24) Barron Hilton (down arrow)
Residence: Holmby Hills
Source of Wealth: Hotels
Net Worth: $810 million
Last Year’s Rank: 12
Background: Worked his way up the hotel empire founded by his father, starting as an elevator operator in 1951. Named president and CEO of Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corp. in 1966, where he remained until Stephen Bollenbach took the reins 30 years later. Stayed as chairman and remains director of Park Place Entertainment Corp., Hilton’s casino spin-off. Owned Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, then moved team to San Diego the following year. Trustee for City of Hope, Saint John’s Hospital and Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, and director for the Southern California Visitors Council and the Boy Scouts of America. Navy photographer in World War II.
Money Track: Owns 22.9 million shares, or about 8.8 percent of Hilton Hotels’ common stock. Because value has been halved over last year, Hilton’s paper wealth has been hard-hit. Also head of the Conrad N. Hilton Fund. Sole trustee and beneficiary of 60 percent of the trust’s income after decade-long court battle. (Roman Catholic nuns for whom his father set up the trust still receive 40 percent of its income.) Has diversified fund’s holdings by selling 24 million shares to Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, worth roughly $773 million.
Buzz: Avoids being like his father, who couldn’t let go of business and came into the office practically every day until his death at age 91. Has given Bollenbach almost complete freedom in running the company. Divides time between hobbies, which include flying, hunting, fishing and ballooning, and his family. He and wife have eight children and 15 grandchildren.