Mad Dog's Tales

Even in a place and time known for excess, Jeffrey Beck, a "rainmaker" who drummed up merger deals for Wall Street's Drexel Burnham Lambert, stood out as one of the most colorful takeover specialists ever to don a power tie. Nicknamed "Mad Dog" for his courage under fire, he regaled friends with tales of his jungle-patrol days in Viet Nam. He talked of his Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and four Purple Hearts. He often told colleagues that he stood to inherit a multibillion-dollar fortune from the German brewery family of the same name.

Soon Beck's celebrity spread beyond the financial...

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