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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023


David Murdock

Age: 73

Net Worth: $700 million

Source of Wealth: Real estate, finance

Residence: Bel Air

Routinely listed as one the nation’s wealthiest people, high school dropout Murdock is known for his ability to strategically acquire and sell corporations as well as for some major league mistakes.

He is said to have nearly gone broke in 1964, in the wake of one of the recurrent housing busts in Phoenix; he had been a major home builder there. He subsequently took his last million and put it into Los Angeles property. His timing couldn’t have been better property here rose in value from the 60s through the 1980s, with some minor fluctuations.

He later acquired control of Dole Food Co. and moved its headquarters to Westlake Village from Hawaii. He remains the company’s chairman and chief executive, controlling 23 percent of its stock.

In 1990, he sold Iowa Beef Processors to Occidental Petroleum Inc., scoring a $100 million profit.

Murdock spent $285 million of his own money on the 1,800-acre Sherwood Country Club & Estates, a development for palatial homes about 40 minutes northwest of Los Angeles for which builders transplanted 1,500 California oaks. Some real estate analysts have questioned whether the development will ever be profitable.

Murdock once told a reporter, “I don’t care what it (Sherwood) costs; I am creating beauty.”

He also built two hotels on the island of Lanai, in Hawaii, based on the premise that ultra high-end resorts would attract tourists. They didn’t. He lost $168 million before selling in 1985.

Murdock, an Arabian horse aficionado, owns the Regency Club in Westwood and a 64-room manse in Bel Air.

Benjamin Mark Cole

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