The Forbes list of billionaires holds many household names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and various members of the Walton family, but not every name on the list is one you would probably recognize. Let's take a look at four of the lesser-known billionaires that Forbes mentions. (For a chance to make billions on your own, check out Making It Big On Wall Street.)
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1. Joe Jamail
Born in Texas, Joe Jamail is the richest practicing lawyer in America. He graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in 1953 and he has represented many companies including Penzoil, for which he won a $10.5 billion verdict against Texaco. After over 500 jury trials, he is known for advocating for his clients in an aggressive manner. Charitably inclined, he has given money to Rice University, The University of Texas and opened the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark in Houston.
2. Anne Cox Chambers
Born in 1919, Anne Cox Chambers was the 20th richest person in the United States in 2010. With 98% ownership, she is the primary owner of the privately held media company, Cox Enterprises, which has television stations and publishes newspapers like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Palm Beach Daily News. Her father, James M. Cox, founded Cox Enterprises and was a Democratic candidate for president in 1920. The 90-year-old Cox Chambers is a supporter of the arts and has a wing named after her in Atlanta's High Museum of Art. Cox Chambers was married twice and has three children, one of whom is actor, dancer and choreographer James Cox Chambers. In 1981, she was appointed Ambassador to Belgium and has served as a director on the board of Coca-Cola Company and Fulton National Bank.
3. Donald Bren
As the son of a Hollywood-producer father and civic-leader mother, one might not expect David Bren to be in such a practical career as real estate, and had history unraveled differently, he might not have been. Bren graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree in business administration and then tried out for the Olympic ski team in 1956. An injury rendered him unable to qualify, so Bren moved on to join the Marine Corps where he served as an officer.
During this time, Bren built his first house in California with the help of a small loan. Shortly after this, he started several companies that focused on real estate ventures in various areas. In 1977 he and a group of partners bought the real estate company and developer Irvine & Co., which, at the time, was 145 years old. But Bren isn't just about developing land into real estate; he also has a 93,000 acre ranch that has been permanently protected and features parks and trails open to the public.
4. Abigail Johnson
Daughter of Fidelity Investments CEO Edward Crosby Johnson III, Abigail Johnson works as Fidelity's President of Personal and Workplace Investing Unit. Johnson is a Harvard Business School graduate with a history as a consultant, equity portfolio manager and senior executive. In 2010 she was listed as the United States' 22nd-richest person while her father was listed as the 33rd. In 1993, Johnson ran her own diversified fund, and she is currently believed to be the likely successor to her father. 49% of Fidelity's ownership is with the Johnson family, but it is unknown how that percentage is divided among family members. She currently serves on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a nonpartisan research organization created with the purpose of improving how capital markets are regulated in the United States.
The Bottom Line
Each of these lesser-known billionaires has his or her own story. They each have causes they support, their own education and life history and their own career paths and goals. While they may not be household names like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, they definitely leave their own indelible mark on the world. (To read more, see The 10 Greatest Entrepreneurs.)