Most people don’t know these celebs are sitting on huge inheritances. These super-rich stars have all been pretty low-key about the branches on their solid-gold family trees.
You already know them for being on TV, in movies or singing songs on the radio, but all of these famous people were heirs and heiresses to big-time family money before they ever stepped into the spotlight. The fame and fortune they’ve earned on their own is nothing compared to the massive amount of cash they’re all going to have in the future.
These stars all made names for themselves in the entertainment industry and managed to earn plenty of pretty pennies doing it, but none of them ever needed to work. All of these celebrities were born into famous families, family businesses or amazing family legacies that made it a lot easier for them to pursue their dreams of stardom.
Should the unthinkable happen and any of these celebs lose their major star power, they’ve got nothing to worry about. Thanks to their amazing family legacies, they’re going to have huge bank accounts no matter what they do. All of these stars stand to inherit some pretty big loot one of these days, even the ones who have already earned millions on their own.
10. Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling is famous as a reality TV queen, a former Beverly Hills, 90210 star and a total fashion diva. But let’s not forget that Tori is the daughter of Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling. If you watched TV in the 1970s and ’80s, you watched something that this man produced.
He was the most prolific producer in all of TV and still is, even though he died in 2006. Aaron Spelling was responsible for Charlie’s Angels, Melrose Place, Dynasty and too many other shows to list. Tori stands to inherit a ton as his only daughter, but her inheritance could be compromised by a long-standing, on-again, off-again feud with her mother, Aaron’s widow Candy Spelling.
9. Carly Simon
She’s got a gritty voice, great fashion sense and a mysterious past lover, but Carly Simon‘s tortured singer-songwriter cred is seriously in question once you start looking into her family history. She may have an amazing voice and a soulful sound, but Simon was never a starving artist by any stretch of the imagination.
Carly Simon was raised on classical music, Dodgers games and big time money. Carly’s dad is the founder of Simon & Schuster, still one of the biggest publishing houses in the world. As a kid, Carly went on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard (where Presidents take their kids for summer holidays), and attended Sarah Lawrence before dropping out to become a professional singer.
8. Balthazar Getty
You probably know him as Tommy March from Brothers and Sisters, but to wealth-followers around the world he’s known as a mega-heir. Balthazar Getty is the son of John Paul Getty III and great-grandson of famous Jean Paul Getty. That’s the Getty behind Getty Oil, who was named as the world’s richest private citizen by Guinness in the 1960s. As if that wasn’t enough, Balthazar’s uncle Mark is the founder of Getty Images.
So while Balthazar has been scarcely seen on TV since he left Brothers and Sisters in 2006, no worries. Oil is still a booming industry, and the family has a profitable side business, to boot.
7. Chevy Chase
The joke’s on the rest of us: Chevy Chase has every reason to taunt people who aren’t lucky enough to be him. He’s the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, and that fancy name is much more than words. Cornelius was the heir to the Crane Company, a Canadian toilet empire. As if that wasn’t enough, Chevy’s father married one of the Folger heiresses.
Chevy rose to fame quickly as the first breakout star of SNL, and became well-known for teasing audiences because they weren’t him. When you know that Chase is prepped to inherit all that toilet and coffee money, the jibe finally makes sense.
6. Armie Hammer
You might recognize Armie Hammer as both Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, but don’t start feeling sorry for him because he lost to Jesse Eisenberg in the film. The guy who plays unlucky movie characters was born into a very lucky family. His great-grandfather Armand Hammer gave Armie his name and a gigantic family fortune to go with it. Armand was the chief executive for Occidental Petroleum, which makes him an honest-to-goodness oil tycoon. Grandson Armie stands to inherit many, many millions from his vast family fortune.
He’s got looks, he’s got money and he’s got a background that sounds like a plot for Dallas. Armie Hammer’s got no reason not to smile every time the cameras point his way.
5. Brooke Shields
To many, Brooke Shields is Hollywood royalty. She exploded onto the silver screen in hits like Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon to become a movie princess. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brooke is descended from actual royalty. Her grandmother was a real Italian princess in the House of Torlonia. Her grandfather was American royalty: he was an athlete. Brooke’s grandpa was well-known tennis pro Frank Shields.
That’s not all. Brooke’s family legacy continues with her father, who was a chief executive at Revlon and Estee Lauder. That’s a lot of makeup money. Life hasn’t been all sunshine and roses for Brooke despite all the money and fame, however. The actress has publicly talked about her struggles with her family, her pregnancy and her own love life.
Don’t feel too bad for Brooke. She’s an heiress to many, many millions by virtue of her amazing family legacy. That should buy lots of therapy.
4. Edward Norton
Edward Norton‘s acting talents are well-known to audiences by now, but if his Hollywood life comes to an end you don’t have to worry about Ed. He’s the grandson of real estate tycoon James Rouse. Among many other achievements, Rouse invented the modern-day shopping mall. In other words, Edward Norton really isn’t upset at all that he’s no longer playing The Incredible Hulk.
James Rouse is credited with creating the city of Columbia, Maryland, in fact. This is where young Edward Norton was raised. Rouse received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his real estate contributions in 1995. Thanks to all this, the star of Fight Club never has to worry about working.
3. Spike Jonze
You may not recognize his face, but you probably know him for his projects. Spike Jonze directed the Beastie Boys video “Sabotage” and the film Being John Malkovich, among other projects. He wrote the screenplay for Her and won himself an Oscar in 2014 for it. But he was a winner way before that.
Spike Jonze was born Adam Spiegel, a son of the fabulously wealthy Spiegel family. Their legacy began with Joseph Spiegel, who came to America from Germany in 1848. Joseph began a mail-order business with his son in 1905 and became a powerhouse in the catalog game, selling furniture and clothing. The company survived the Great Depression, a World War and even the 1960s. Spiegel was hit hard by the later financial crisis of 2003, but Jonze is still looking at a respectable amount of family money.
2. Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper isn’t just a silver fox, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His mother is none other than legendary designer Gloria Vanderbilt, daughter of Reginald Vanderbilt. The famous Vanderbilts are an American legacy and one of the richest families in the history of the nation. The family’s business interests began in New York in 1810. The Vanderbilts owned steamboats, built railroads and collected real estate. Vanderbilt University is only one of their lasting legacies.
Anderson Cooper is another. His famous mother is still alive, but Cooper says he actually won’t inherit money when she dies. He told Howard Stern that his mother told him there’s no trust fund for him. The former Vanderbilt mansion is now Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan and the railroad business is no longer booming. Cooper makes plenty of money with CNN, and he still stands to inherit a great American legacy one day.
1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Sure, Julia Louis-Dreyfus made plenty of money as Elaine on Seinfeld, and she’s raking in money from HBO in Veep right now. But she stands to inherit billions — yes, billions — when her father passes away. He’s Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, and the family fortune is nearly $3 billion in total. Even if HBO renews Veep as many times as they will Game of Thrones, they can’t compete with that kind of cash.
Gerard was the CEO and President of the Louis Dreyfus group, one of the largest commodities firms in the world. They do shipping, sports management and everything in-between. Born in New York, Julia has never been involved with the family business. She got her start in comedy early as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and hasn’t ever looked back.
people.com, madamenoire.com, biography.com, encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org