How Did 1980s Actress Jami Gertz Become The Richest Actor In The World? With An $8 Billion Fortune!!??

By on July 10, 2023 in ArticlesBillionaire News

As an actress, Jami Gertz is probably best known for starring in 1980s films like "Less Than Zero" and "The Lost Boys." But Jami has come a long way from acting alongside the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim and Andrew McCarthy. Today Jami Gertz is a multi-billionaire.

Jami Gertz is the richest actor on the planet.

In terms of the richest celebrities in the world overall, Jami's $8 BILLION net worth leaves her tied for second… tied with Steven Spielberg! Only George Lucas is richer, thanks to his $10 billion Star Wars/Disney fortune.

So, how did a moderately-successful 1980s actress come to be so insanely wealthy? In short, she married well. Very, very, very well.

BUT! Before you judge Jami and assume an actress married a rich guy for his money. That's not the case. When Jami met Antony Ressler back in the mid-1980s, SHE was very much "the catch" in the relationship.

And the year they actually married, 1989, is the year Antony's employer collapsed in one of biggest scandals of the 1980s. A scandal that sent the firm's leader to jail and caused a global financial "junk bond" crisis.

When they actually got married, SHE was the bread-winner. SHE bought the couple's first home and paid for all of their early vacations.

So who is Antony Ressler and how did he recover from the "junk bond" collapse and eventually become one of the richest financiers on the planet? With an $8 billion fortune that bought the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and made Jami Gertz the richest actor in the world?

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Meet Cute

Jami and Tony met at a dinner party in Ressler's Los Angeles apartment in the mid-1980s. He asked her to brunch. Post brunch, he sent her a dozen roses to the dressing room of the small theater on Santa Monica Boulevard where Gertz was performing opposite Jason Patric in a play.

At the time she would have been around 22 and he would have been around 27.

When they met, Tony was a senior vice president in the high yield bond department (aka "junk bonds") at a company called Drexel Burnham Lambert. In 1989 Drexel Burnham Lambert, which was infamously run by "Junk Bond King" Michael Milken, collapsed into bankruptcy. The collapse was so catastrophic, it sent the financial markets into a recession for years and ended the 1980s boom times in one fell swoop. Michael Milken subsequently spent 22 months in prison and paid a $200 million fine.

Apollo Global

In the wreckage of Drexel's collapse, in 1990 Antony and three former co-workers co-founded the private equity firm Apollo Global. His co-founders are Leon Black, Josh Harris and Marc Rowan. Fast forward to the present and Apollo Global has more than $500 billion in assets under management. Apollo is publicly traded (NYSE ticker: APO) with a market cap of $45 billion.

Leon Black was actually already his brother-in-law thanks to Black's 1976 marriage to Antony's sister Debra Ressler. Today Leon is worth $11 billion. When Leon and Debra paid $38 million in 2016 for Tom Cruise's Beverly Hills mansion, their real estate agent was Sharyn Gertz. Jami's sister.

Today Josh Harris is worth $8 billion and, perhaps more importantly, is the majority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, the New Jersey Devils of the NHL and the Washington Commanders of the NFL.

Marc Rowan doesn't own any sports teams but he is worth $6 billion.

Ares Management

Antony actually left Apollo in 1997, just seven years after the firm was founded, to co-found an asset management firm he named Ares Management. Today Ares Management has $350 billion in assets under management. Ares is also a publicly traded company (NYSE ticker: ARES) with a market cap of $28 billion

$8 Billion Fortune

Between his stakes in Apollo and Ares (vast majority comes from Ares though), Antony Ressler's net worth is $8 billion.

Jami and Tony have not sat idly on that fortune. They are consistently among the most generous people in the world. They have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to various charities, notably LA's Cedar Sinai Medical Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Jami directs the couple's donations through the Ressler-Gertz foundation. Gertz-Ressler High Academy, a member of The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, is named after the couple. They are the founding members of Painted Turtle Camp, an organization that pays for children with chronic and fatal illnesses on camping trips.

And as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, Jamie and Tony are the majority owners of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks!

Their first sports team investment occurred in 2005 when they chipped-in as minority investors in purchasing the Milwaukee Brewers. They still own this investment.

As a massive Lakers fan, Antony's original dream was to own an an NBA team. Assuming the Lakers would never sell, the next best options was the Clippers. Unfortunately, when the Clippers went up for sale in 2014, they were out-bid by Steve Ballmer's $2 billion offer. An off that at the time seemed other-worldly.

A year later Jami and Tony paid $850 million to become majority owners of the Atlanta Hawks.

Jami and Tony have three sons. The family owns over $100 million worth of real estate in Los Angeles alone, most notably mansions in Beverly Park and Malibu.

And btw, even with an $8 billion fortune Jami still acts from time to time!

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