George Lucas—to cut to the chase—is worth a colossal net of $7.3 billion. The California native believe it or not started off his young life with the idea of becoming a racing car driver. But while studying at Modesto Junior College, Lucas developed a keen interest film making and photography. According to his bank balance — that was a good move. It was there he met legend filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
After graduating from university in the late 60s, Lucas co-founded American Zoetrope with another great and renewed filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola.
One of Lucas’ early films, American Graffiti, won several Academy Award nominations and grossed $115 million revenue. And that’s just in America. But as you probably already guessed, his biggest success has been the enormous Star Wars franchise — which worldwide has made over $5 billion from the six films. Lucas has also helped produce other popular films such as Body Heat (1981), Labyrinth (1986), and the Indiana Jones series. Rightfully so, Lucas won The Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Film Institute in 2005.
What really banked the cash for Lucas was when, in 2012, he sold his 100% personally owned Lucas Films to The Walt Disney Company — for a staggering $4 billion. His bank manager that day was reported to be smiling.
Lucas — who has four children and survived two marriage — seems like a fun character. At some point in his early adult life, he decided he wanted to become a pilot. But his chances of that were scuppered by the Air Force who refused him due to all his speeding tickets. But any naughtiness of Lucas’ part is likely offset for demanding fans by his investment in what many call his Star Wars museum — which he is said to be ploughing a massive $700 million of his own money into.
In his philanthropic endeavours his charitable donations boast a $1 million gift to the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington.
"I am humbled to be joining such an extraordinary museum community and to be creating the museum in a city that has a long tradition of embracing the arts and architecture," Lucas said in a statement.
It’s quite ironic that one of the most successful film franchises was created by a man who claims that he only makes commercially-minded films in order to fund his own more creative ventures. Quite what these small ventures are is yet to be discovered.
George Lucas seems to embody the concept of doing what you love with ambition and tenacity. Not stopping at hurdles and growing the things you hold dear. In his case films and aliens. May the fortune be with you.