Net Worth: $800 million
Source of Wealth: Real estate, finance, agriculture
Residence: Bel Air
David Murdock likes diversity. He made his fortune in such unrelated ventures as real estate, canned fruit and truck chassis. He's also not afraid to take risks and has sometimes paid the price.
Murdock, a high school dropout, was once a major real estate developer in Phoenix, but is said to have gone nearly broke in 1964 in one of the city's recurrent housing busts. Then he took his last million and invested in L.A. property, which rose in value from the '60s through the '80s.
He later acquired control of Dole Food Co. and moved its headquarters to Westlake Village from Hawaii. In 1990, he sold Iowa Beef Processors to Occidental Petroleum, scoring a $100 million profit.
Real estate has been a recurring theme, mainly in California, Hawaii and Arizona, where he owns resorts and commercial property. Years ago, he built two hotels on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, hoping the high-end resort would attract tourists. That didn't happen, and he took a $168 million loss in 1995.
Another troublesome development is the 1,800-acre Sherwood Country Club & Estates, for which Murdock spent $285 million of his own money. Only about 40 percent of the project's homes have sold.
One of his highest-profile developments is Murdock Plaza on Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, which he recently sold (though he still owns the exclusive Regency Club on the top floors). In addition to real estate and Dole Food, Murdock owns the nation's largest truck-chassis leasing company, brick and tile companies, an air-conditioning operation, and an Arabian horse farm. He's also a dealer of antiques.
Murdock owns several homes, including a mansion in Bel Air he bought for $12.4 million in 1980, a horse ranch in Hidden Valley, a lodge in North Carolina and a 12-room apartment in New York City. A notorious optimist, the twice-divorced and once-widowed Murdock is reported to have said, "My Dad died at 93, but he didn't take care of himself."
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