Last Updated: October 23, 2023
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$23.4 Billion
Aug 16, 1931 - Jul 26, 2016 (84 years old)
Oak Park Township
United States of America
💰 Compare Forrest Mars Jr's Net Worth

What was Forrest Mars Jr.'s Net Worth?

Forrest Mars Jr. was an American billionaire business scion who had a net worth of $23.4 billion at the time of his death in 2016. Forrest Mars Jr. served as co-president of the multinational Mars corporation from 1975 to 1999, alongside his younger brother John Mars. During his lifetime Forrest was one of the 25 richest people in America and the richest person in the state of Virginia.

A member of the prominent Mars family, he was the grandson of Frank C. Mars, who started the eponymous confectionery and food company in Tacoma, Washington in 1911. In his private life, Mars owned the 82,000-acre Diamond Cross Ranch, situated on coal- and natural gas-rich fields along Montana's Tongue River.

Early Life and Education

Forrest Mars Jr. was born on August 16, 1931 in Oak Park, Illinois as the eldest son of Forrest Mars Sr. and Audrey Ruth. He was the grandson of Frank C. Mars, founder of the Mars company, best known for its manufacturing of confectionery and food products. The company was developed into a highly lucrative business empire by Forrest Sr. through the introduction of popular chocolate candies throughout the 1920s and 30s. Mars has a younger brother named John, and a younger sister named Jacqueline who worked for the family company until her retirement in 2001. As a youth, Mars attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, graduating in 1949. He went on to attend Yale University, from which he obtained his BS in 1953. Mars earned his MBA from New York University five years after that. He also served in the United States Army as a finance officer.

Mars, Incorporated

One of the largest privately held companies in the United States, according to Forbes, Mars, Incorporated was started by Frank C. Mars in Tacoma, Washington in 1911. The company is best known for producing such confectioneries as Milky Way bars, Mars bars, M&M's, Snickers, Twix, and Skittles. Its non-confectionary food items include Combos, Ben's Original, Dolmio, and such pet foods as Pedigree, Nutro, and Royal Canin. Through its subsidiary Wrigley, Mars produced the popular Orbit gum. Additionally, the company offers veterinary services throughout the country and abroad. The Mars family has consistently been ranked among the richest families in the United States.

Forrest Mars Jr. first started working for the family business in 1959, as a financial officer. In the early 1960s, he became the general manager of a large new factory in Veghel, Netherlands. After that, Mars was appointed the managing director of Mars France. Returning to the States in 1970, he became the company's group vice president. Finally, in 1975, Mars was made co-president of the company alongside his brother John, who served as chairman. The brothers oversaw significant growth of the company over the years, as well as the move of the Mars headquarters to McLean, Virginia in 1984. Forrest Mars Jr. retired in 1999, but remained on the Mars board of directors until 2006.


Among his philanthropic endeavors, Mars donated the funds that allowed the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to reconstruct an 18th-century coffeehouse in the living-history museum Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. He also made substantial donations to the privately owned governing body of Fort Ticonderoga, a large 18th-century star fort near Lake Champlain in northern New York.

Diamond Cross Ranch

Mars owned the Diamond Cross Ranch, an 82,000-acre parcel along the Tongue River in Montana. Due to the property being situated on highly productive coal and natural gas fields, Mars was active in opposing development there.

Personal Life and Death

Mars was married a total of three times. His first wife was Virginia Cretella, with whom he had all of his children: daughters Victoria, Valerie, Pamela, and Marijke. The children served in various executive positions at the Mars company. After divorcing Cretella in 1990, Mars wed Deborah Clarke. They eventually divorced in 2010. Mars's third and final wife was Jacomien Ford, with whom he remained until his passing.

On July 26, 2016, Mars passed away in Seattle, Washington from complications from a heart attack. He was 84 years of age.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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