If you’re a member of one of the biggest family dynasties, there isn’t much you have to worry about in life. The chances are that you’ve been born and raised with millions of dollars in your bank account. Some families, however, have made their millions recently and are enjoying newfound fortune.
For the first time, we can reveal some of America’s richest families. Whereas some belong to dynasties, others have worked hard to attain the fortune they have today. Let’s take a look at some of the richest dynasties, shall we?
The Wynn Family
Business: Wynn Resorts
Famous Member: Steve Wynn
The Wynn family made its fortune along the sunset strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. The American family owns some of the most prestigious hotels and casinos, including The Mirage and The Bellagio.
Recently, Wynn Resorts has taken on the water business, to modest results. The family has needed to restructure its finances to maintain its profits. The family’s most prominent member is Steve Wynn, the patriarch.
The Riney Family
Famous Member: Rodger Riney
The Riney family runs the entire Scottrade empire. Its founder, Rodger Riney, originally developed the company. Eventually, it would be bought by TD Ameritrade.
Riney was born in the 1940s. His first brush with the stock market was after his grandparents gave him ten shares of stock. He earned his education from the University of Missouri. Scottrade is known as a great company to work at.
The Lauder Family
Business: Estee Lauder
Famous Member: Leonard Lauder
The Lauder family obtained its wealth from their cosmetics company, Estée Lauder. The empire started shortly after World War II when the husband and wife founders Estée and Joseph Lauder opened its first doors.
At the time, they worked only in New York City and sold four basic products: cleansing oil, all-purpose crème, a crème pack, and skin lotion. Within two years, they’d made enough money to open their first branch on Fifth Avenue and became one of America’s first dynasties.
The Spielberg Family
Business: Amblin, DreamWorks
Industry: Filmmaking / Entertainment
Famous Member: Steven Spielberg
You’ve probably seen a Steven Spielberg film. The filmmaker is the highest-grossing director of all time, credited for creating the summer blockbuster. Films like Jaws, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park were all helmed by this guy.
Spielberg, his wife Kate Capshaw, and their children all own an estate worth approximately $3.7 billion. Much of this comes from many real estate investments and, of course, Spielberg’s film work.
The Ziff Family
Business: Ziff Davis, Inc
Industry: Publishing / Investing
Famous Member: Dirk Ziff
Recently, the Ziff family dynasty closed their hedge funds and shut down their American and London-based offices. But it doesn’t actually matter: the Ziff Brothers Investments firm will go down in history for its huge impact on Wall Street in New York.
Dirk and Robert, the Ziff brothers, have since each gone their separate ways to pursue various interests. The family’s fortune goes back almost a century, way back to William Ziff Sr.’s publishing company.
The Butt Family
Business: H.E. Butt
Famous Member: Charles Butt
The whole Butt family is based in Texas, USA. They own the famous grocery store chain, H.E.B. Grocery. The company was actually opened under slightly unfortunate circumstances back in 1905.
The original founder, Florence Butt, opened the store to offset the costs for her husband’s tuberculosis diagnosis. To their shock, the company quickly took off and became a success. Howard Butt, her son, continued to grow the organization throughout Texas.
The Jordan Family
Business: The Charlotte Hornets
Industry: Sports, Entertainment
Famous Member: Michael Jordan
You don’t get bigger than MJ. Michael Jordan, the big Number 23, shot to global fame as a player for the Chicago Bulls NBA team. His success on the court turned into many thriving ventures off the court, too.
This includes a brief acting career in Space Jam – the world’s greatest sports film. Also included are major endorsements for Nike and Hanes and his signature Air Jordan sports shoes. He and his family are resting on a fortune of nearly $2 billion.
The Hunt Family
Business: Hunt Oil Company
Famous Member: Caroline Rose Hunt
The Hunt family has been idolized not only in business but in television too. The Hunt patriarch, H.L. Hunt, was actually the real-life inspiration for J.R. Ewing on the hit series Dallas. H.L. was a businessman who struck it big in the oil business.
He founded a company based in American oil, which has now grown to include investments in other industries. H.L.’s son manages the oil part of the Hunt family businesses. His daughter founded her own business, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. This was sold after a few years.
The Cannon Family
Famous Member: Nick Cannon
Award-winning actor, rapper, and producer Nick Cannon is not just one of the country’s youngest elites: he’s also among the richest. He owes much of his fortune to his best-selling music. His earliest effort was through a rap group called Da G4 Dope Bomb Squad.
Cannon’s popularity grew thanks to some hit singles like Can I Live?, Nick’s Story, and Teach Me How to Dougie. Cannon ultimately started his own rap label, and then a record company.
The Murdoch Family
Business: News Corp.
Famous Member: Rupert Murdoch
The Murdoch dynasty is one of the media’s biggest giants. Rupert himself was born in Australia, but he was awarded American citizenship in 1985. Rupert is the one who can be credited with the expansion of the family business.
News Corp. started building its days in Australia and New Zealand, providing print and television news. Murdoch expanded the business into the UK, America, and Asia. In America, Murdoch bought Harper Collins, Fox, and the Wall Street Journal. The family’s fortune increased after they sold Fox to Disney for a whopping $70 billion. Definitely one of the most powerful dynasties out there…
The Nicholson Family
Famous Member: Jack Nicholson
Arguably one of the greatest actors of all time, three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson holds quite an amazing fortune. Aside from many lucrative film projects, Nicholson capitalized early on through various investments. Some were smart; others were totally strange.
He once bought Marlon Brandon’s former Hollywood home for over $6 million – only to literally burn it to the ground soon after. Much of his $400 million fortune comes from percentages Nicholson makes from various Batman and Joker spin-offs and merchandise.
The Koch Family
Business: Koch Industries
Famous Member: David Koch
This mighty empire is managed today by David and Charles Koch, usually referred to simply as the ‘Koch Brothers’. They’re well-known not only for heading one of the richest family dynasties in America but also for their assistance to the Republican party.
Despite tensions throughout the generations to publicly trade the company, the brothers have relentlessly fought to keep every share within its family’s hands.
The Jolie Family
Business: Jolie Pas
Industry: Film / Entertainment
Famous Member: Angelina Jolie
Jolie quickly became a part of Hollywood royalty not just as a famous daughter, but as a performer in her own right. For anyone raising questions about her talent, rewatch her Oscar-winning performance in Girl, Interrupted.
Angelina Jolie has since moved to direct and produce her own films. This means she earns a bigger slice of the box office pie, as well as her large salaries and many sponsorship deals. Let’s see if her children create dynasties of their own…
The Lucas Family
Famous Member: George Lucas
Geroge Lucas created one of the most successful and popular film franchises in history: Star Wars. Outside of simply making the films, Lucas also created special effects companies and worked on creative sound design.
In 2012, Disney bought LucasFilm for $4 billion. This makes George Lucas a multi-billionaire – not bad for making six films! He will likely go down as one of America’s most prominent filmmakers.
The Duncan Family
Business: Enterprise Products Partner
Industry: Oil and Gas
Famous Member: Randa Williams
The Duncan family can be a shining example of the American Dream in action. Dan Duncan, raised by his grandmother, grew up in poverty in rural Texas. While growing up, he wanted to try his luck in the oil industry and well, he literally struck oil with his chances.
Today, the company pulls in billions of dollars each year. And while Dan Duncan may have passed away in 2010, the company has become a family affair. He left the $10 billion estate to his children, which has since doubled.
The Dorrance Family
Business: Campell’s Soup
Famous Member: John Dorrance, Jr.
In 1897, John Dorrance created a formula to condense soup, soon making him an industry legend. If you’ve ever been stuck at home and eaten a warmed-up can of Campbell’s, then you can thank Dorrance: his family owns Campbell’s Soup.
The business has passed through the family for years, with 11 Dorrances currently running Campbell’s day-to-day affairs. Pepperidge Farms, Prego, and V8 are also parts of Campbell’s and bring in huge profits. One of America’s first dynasties!
The Marshall Family
Business: Koch Industries
Famous Member: J. Howard II
The Marshall family is another example of poor Americans striking it rich with oil, but it didn’t come without controversy. After making it big in the oil industry, J Howard Marshall married the 26-year-old model, Anna Nicole Smith. They were married for one year until his death at the age of 90.
What followed was a string of legal battles for his fortune between Smith and Marshall’s son, E. Pierce Marshall. Weirdly, by 2007 both young members of the legal fight would also end up dead, ending one of America’s strangest dynasties.
The Getty Family
Business: Getty Oil
Famous Member: August Getty
The Getty family obtained most of its fortune in the 21st century, via the oil industry. The beginnings can be traced all the way back to 1916 with George Franklin and his son, Jean Paul Getty.
Despite the enormous wealth Jean Paul Getty enjoyed throughout his life, he was famously frugal with his fortune. His story became the inspiration for the 2017 film All The Money In The World, when he refused to pay a ransom for his grandson’s kidnapping. The Gettys are generally considered one of the unhappiest dynasties.
The Simmons Family
Business: Contran Corporation
Famous Member: Dee Simmons
The Simmons family effectively made its money through corporate raiding. Harold Simmons Sr. worked at a drug store and bank examiner until he created his own capital company.
The company started completing corporate takeovers, with some being more successful than others. Either way, today the Simmons family can boast a great fortune which is often used for philanthropic causes. For example, they have donated $200 million to the University of Texas’ Southwest Medical Center.
The Newhouse Family
Business: Advance Publications
Famous Member: Donald Newhouse
The Newhouse family is one of America’s oldest and most influential media dynasties. Sam Newhouse originally started the family business, Advance Publications. He passed away in 1979, leaving his children, Si and Donald, to run the empire.
In total, the company publishes print newspapers in 25 of some of the biggest cities in the US. Online, the Newhouses are also the investors behind Reddit – ‘The Front Page of the Internet’.
The Mars Family
Business: Mars Inc
Famous Member: Jacqueline Mars
Almost one hundred years ago, Franklin Clarence Mars created a candy that would change the course of American dentistry: the Milky Way chocolate bar.
The success of the Milky Way was followed by some of your favorite candies found around the world – Twix, Snickers, Big Red gum, Skittles, and M&M’s. These would cement the wealth of the Mars dynasty and the company that shares its name.
The Greenberg Family
Famous Member: Robert Greenberg
AIG, American International Group, is a publicly traded insurance company founded by Maurice “Mark” Greenberg. Today, it is one of the largest companies in the world. Born in New York City, Greenberg was a war veteran and captain in the army.
Despite his retirement in 2005, Greenberg has often appeared to publicly criticise AIG’s new leadership. Don’t worry, the business didn’t stay in the family! That would have been awkward.
The Trinchero Family
Business: Trinchero Family Estates
Famous Member: Roger Trinchero
Much like the Gallo family, the Trinchero family is one of the biggest wine dynasties in the world. Trinchero Family Estates is America’s fourth-largest producer of wine and wine products. The estate has a huge group of companies that include more than 50 famous brands of wine.
It was 1947 when two brothers, John and Mario Trinchero, bought the Sutter Home Winery. It is located in St. Helena, California and now run by Mario’s son, Bob.
The Johnson Family
Famous Member: Abigail Johnson
The Johnson family started Fidelity Investments, an investment firm that has since grown to become one of America’s largest investment empires.
Since Abigail took over the family business, Fidelity turned into a huge international company. It employs more than 45,000 people around the world. Her personal wealth is $16.5 billion of the family’s $28.5B. This makes her one of the world’s richest women.
The McMahon Family
Famous Member: Vince McMahon
The McMahons are one of the biggest dynasties of wrestling. McMahon’s father created the WWE, a wrestling and entertainment network of shows and competitions. Vince McMahon took over the family business after him and now is the chairman and CEO.
The family has strong connections to sports and WWE. Vince was a WWE athlete and also an announcer before retiring from a stage persona. He has two children and six grandchildren who will continue in the family business.
The Ellison Family
Business: Oracle Corporation
Famous Member: Megan Ellison
Larry Ellison is the co-founder of tech empire Oracle Corporation – and is subsequently one of the world’s ten richest men. He started the company from nothing but an investment of around $2,000. Within a decade, it was considered one of the top tech pioneers.
Today, the Ellison dynasty helps finance Hollywood films. To date, they have been responsible for funding films such as Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, and a planned sequel to Top Gun.
The Walton Family
Business: Walmart, Inc.
Famous Member: Jim Walton
We know you’ve heard of Walmart. At time of writing, the Walton Family is the richest family in America. Since Bud and Sam Walton founded the company in 1962, it has grown to employ more than 2.3 million people around the world.
The company makes $514 billion every year, making the Waltons pretty rich. Even though new innovations have come to cause a dent in their monopoly, it seems that Walmart, and one of America’s biggest dynasties, is here to stay.
The Frist Family
Business: Hospital Corporation of America
Famous Member: Thomas Frist, Jr.
Thomas Frist is Tennessee’s richest man, and one of America’s richest men. He and his father created the Hospital Corporation of America in the 1960s, and the family has never been the same.
Together, they grew it past the billion-dollar mark in just a few years. From there, they chaired massive businesses including IBM. In 2009, he left the company to his son, Billy. By then, it was one of the biggest companies in the world.
The Stryker Family
Business: Stryker Corp.
Famous Member: John Brown
The Stryker family became a dynasty way back in 1941, and have dominated America’s medtech sector for 50 years. Homer Stryker, an inventor, created new types of medical equipment, most notably the mobile hospital bed.
Like most dynasties, the Strykers are known for their strong support of Democratic and more liberal causes. The family founded the Arcus Foundation – helping promote LGBTQ rights. Today, Homer’s children run the family business.
The Knight Family
Famous Member: Phil Knight
Nike founder Phil Knight is an all-American self-made billionaire. His father used to run a small newspaper but actually refused to give a young Knight a summer job. So, he was determined to learn more from finding his own way.
Sadly, Phil resigned as Nike’s CEO after the sudden passing of his son in 2004. Still, the Knight Family is one of America’s greatest success stories.
The Hearst Family
Business: Hearst Corporation
Famous Member: Patty Hearst
The Hearst family follows its wealth back to its patriarch, publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst. He was the son of a wealthy miner in San Francisco, California. Hearst used his father’s wealth to purchase The San Francisco Examiner at the young age of 24.
William II’s son now manages the media empire, today known as the Hearst Corporation. The family’s extensive roots and influence throughout American PR and magazine publishing are unparalleled.
The Kohler Family
Business: Kohler Company
Famous Member: Herbert Kohler, Jr.
If you’ve ever had a broken pipe replaced or fixed, chances are you’ve already heard of the Kohler Company. The massive Wisconsin-based corporation is one of the country’s biggest makers of plumbing accessories. It is currently run by the billionaire Herbert Kohler, Jr.
Kohler joined the family business, which has run through a long line of Kohlers. By the age of 33, he was running the daily operations of the company. The company’s financial success allowed the family to invest in other ventures, like manufacturing, hospitality, and government.
The Meijer Family
Famous Member: Hank Meijer
If you’re a Midwesterner, you’re probably all too familiar with Meijer supermarkets. Based out of Michigan, this huge private company is run by the Meijer family. It was opened by Hendrik Meijer after he entered the U.S. from the Netherlands. By the 1960s it grew, to be worth billions.
Today, the chain is managed by Hank and Doug Meijer. Together, they brought the firm into the 20th century to big success. They’ve since appointed other people to run the daily affairs. Regardless, this family business continues to grow and prosper for the Meijer dynasty.
The Green Family
Business: Hobby Lobby
Famous Member: David Green
In the early ‘70s, David Green invested all the money in his pocket – $600 – into his own business idea. Within two years, this would turn into his family’s main empire: huge arts and crafts franchised stores known as Hobby Lobby.
Green and his family own Hobby Lobby privately, and they’ve also invested money into various religious causes across the world. They’re one of the biggest dynasties in the world
The Sobrato Family
Business: The Sobrato Organization
Industry: Real Estate
Famous Member: John A. Sobrato
John A. Sobrato is a billionaire who owns one of the largest real estate firms in the country. However, he mainly has his mom to thank for much of his success. She was the one who took her inheritance and changed the real estate industry. Instead of inheriting a fortune, he inherited a thriving business.
Today, Sobrato’s three children use this massive wealth to lead their own investments – often to much success. His son owns part of the San Francisco 49ers NFL team.
The Kardashian-Jenner Family
Business: Keeping Up With The Kardashians
Industry: Media, Cosmetics
Famous Member: Any of them
With the recent news of Kylie Jenner’s billionaire status, this list of the richest American dynasties would be severely missing a mention of the Kardashians. The Armenian-American family is most famous for their reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The show is one of the longest-running reality television shows in history. It films the day-to-day life and various dramas of the Kardashian-Jenner home. The Kardashian-Jenner dynasty has side businesses in the fashion and cosmetic industries.
The Bezos Family
Famous Member: Jeff Bezos
You might have heard of a little company called Amazon. The tech giant was launched and has been run by Jeff Bezos – who has recently become the world’s richest man.
Overall, the Bezos family has a massive $137 billion fortune. In a bombshell news story kicking off 2019, it was announced that Jeff was divorcing his wife, MacKenzie Bezos. She is expected to receive $35 billion of the fortune he made over the years. Alas, one of the biggest dynasties is breaking up.
The Cuban Family
Business: 2929 Entertainment, the Dallas Mavericks
Industry: Film, Sport
Famous Member: Mark Cuban
There aren’t many names (and dynasties!) in Hollywood bigger than Mark Cuban. He founded a film company, 2929 Entertainment. One of the company’s first films was the George Clooney movie Good Night, and Good Luck. The film was a surprise success and earned six Oscar nominations.
They expanded film projects and included documentaries, too. The majority of Cuban’s fortune comes from the purchase of the Dallas Mavericks. Today, he offers words of business wisdom on the show Shark Tank. Do you watch him on TV? You can read more about his fortune here.