Joe L. Allbritton, 87, who became one of Washington's most influential men by building media and banking empires, has died.

Allbritton Communications president Frederick Ryan said Mr. Allbritton died Wednesday of heart ailments at a hospital in Houston, where he lived.

Mr. Allbritton's fortune was self-made, beginning with real estate trades and banking investments. By age 33, he was a millionaire.

His holdings include eight television stations, including WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington whose call letters bear his initials. He owned the Washington Star for several years and his son founded Politico.

He also owned Riggs Bank for more than 20 years, including its final years, which were mired in scandal. He was a fixture on the D.C. social circuit and good friends with Prince Charles. - AP