Although Hammer went to work in the family drug store and soon graduated from Columbia with a degree in medicine in 1921, it was the world of business, not medicine, where he distinguished himself.
Although Hammer owned a considerable share of stock and served on the board of directors, the Church & Dwight Company's brand name, Arm & Hammer, originates more than 30 years before Armand Hammer was born.
Energy, not baking soda, was the business Dr. Armand Hammer was best known. After successfully leading the family drug store and other business ventures, Dr, Hammer acquired control of the California-based oil exploration and production company Occidental Petroleum, a company he ran for decades. In 1986, Forbes Magazine estimated his net worth at $200 million.
A philanthropist and collector of fine art, his personal acquisitions form the core of the permanent collection of the UCLA Hammer Museum, located next to the Occidental Petroleum headquarters building in Los Angeles.
Hammer was also a political activist, donating to Republican candidates and helping the son of his close friend, Al Gore, Sr., win an election to the US Senate. Hammer also worked throughout the Cold War to improve US-Soviet relations and to improve the lives of those in communist countries. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, but never won.
He married several times and had one son. His great-grandson and actor, Armand Douglas "Armie" Hammer became known for his portrayal of the Winklevoss twins in the 2010 film The Social Network, and will play the title character in the 2013 film Lone Ranger.
In 1990, Hammer lost his life to bone marrow cancer at the age of 92. He was buried in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, across the street from the Occidental Petroluem building and the Armand Hammer Museum.