Since its early days, California has always attracted people from all over the world seeking fame and fortune. Roughly 25% of the nation's billionaires call the Golden State home, and a significant number of them live in the Los Angeles area. From influential music moguls to innovative entrepreneurs and doctors, the billionaires at the top of the list are nearly as diverse as the city itself.

25%

The approximate number of the United State's billionaires who live in Los Angeles.

1. Elon Musk

After initially building his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal, Elon Musk is now involved in projects ranging from space travel to disrupting the transportation industry. He is worth an estimated, according to Forbes. One of his companies, Tesla is bringing luxury electric cars to the mass-market, although it continues to struggle to make a profit. Another one, SpaceX is aiming to revolutionize transportation in space. 

Musk also is the principal owner of SolarCity, a solar panel design and installation company that provides solar power systems to homeowners and businesses. One of Musk's most innovative ideas is the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system that would send travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than 30 minutes through a system of tubes. Musk was accused of making false statements regarding plans to take Tesla private, and he settled with the SEC in September 2018 and was forced to step down as chairman. Musk's net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $19.5 billion as of March 2019.

Key Takeaways

  • The top four billionaires living in California are Elon Musk, David Geffen, Patrick Soon-Shiong, and Eli Broad.
  • Elon Musk co-founded PayPal and is now more well-known as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
  • David Geffen founded Geffen Records and Asylum Records. He launched the careers of icon bands such as The Eagles, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, and Nirvana.
  • Patrick Soon-Shiong is a trained surgeon who founded and sold drug companies including APP Pharmaceuticals and Abraxis BioScience.
  • Eli Broad is one of the richest men in Los Angeles and founded KB Homes in 1957. Broad bought Sun Life Insurance in 1971 and sold it to AIG for $18 billion in 1998.

2. David Geffen

David Geffen built a music industry empire by helping to launch the careers of some of the most iconic bands in the world including The Eagles, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, and Nirvana. A college dropout, Geffen founded Geffen Records and Asylum Records, selling the latter to MCA for $550 million in 1990.

He then started the DreamWorks SKG movie studios with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and he now has a net worth of $8.6 billion, according to Forbes estimates as of May 2019. For his influence and success in the industry, Geffen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

3. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Patrick Soon-Shiong is a trained surgeon who made his fortune founding and selling drug companies. He sold APP Pharmaceuticals for $4.6 billion in 2008 and Abraxis BioScience for $2.9 billion in 2010. Soon-Shiong now runs NantWorks, which is composed of health care, technology, and communications companies established to pursue Soon-Shiong's goal of finding a cure for cancer. He bought the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Tribune for $500 million in June 2018.

Soon-Shiong is chairman of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine. He heads Cancer Breakthroughs 2020, a coalition of support for his goal of creating vaccine-based immunotherapy for cancer by 2020. According to Forbes, Soon Shiong's net worth was $7.1 billion as of March 2019.

4. Eli Broad

With an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, according to Forbes as of May 2019, Eli Broad is one of the richest men in Los Angeles. He is also among the nation's most generous philanthropists supporting education reform, medical research and the arts. He is responsible for building two Fortune 500 companies in different industries. He founded KB Homes in 1957 and turned it into one of the nation's largest homebuilders with a focus on affordable housing. He later bought Sun Life Insurance in 1971 and sold it to AIG for $18 billion in 1998.

Having turned his attention to the arts, Broad is a major art collector and spent $340 million to build his own art museum. The Broad, which opened in 2015, displays his personal collection, which is valued in the billions. The museum in downtown Los Angeles features thousands of works and offers free admission and was paid for by a grant provided by Broad and his wife.