A decade before he foresaw the 1987 stock market crash, Marty Zweig was already considered a Wall Street wizard.
By 1981, the Coral Gables High School graduate had been called “the country’s hottest investment adviser” by famed business journalist Dan Dorfman. Money magazine put him on the cover in 1982, and Louis Rukeyser made him a regular on the PBS financial show Wall Street Week.
More than 6,000 subscribers were paying $95 a year for 18 mimeographed editions of The Zweig Forecast, his investment letter.
He wrote two best-selling books: Winning on Wall Street, in 1986, and Winning with New IRAs, in 1987.
On Oct. 19 that year, just as Zweig had predicted three days earlier on Wall Street Week, the market plummeted 23 percent, cementing his reputation as a financial “guru.’’
Zweig, whose three-story Pierre Hotel penthouse is one of New York City’s most lavish residences, died Feb. 18 at his South Florida home, on Fisher Island. He was 70.
Zweig had been treated for cancer, and underwent a liver transplant in 2010 with tissue from his younger son.
Born Martin Edward Zweig on July 2, 1942, in Cleveland, he grew up in Coral Gables, where he was known as Marty Gateman after his widowed mother remarried.
He attended Coral Gables Elementary and Ponce de Leon Junior High schools, played varsity basketball and ran track for the Coral Gables Cavaliers, class of 1960. In 2001, he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
Childhood friend Richard B. Bermont, a Miami financial adviser, remembered Zweig as a great poker player even in high school, and “pretty much a jokester.’’
He legally changed his last name back to Zweig when he was 21, said former wife Mollie Friedman Zweig.
Zweig wrote that his interest in finance began when the 1948 Cleveland Indians played in the World Series.
“I was the kid who knew the most about the team and had a vague idea about what batting averages mean. I had begun to love numbers. Perhaps this was a tip-off that I’d later graduate to the market.’’
He earned a bachelor’s in economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1964, later an M.B.A. from the University of Miami and a doctorate in finance from Michigan State University.
In 1984, he joined with stock picker Joe DiMenna, with whom he co-founded Zweig-DiMenna Partners, their first long/short hedge fund.
Zweig also created two closed-end funds traded on the New York Stock Exchange, according to his corporate biography: The Zweig Fund in 1986 and The Zweig Total Return Fund in 1988.
In his first book, Zweig wrote: “When playing the market, remember you must deal with probabilities, employ sensible strategies to limit risk, and get aggressive only when conditions warrant.’’
The 1996 Stock Trader’s Almanac included Zweig’s brief analysis of his own success: “I measure what’s going on and I adapt to it. I try to get my ego out of the way. The market is smarter than I am, so I bend.”
Zweig was as quirky in his private life as he was serious about investing. Last year, he hired a crane to install a yellow, 1934 Packard convertible — a birthday present from wife Barbara — in their fifth-floor Fisher Island living room.