William Barron Hilton
Net Worth: $560 million
Source of Wealth: Hotels
Residence: Holmby Hills
William Barron Hilton, son of legendary hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, spent his early years resisting the pull of the family business. He worked as a Navy photographer, got into the Southern California orange juice business and worked at an aviation leasing firm before relenting and joining the family business in 1951.
Hilton served as president of the company from 1966 until last year, when he lured Walt Disney Co. financial whiz Stephen F. Bollenbach away from the magic kingdom to become Hilton’s first non-family president.
Barron Hilton, who owns just under 25 percent of the firm, remains the company’s chairman and still plays an active role in Hilton affairs.
Most recently, Hilton an avid poker player and Bollenbach have been steering the company into gaming, with a number of casino and riverboat gambling projects worldwide. The company last year purchased Bally Entertainment Corp. in a $3 billion deal, making Hilton the nation’s largest gaming company; about half of the chain’s $1.6 billion in annual revenues come from gambling operations.
Hilton currently is engaged in a hostile bid to take over ITT Corp., parent of the Sheraton hotel chain.
Hilton also formed the Chargers football team in Los Angeles in 1960; he moved the franchise to San Diego a year later and sold the team in 1966.
Married, with eight children and a dozen grandchildren, he spends much of his time at his ranch in Nevada, where he hunts, fishes, and flies his helicopters, airplane and balloons.