Foundation and sponsors two annual awards: the National Education Association’s National Educational Support Personnel Award and the American Federation of Teachers’ Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) Award.

He also serves on the board of the International Rescue Committee, which works to provide access to safety, sanctuary, and sustainable change for millions of people whose lives have been shattered by violence and oppression. Gardner is still very committed to Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, where he and his son received assistance in the early 1980’s. He has helped fund a project that creates low-income housing and opportunities for employment in the notoriously poor Tenderloin area of the city.

Gardner has also been honored by the NAACP Image Awards with awards for both the book and movie versions of The Pursuit of Happyness; Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women’s (LACAAW) 2006 Humanitarian Award; The Continental Africa Chamber of Commerce’s 2006 Friends of Africa Award; The Glaucoma Foundation’s Kitty Carlisle Hart Lifetime Achievement Award; The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA); Covenant House, Common Ground and other organizations committed to combating violence against women, homelessness, and financial illiteracy; issues of the utmost importance to Gardner.

Chris Gardner’s aim, through his speaking engagements and media projects, is to help others achieve their full potential. His practical guidance and inspirational story have made him a frequent guest on CNN, CNBC and the Fox News Channel. He has been featured on “The CBS Evening News,” “20/20,” “Oprah,” “Today Show,” “The View,” “Entertainment Tonight,” as well as in People, USA Today, Associated Press, New York Times, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Jet, Reader’s Digest, Trader Monthly, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, amongst others. Gardner has two children and resides in Chicago and New York.

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13 thoughts on ““Pursuit of Happyness” True Story of Christopher Gardner!

  1. I just want to say that this man is truely an amazing person and father. I just finished watching this movie and decided to look him up and came accross this website. I had no idea this was based on a true story, but I am so glad this movie was made to show people that with strong-will and a lot of persistent you will accomplish your goals. God bless you for everything you went through and everything you are now giving back to the community. I am still in the process of knowing what I will do with my life, but this story helped me realize I can never give up!:)

  2. i had to make this comment, i watched the movie and it brought me to tears, i went over and kissed my son

  3. This movie affected me emotionally , especially when i realized it is a true story. Really, may God bless this man. He deserves everything he achieved. His son should be so proud of him!

  4. I watched this movie today for the 5th time and it was a coincidence, I was in the middle of writing a report but was very demotivated and uninspired. I tuned the channel and I met it half way, I cried like a baby, my circumstances and situation haven’t been like Mr Gardener’s but I have been through extremely tough times. I wept like a child uncontrollably and I spoke to God and said, I will make it, It is well with me, I know I will make it.
    Mr Gardener you are a remarkable man, a rare type, you were made to be like this, you are a testimony of the word Faith, a wonderful father, fathers like you are rare… I could go on but I want to say this in the simplest way it comes, in though you continue to testify to God’s greatness: God bless you always. Amen

  5. Really i have no words to say……..touched my soul. Now the present generation cant do that thing…………..Hands Off ……Good bless you …….

  6. I truly truly love this movie and am touched and truly inspired.Im struggling so very hard as a woman and have two baby sons that I will live and do everything for.Im on Government assistance and am trying everything I can for my sons in finding work..putting in at least five applications a day and have to worry about my health as Im to have open heart surgery for the second time next year at 34 yrs old.Will Smith played Mr.Gardner beautifully in this film and when he finally gets the job it brings me to tears as well as other significant parts.Every time I need another boost of inspiration and determination I turn to this outstanding film.Thank you for making this movie about real people!!God Bless.

  7. I just want to say that this man is truely an amazing person and father. I just finished watching this movie and decided to look him up and came accross this website. I had no idea this was based on a true story, but I am so glad this movie was made to show people that with strong-will and a lot of persistent you will accomplish your goals. God bless you for everything you went through and everything you are now giving back to the community. I am still in the process of knowing what I will do with my life, but this story helped me realize I can never give up!:)
    Really i have no words to say……..touched my soul. Now the present generation cant do that thing…………..Hands Off ……Good bless you …….

  8. Toda vez que assisto é como se fosse a 1ª vez. Uma lição de esperança, determinação e superação. Linda história!

  9. I watched his movie as well. At first I hated that he struggled so much and so hard in life. I told my room mate that if the director can’t give justice to all the sufferings he endured that I would hate him, only to find out that the story is real. I had his movie viewed by my students. Definitely, he is the most inspiring person I can look up to. His life story makes me challenge to pursue the happiness that I am dreaming for. I’m sorry for his wife. It’s her lost that she didn’t stand at his side in times of trouble.

  10. I was amazed at the dedication this man had. I found this movie so inspiring that i suggest it to many people. And every new person is moved by the story, which reflects such strength of will.

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