America's Heirs and Heiresses Who Inherited Impressive Fortunes
The term "heir" feels like it belongs in the Gilded Age, along with surnames like Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Nonetheless, quite a few Americans still reap the benefits of a lofty inheritance.
While money doesn’t grow on trees, folks like Olivia Wilde and Anderson Cooper certainly know that it can make change—especially when it’s passed down. Read on to get our two cents on 31 of America’s wealthiest heirs.
Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe Gates | 10 million
Bill and Melinda Gates have three children and are often ranked second in lists of the wealthiest families in the world. Their kids—Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe—can expect to see some inheritance from their parents one day. However, it may not be as much as you were expecting.
Even though the Microsoft founder has a whopping $103.8 billion net worth, Gates and his wife helped launch the Giving Pledge. By taking the pledge, the couple have promised to donate most of their money to philanthropic causes. This means the Gates kids will have to vie over a much lower figure.
Scarlett Johansson | 140 million
In the case of heiress Scarlett Johansson, the apple — or wealth — doesn’t fall far from the tree. Though the world’s highest-paid actress made a name for herself in Hollywood, she certainly had a leg up in her youth, financially speaking.
Her parents — successful architect Karsten Olaf Johansson and film producer Melanie Sloan — raised Johansson and her siblings in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Moreover, Johansson’s paternal grandfather was a Danish art historian and film director. Now, the BAFTA Award-winning actress stars in Avengers: Endgame (2019), which made roughly 2.8 billion.
Olivia Wilde | 20 million
Though Olivia Wilde has made a name for herself in shows like The O.C. and House and in films like Tron: Legacy (2010), she’s also an heir. Her mother, Leslie Cockburn, produces and writes for 60 Minutes, and her father, Andrew, is also a journalist.
Growing up, Wilde lived in the well-off Georgetown neighborhood of DC and summered in Ireland. Not long after she adopted her Oscar Wilde-inspired stage name, Wilde married Italian aristocrat Prince Tao Ruspoli. Contrary to popular belief, she did not seek spousal support following their divorce.
Recently, Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart (2019), made $22.7 million in theaters.
Billie Lourd | 25 million
Billie Lourd is not only actor and writer Carrie Fisher’s daughter, but the granddaughter of Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds as well. From Singing in the Rain (1952) to Star Wars (1977), Lourd’s family is entrenched in the business of making movies.
Despite her mother’s wishes, Lourd wanted to pursue acting as well. She nabbed her first roles in the TV show Scream Queens and in Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens (2015), working alongside her mother.
In 2016, both Fisher and Reynolds tragically passed away within a day of one another. Lourd inherited not just her mother’s estate, but her legacy as well.
Tinsley Mortimer | 28 million
Socialite, model, reality TV star, and heir—this High Society personality proved that you really can have it all. And that "everything" includes marrying an oil magnate and having your own signature shade of Dior lipstick.
Even before her rise to fame, Tinsley Mortimer never wanted for anything. George Mercer, her father, is a real estate developer and investor. Tinsley Mortimer’s mother, Dale, is an interior designer. Even her grandfather found success with the Mercer Rug Company.
Unfortunately, the Real Housewives of New York star was arrested in 2016. And that led to some purse tightening.
Paris Hilton | 69 million
Despite being a successful hotelier for some time, Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather, Conrad, founded the Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1946. After his death, his son Barron (Paris’s grandfather) contested Conrad’s will since the bulk of the estate was promised to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
However, the "like father like son" motto persists. Barron announced that he intends to donate 97% of his $2.3 billion fortune to the Foundation. This leaves just $69 million for his heirs.
Luckily, Paris’s The Simple Life stint, film appearances in Bling Ring (2013) and House of Wax (2005), a best-selling album, and successful perfume lines add to her personal fortune. It’s rumored that her sole net worth is around $300 million.
Edward Norton | 80 million
This three-time Oscar-nominated actor is the grandson of James Wilson Rouse. That name doesn’t mean anything to you? That’s fair. Rouse founded both The Rouse Company, which deals in urban planning, and real estate entity Enterprise Community Partners.
Though Edward Norton might be known for popularizing Fight Club (1999), his grandfather popularized something a bit different.
In 1958, Rouse’s company constructed Harundale Mall in Maryland. As the first enclosed shopping center east of the Mississippi, it was a trendy destination. And "mall" soon became a colloquial way to refer to shopping centers.
Kate Hudson | 80 million
Kate Hudson has many Hollywood connections, some of which account for her inheritance. Her mother is legendary film star Goldie Hawn and her biological father is actor Bill Hudson. Even her stepfather is an icon: Kurt Russell.
But Hudson has some starpower—and wealth—in her own right as well. Her breakthrough role came in 2000 when she received an Oscar nomination for her work in Almost Famous.
Since then, Hudson has starred in The Skeleton Key (2005) and Fool’s Gold (2008). She even started her own fashion label, Fabletics.
Anderson Cooper | 110 million
Ah, nothing says "old money" like "the Vanderbilts." (Except maybe "the Rockefellers.") Anderson Cooper’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, connects him to this Gilded Age success story. Back in the day, the Vanderbilts were known for their triumphs in shipping and railroading.
But Cooper took a much different path. Though he’s known as a successful journalist and news host today, he was a Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren model before college. Another contemporary Vanderbilt? Actor Timothy Olyphant of Deadwood fame.
Abigail Disney | 120 million
Abigail Disney is the granddaughter of Roy Disney, Walt’s brother and business partner. Like other Disney heirs, she’s stayed out of the limelight since the family’s direct ties to The Walt Disney Company dwindled.
Despite her inherited wealth, Disney is an outspoken activist who believes passionately in equal pay and human rights. After a recent visit to Disneyland, she was appalled at the terrible treatment of workers.
Disney remarked, "Bob [Iger, Disney CEO] needs to understand that he is an employee just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk… they're entitled to the same dignity and human rights that he is."
Kylie Jenner | 130 million
Expecting Kylie Jenner to rank higher on our list? Well, you wouldn’t be too far off. Thanks to her successful company, Kylie Cosmetics, Jenner is a wealthy entrepreneur in her own right. But she’s also set to inherit some money—though the sum is much smaller than her current paycheck.
The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star is the daughter of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, who have net worths of $30 million and $100 million, respectively. But with a net worth of $1 billion, Jenner certainly doesn’t need any of her parents’ money to maintain her swanky lifestyle.
Balthazar Getty | 200 million
Balthazar Getty, whose given name is "Paul," is heir to the Getty Oil fortune. His uncle, Mark Getty, certainly used this leg up to do impressive things, including founding Getty Images. And Balthazar has a successful track record of his own.
As a child, he starred in Lord of the Flies (1990) and went on to appear in films like Lost Highway (1997) and Natural Born Killers (1994). Now, he produces music for rap duo The Wow.
Like many heirs, he’s also added "philanthropist" to his epitaph by supporting The Lunchbox Fund.
Jaden and Willow Smith | 240 million
Jaden and Willow Smith are the children of rapper-turned-actor Will Smith and actor, singer and businesswoman Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jada has a net worth of over $20 million, while Will clocks in at 220 million. But Jaden and Willow are millionaires already.
Jaden has a sole net worth of roughly $8 million after starring in The Karate Kid (2010) and Netflix’s The Get Down. He also rapped on Justin Bieber’s 5x Platinum hit "Never Say Never."
Willow has also found success in music and acting, reaching a net worth of $4 million. Her first single "Whip My Hair" hit #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Willow has also lent her voice to installments in the Madagascar franchise and to cartoon hit Adventure Time.
Megan Ellison | 360 million
Megan Ellison’s father Larry Ellison is the co-founder and CTO of Oracle. This means that he’s worth a lofty $71.6 billion, but, like many other tech giants on this list, he won’t be passing billions on to his kids. Larry has pledged to give away 95% of his fortune through the Giving Pledge.
But that doesn’t mean Megan’s gotten the short end of the stick. On her 25th birthday, she inherited upwards of $200 million. Thanks to this generous gift, Megan founded Annapurna Pictures, the production company behind films like Her (2013), If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), and Booksmart (2019).
Ally Hilfiger | 400 million
Daughter of designer Tommy Hilfiger, Ally Hilfiger is best known for starring in MTV’s Rich Girls. The show was a reality TV first that followed her and then-best friend Jamie Gleicher around as they spent their parents’ money in extravagant and reckless ways.
Ally famously hated how the show portrayed her, claiming the editing turned her into a brat. After a few stints in rehab for drug use, she turned to activism.
Since being diagnosed with Lyme disease, Ally wrote a book, Bite Me, to spread awareness of the condition. "My story is not unusual, but it needs to be told," she says. "If only to give others a voice for theirs."
Prince, Paris, and Michael Jackson | 500 million
At the time of his passing, Michael Jackson’s estate was valued at over half a billion dollars. His three children, Prince, Paris and Michael (whose given name is Blanket), were initially put under the care of their grandmother, Katherine.
For childcare purposes, Katherine received an alleged $1 million stipend, in addition to money for the kids’ school tuition. After many years of disputes, the childrens’ guardianship has changed.
Additionally, the children share an $8 million yearly allowance. Though we aren’t privy to the particulars, it’s likely that they’ve collectively inherited upwards of $80 million since 2009.
Zachary and Elijah Furnish John | 550 million
And you can tell everybody these are your funds... Singing all the way to the bank certainly takes on a new meaning here. Zachary and Elijah Furnish-John, the children of Elton John and David Furnish, will want for nothing, according to their superstar father.
Back in 2011, the couple reportedly turned an entire adjoining apartment into Zachary’s nursery. All for a mere $2 million. Of course, this comes as no surprise when your father is as successful as Elton.
In addition to sold out concerts, Elton reportedly has the second best-selling single of all time at 33 million copies sold. Containing both "Candle in the Wind 1997" and "Something About the Way You Look Tonight," the single was a tribute to the late Princess Diana.
Suri Cruise | 595 million
Suri Cruise is famously the daughter of Dawson’s Creek alum Katie Holmes and star of the Mission: Impossible series Tom Cruise. Holmes has a net worth of $25 million—and Cruise? A cool $570 million. This means Suri could inherit nearly $600 million.
And Suri has always been the light of her parents’ lives. So much so that no expense is spared. Allegedly, Holmes spent $100,000 on her daughter’s second birthday, including a $5,000 cake.
For Suri’s fifth birthday the budget was reportedly slashed way back to a tight $20,000.
North West | 610 million
North West is the first-born child of reality TV’s most infamous couple, entrepreneur Kim Kardashian and musician Kanye West. Thanks to Keeping Up With the Kardashians and her successful products and mobile games, Kim is worth north of $370 million. Her husband is worth $240 million.
This means North’s parents combined worth is over a half billion dollars.
At the age of five, North landed her first solo magazine cover. And even though this is a landmark moment, she still has a lot to look forward to. After all, Kanye famously promised her a cool $10 million when she turns 21.
Kate, Robert Maxwell, William, and Amanda Iger | 690 million
Robert "Bob" Iger is Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. He oversaw much of Disney’s expansion, starting with the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios in 2006. Since then Bob (and Mickey) have gobbled up Lucasfilm, Marvel Entertainment, and 21st Century Fox.
Iger has also overseen the creation of two new Disneyland theme parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai. With nearly all of your favorite franchises being taken in by the DCU (Disney Company Universe), that means Bob is seeing some great returns.
His four kids—Kate, Robert Maxwell, William, and Amanda—are sure to inherit some of that Disney magic.
Maxima and August Zuckerberg | 750 million
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, and pediatrician and philanthropist Priscilla Chan have two young children. Their first daughter, Maxima, was born in 2015; their second daughter, August, was born two years later.
Thanks to Facebook’s success, their wealth exceeds $75.5 billion. The couple plans to give away 99% of their Facebook shares to their joint Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
And, despite both signing the Giving Pledge, there will still be upwards of $750 million left for their children to inherit.
Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper Beckham | 900 million
Even though he’s retired from playing professional soccer, David Beckham has a reported net worth of $450 million. Meanwhile, Victoria Beckham, Spice Girls singer-turned entrepreneur and fashion mogul, matches that with her own $450 million net worth.
This means their four kids—Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, and Harper—are heirs to nearly a billion dollars. But the Beckham clan isn’t just looking to rest on their parents’ laurels. Brooklyn is an accomplished photographer and artist. Romeo is a model and bonafide Instagram star with over 200,000 followers.
And the younger ones in the Beckham brood are also finding their passions. Cruz released a single in 2016 called "If Every Day Was Christmas" to benefit the Make Some Noise charity, which helps disadvantaged children and their families. And Harper? She accompanies her mom on fashion shoots and watches the FIFA Women’s World Cup matches with her dad.
Teresa Heinz Kerry | 1 billion
Teresa Heinz Kerry is a business woman in her own right, but also the widow of John Heinz, ketchup heir. (That’s right.) Heinz Kerry is a frequent donor to charities, particularly environmental ones.
In fact, she founded Second Nature, which helps college campuses maintain sustainable and environmentally conscious practices. Currently, she serves as the Chair of both the Heinz Endowments and the Heinz Family Philanthropies.
In 1995, she married former US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Blue Ivy Carter | 1.5 billion
At just seven-years-old, Blue Ivy Carter’s sole net worth is around $10 million already. Her mother, esteemed singer and businesswoman Beyoncé, has a net worth of over a half billion dollars. And, according to Forbes, her father Jay-Z is the first hip-hop artist to become a billionaire.
Two days after Beyoncé gave birth to Blue Ivy, Jay-Z released a song called "The Gift," detailing their pregnancy struggles. At the end of the track, you can hear Blue Ivy’s newborn cries. This track made her history’s youngest person to hit the Billboard charts.
Blue Ivy also made her singer-writer debut on The Lion King: The Gift, a companion record to the 2019 film. She is the featured vocalist on the hit track "Brown Skin Girl."
Ariana Rockefeller | 2.8 billion
John D. Rockefeller often tops "wealthiest person" lists, so it’s no wonder one of his descendents would show up here. Ariana Rockefeller is an heiress to the Standard Oil dynasty, but she’s turned to pursuits outside of the family business.
For a time, she interned at the United Nations. But then fashion caught her eye and she began a successful line of handbags. Like many in her family, she’s turned to philanthropy as well. One cause near and dear to her heart is the Humane Society.
Kate and Rooney Mara | 5.75 billion
Where to begin with the breakdown of the Mara sisters’ money? Well, their parents both have familial ties to successful National Football League (NFL) teams. Rooney Mara has even described football as "the glue that holds our family together."
Their father is connected to the New York Giants, a franchise that’s worth $3.3 billion. And their mother is linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise that’s worth $2.45 billion.
If that weren’t enough, the sisters are of course wildly successful actors. Kate Mara has a net worth of $14 million thanks to roles in hits like House of Cards and American Horror Story. Meanwhile, Rooney has garnered a net worth of $12 million after appearing in big-name films such as Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Her (2013), and Carol (2015).
Paige Laurie | 6 billion
Bud Walton is known as the co-founder of Walmart. His daughter, Nancy Walton Laurie, inherited quite a bit from him when he passed away. Next in line? Paige Laurie. Unfortunately, Paige has run into some bad press.
According to her college roommate, Paige paid said roommate $25,000 to ghost write papers for her. In the wake of the controversy, Paige surrendered her University of Southern California degree.
However, these lapses in judgement haven’t stopped her from living like the rich and famous. Though her marriage ended, the wedding had a guest list totaling 600 people and fireworks that were "better than Macy’s and Disney," according to blogger Shabina Florentine.
She also used some of her Walmart inheritance to buy a Beverly Hills mansion for an alleged $40 million.
Victoria Mars | 6.6 billion
Four generations ago, Victoria Mars’s relatives founded Mars Inc., the popular candy manufacturing company. And it was a great investment, netting the company tens of billions of dollars annually. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate?
Victoria’s first job was brand manager for the Milky Way candy bar. And, clearly, her know-how was out of this world as she climbed her way to the board of directors. Now she owns a whopping 8% of the company.
She also founded the Livelihoods Fund, which promotes sustainable farming and agricultural practices.
Dylan Lauren | 6.7 billion
As you may have gathered from her last name, Dylan Lauren is the daughter of fashion designer and business executive Ralph Lauren. With her father’s net worth coming in at a towering $6.7 billion, Dylan could just rest easy. Instead, she’s become an entrepreneur.
After finding inspiration in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1971), she founded Dylan’s Candy Bar in 2001. The candy store has become so successful that Dylan has garnered a sole net worth of $50 million. That’s a lot of gobstoppers.
Patty Hearst | 28 billion
This granddaughter of businessman and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst has led a very interesting life. Patty Hearst became an internationally known person after her 1974 kidnapping by a left-wing domestic American terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army.
As a result of alleged brainwashing, Patty was later involved in the notorious Hibernia Bank robbery. Her prison sentence was commuted—and President Clinton eventually pardoned her. Nonetheless, her best-selling memoir, Every Secret Thing, must make for an enthralling read.
In a total 180, Patty appeared on a variety of TV shows, like Veronica Mars, and in the films of John Waters. Her daughter, blogger and model Lydia Hearst-Shaw, is also an heiress.
Preston Bezos and His Siblings | 165.6 billion
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is this decade’s John D. Rockefeller. (Sorry, Ariana.) That is, he’s known to be the richest person in the world. Jeff and his former wife, MacKenzie Bezos, have three biological sons and one adopted daughter. But these heirs have an air of mystery about them.
Despite their father’s fame, not much is known about them—including their names. Nonetheless, it’s public knowledge that Jeff hasn’t signed the Giving Pledge like other tech moguls. (Though, following the divorce, MacKenzie signed it.)
This means his kids are all set to inherit a pretty penny—free same-day delivery included.