From Ralph Lauren to Oprah Winfrey, 10 Individuals With Humble Beginnings Who Became Billionaires

Sep 23, 2023

By: Sagarika C

10 extraordinary self-made billionaires

Becoming a billionaire is more than just a stroke of luck; it's a story of relentless dedication, unwavering determination, and perseverance. Like the iconic Oprah Winfrey, these ten extraordinary individuals began their journeys with meager means but for...

1. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison, the Oracle founder and former CEO, grew up in a modest neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. His childhood was marked by a cramped apartment and the care of his great-aunt and great-uncle, who had faced financial setbacks during the Depress...

2. Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the largest U.S. casino company earned his fortune through hard work, and had a net worth of $29.8 billion at the time of his death, Forbes reports. Born to Eastern European Jewish immigrants and raised in a tough Bosto...

3. Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm, the youngest of 13 children, grew up in the care of Oklahoma sharecroppers, where he toiled barefoot in the cotton fields as a child. Despite these humble beginnings, Hamm, now the founder, chairman, and CEO of oil company Continental Resources, h...

4. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren, the renowned fashion brand celebrated for its polo shirts and upscale ties, has an unmistakable presence. Yet, it's intriguing to note that the visionary fashion designer once faced financial constraints so severe that he couldn't even ...

5. Kenneth Langone

Kenneth Langone, a self-made billionaire and key figure in Home Depot's founding, emerged from modest beginnings. Despite his mother's occupation as a cafeteria worker, Langone experienced a childhood filled with love, instilling in him the resilienc...

6. John Paul DeJoria

John Paul DeJoria, worth $3.2 billion per Forbes, rose to mogul status through Patrón Spirits Co. and Paul Mitchell Systems, despite a foster care background. His humble upbringing in LA's Echo Park neighborhood didn't deter him. Even with just 27 ce...

7. Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz, the Chairman and CEO of Starbucks has played a pivotal role in the company's remarkable journey to become a global coffee retail giant with a staggering 23,000 stores in 73 countries and a market value of approximately $85 billion. Accordi...

8. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey's astonishing $2.8 billion net worth, per Forbes, isn't a result of family wealth but a testament to her own hard work. Born to a teenage single mother in Mississippi, she faced a childhood without running water or electricity. Winfrey&...

9. Alan Gerry

Alan Gerry, now worth $1.5 billion (per Forbes), emerged from Liberty, N.Y., amid the Depression. His father struggled as a frozen food distributor. Gerry, a Marine during WWII and a high school dropout learned TV repair with GI Bill aid. In 1956, he invested ...

10. J.K. Rowling

In a 2013 interview with the Daily Mail, J.K. Rowling discussed her struggles as a single parent before her Harry Potter books made her the world's highest-paid author. She recalled going without meals so her daughter could eat and facing nights of financ...