Top 10 Famous People Who Inherited Wealth

Some people make money by dint of hard work and the right opportunities while some are simply lucky enough to be born to the right kind of parents. And yet merely inheriting wealth does not propel you to the front pages of magazines and tabloids; for that you need to have style, panache and a plain knack for making the news. Here are ten famous people who appear to have it all – good looks and good bucks, on account of being born into money.

  1. Paris Hilton

    The first name that comes to the mind when words celebrity and heiress are used together is perhaps that of Paris Hilton. She is the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels, and is believed to have a current net worth of $100 million. Born in New York City and raised in California and New York, Hilton began a modeling career as a teenager when she was with Donald Trump’s modeling agency, T Management. Her hard-partying lifestyle and million-dollar splurges for trifles has led her to earn a position as a daily fixture in entertainment news. Even though she has done bit roles in movies like Zoolander (2001), Wonderland, The Cat in the Hat and House of Wax, Hilton is more recognizable for her appearances in reality shows like The Simple Life, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend and Paris Hilton’s Dubai BFF.

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  2. Ivanka Trump

    Yet another example of the celebutante or a figure who is famous merely for being famous is Ivanka Trump, daughter of Czech model Ivana Trump and American business magnate Donald Trump. Ivanka started out as a model while still in her teens during this time she walked fashion runways for Versace, Marc Bouwer and Thierry Mugler and did advertisement campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger and Sassoon Jeans. Eventually she spent two years at Georgetown University, then transferred to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude in 2004 with a B.A. in Economics; in fact her days as a college student was featured in HBO documentary Born Rich , which explored the gilded lives of Trump and other young wealthy people like her. Currently she is Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at The Trump Organization. She is one of the boardroom judges on her father’s reality show The Apprentice Jamie Johnson.
  3. Jamie Johnson

    Jamie Johnson is another of the trust fund babies who had it all right from the time he arrived in this world. He is one of the great-great-grandsons of Robert Wood Johnson I who had co-founded Johnson & Johnson, a global giant in the field personal care. After a young adulthood of parties and carefree living, Johnson decided to attend New York University, where he majored in American history. Johnson is now chiefly famous for directing the HBO documentary Born Rich in which he not only interviewed his friends and peers about the experience of being born into tremendous wealth, but explored his own experiences  of being born with the proverbial silver spoon. Though the documentary soured Johnson’s relations with his friends from the New York elite and even with some from the Johnson family, he went on to make a second film, The One Percent about the implications of a society in which one percent of the people control nearly half the total wealth. The film was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 29, 2006.
  4. Alexandra Hilfiger 

    More popularly known as Ally, Alexandra Hilfiger is the daughter of Tommy Hilfiger. Ally has been helping her father design clothes from a young age and on one occasion designed clothes for his H by Hilfiger brand. Her father also gave her the opportunity to help design a Hilfiger store in Westchester, New York. She has also attended the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and is supposed to be running her own vintage-accessories business, according to a 2006 British Vogue article on fashion designers’ children. In 2008 A film of Hilfiger’s recent art was exhibited in the Chelsea Art Museum, a project she has been working on with her painting partner Francesco Civetta.

    However Ally Hilfiger is best known for her appearance in MTV’s 2003 reality show Rich Girls along with her then-best friend Jaime Gleicher which the two co-produced. In the aftermath of the show though Hilfiger went to rehab and she and Gleicher fell out.
  5. Kim Kardashian

    American socialite and reality TV actress, Kim Kardashian is best known for her appearances in Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the E! Reality series that she shares with her family, and its spin-offs including Kourtney and Kim Take New York. However she first came to public attention as the subject of a sex-tape subject that later resulted in a court awarding her $5 million. She has been involved in the production of several lines of clothing and fragrances. In 2010, she was the highest earning reality star, with estimated earnings of $6 million. Even before Kim gravitated to a celebrity life, she was comfortably off as the daughter of successful attorney Robert Kardashian who gained national recognition as O. J. Simpson’s friend and defense attorney during the latter’s 1995 murder trial.
  6. Jade Jagger The only child of British rockstar Mick Jagger and  Bianca, a Nicaraguan model, actress and philanthropist, Jade Jagger is no stranger to luxury. . In her early years, Jagger and her family lived on London’s fashionable Cheyne Walk in Chelsea  and even after her parents divorced, she accompanied her mother on jet-setting Manhattan life. A former lingerie model, Jade is now known as a jewelry designer and socialite. Best known in accessory circles for her gig as creative director at Garrard, Jade had created the “Jagger Dagger,” a sword boasting an 18-carat white gold hilt studded with 12 carats of brilliant-cut diamonds, 42 pale sapphires, and inlaid with a central blue lapis lazuli square. She is currently the face of the up-and-coming brand Eleven Paris in its Fall 2010 ads.
  7. Stella McCartney Another child of a star singer who however became famous for more than her last name is Stella McCartney. She is the daughter of former Beatles member Sir Paul McCartney and the late American photographer and animal rights activist, Linda McCartney. Unlike the partying and spending excesses that seem to be a staple with young heiresses, Stella despite being born to fame and riches – thanks to her father’s success as a Beatles singer – had a relatively grounded childhood. Stella and her siblings attended local state schools in East Sussex, one of them being Bexhill College. Interested in designing clothes since her youth,  at age thirteen, she made her first jacket. Three years later, she interned for Christian Lacroix, working on his first fashion design collection, honing her skills working for Edward Sexton, her father’s Savile Row tailor for a number of years.

    She studied her foundation at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the early 1990s. In 2001, Stella McCartney launched her own fashion house under her name in a joint venture with Gucci Group (now the PPR Luxury Group) and showed her first collection in Paris. Since then she has diversified to launching perfumes, skincare products, lingerie collections and most recently a clothing line for newborns and young children.
  8. Doris Duke

    At one time known as the World’s richest girl, Doris Duke was an American heiress, horticulturalist, art collector, and philanthropist. Duke was the only child of tobacco and electric energy tycoon James Buchanan Duke and his second wife, Nanaline Holt Inman, widow of Dr. William Patterson Inman. After her father’s death, Doris along with her mother were the prime beneficiaries of the Duke estate; even though the total value of the estate was not disclosed, it was estimated variously at $60,000,000 and $100,000,000 1. Doris was presented to society as a debutante in 1930, aged 18, at a ball at Rough Point, the family residence in Newport, Rhode Island and the event marked the highlight of contemporary social calendar. Apart from the highly generous terms of her father’s will, Doris continued to  receive large bequests from her father’s will when she turned twenty-one, twenty-five and thirty years of age.
  9. Gloria Vanderbilt

    Gloria Laura Morgan Vanderbilt is an American artist, author, actress, heiress and socialite but also noted as an early developer of designer blue jeans. She is a member of the Vanderbilt family of New York, one of the earliest industrial barons of America and also mother of media personality Anderson Cooper who anchors a prime news show on CNN.

    Gloria became heiress to a half share in a five million dollar trust fund upon her father’s death from cirrhosis when she was just fifteen months old. The rights to control this trust fund while Vanderbilt was a minor belonged to her mother, who traveled to and from Paris for years, taking her daughter with her. However a conflict soon arose in the Vanderbilt family over the mother’s philandering ways and this was followed by a famous custody trial that became the lead story of 1934. Vanderbilt’s mother lost the battle and Vanderbilt became the ward of her Aunt Gertrude. As a young adult Gloria went to the Art Students League of New York. She became known for her artwork, giving one-woman shows of oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels and later diversified into designing apparel, jewelry and luxury accessories.
  10. Barbara Hutton

    Dubbed as the ‘poor little rich girl’ by the media for her troubled life, Barbara Hutton serves as an example of the conventional adage that money can’t buy happiness. Her mother, Edna Hutton committed suicide when Barbara was five years old. In keeping with New York’s high society traditions, Barbara Hutton was given a lavish debutante ball in 1930 on her 18th birthday. The event was said to cost $60,000, an astronomical sum given that those were the days of the depression and inevitably, the news led to a deluge of public criticism. In 1924, Barbara Hutton’s grandmother died and she went on to receive one-third of that estate, or about $28 million which though was held in a trust fund administered by her father. By the time of her 21st birthday in 1933, her father had increased the amount to about $42 million, which is roughly equivalent to roughly $2 billion in today’s standards, thus making Hutton one of the wealthiest women in the world at the time. However her personal life was far from happy – Hutton married seven times, the marriages often being mere ruses for the husbands to get their hands on her immense wealth. . She was especially abused by  the Danish Count Curt Haugwitz-Reventlow, with whom though she had her only child, a son named Lance. The end of her life was marked by tragedy as Lance died in an air crash in 1972 and her fortunes began to dwindle – it is believed that at her death, only $3,500 remained of her vast wealth.