Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$950 Million
May 22, 1928 - Sep 11, 2019 (91 years old)
Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Investor, Financier
United States of America
💰 Compare T. Boone Pickens' Net Worth

What was T. Boone Pickens's Net Worth?

T. Boone Pickens was an American business magnate and financier who had a net worth of $950 million at the time of his death in 2019. At various times during his life he was certainly worth more than $1 billion, perhaps as much as $3 billion, but with sliding oil prices and his out-sized charitable donations, Boone was not a billionaire in 2019 when he died. He also gave away well over $1 billion during his lifetime and was a member of The Giving Pledge.

Though T. Boone Pickens amassed his fortune through the acquisition and resale of oil companies, towards the end of his life he became an outspoken advocate for the use of alternative energy sources. He founded Mesa Petroleum in 1956. Under Pickens' watchful eye, Mesa grew quickly and eventually became one of the largest independent oil companies in the world. Meanwhile, he acquired other mostly bigger companies like Hugoton Production Company, Gulf Oil, Philips Petroleum, and Diamond Shamrock.

In 1989, he moved to Dallas where he set up BP Captial Management eight years later. In 1997 Pickens established another company called the Pickens Fuel Corp to promote the use of natural gas for automobiles. The company was renamed Clean Energy in 2001, and six years later, Pickens first started warning the public against high oil prices. In June 2007, he started promoting the world's largest wind farm that would produce up to four gigawatts of electricity. Only one year later, he came up with a bigger proposal, The Pickens Plan, meant to reinvent US energy resources by promoting oil-alternatives such as natural gas, wind power, and solar energy. Pickens was a generous contributor to various charities and Universities including Oklahoma State University, The University of Texas, as well as relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, and various other programs supporting the well-being of families, children, teenagers and animals.

In 2018, Boone sold his Gulfstream 550 Private Jet and listed his 68,000 acre ranch in Texas for sale for $250 million. The ranch finally sold in February 2023 for $170 million.

T. Boone Pickens died on September 11, 2019 at the age of 91. During his lifetime, Boone gave more than $1 billion to a variety of charities, half of which went to his alma mater Oklahoma State University. As of this writing his donations to Oklahoma State top $625 million.

Early Life and Education

Thomas Boone Pickens Jr. was born on May 22, 1928 in Holdenville, Oklahoma to Thomas Sr. and Grace. When he was 12, he was introduced to the business world as a newspaper delivery boy. The Pickens family relocated to Amarillo, Texas in the late 30s. For his higher education, Pickens went to Texas A&M University on a basketball scholarship, but lost his scholarship after being cut from the team. He subsequently transferred to Oklahoma A&M University, later renamed Oklahoma State University, from which he graduated in 1951 with a degree in geology.

Mesa Petroleum

After graduating from college, Pickens began working for the Phillips Petroleum Company, where he remained until 1954. Two years after leaving that company, he founded what would become Mesa Petroleum. Undergoing enormous expansion over the decades, Mesa grew into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world by the early 80s. Pickens oversaw the company's first major acquisition, a takeover of the Hugoton Production Company. Following that, he initiated both solicited and unsolicited buyout bids for other oil and gas companies. Among Pickens's most heavily publicized deals were attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Unocal, and Phillips Petroleum. Meanwhile, his successful takeovers of Pioneer Petroleum, Tenneco, and especially Gulf Oil secured him national notoriety as a corporate raider.

In 1989, Pickens and Mesa moved to suburban Dallas. The company soon descended into a deep financial rut, and in 1996 was sold to financier Richard Rainwater. Subsequently, Rainwater's wife Darla Moore had Pickens removed from Mesa. In 1997, the company merged with Parker & Parsley Petroleum to form Pioneer Natural Resources.

Other Business Ventures

Following his exit from Mesa, Pickens founded the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He closed the company in 2018 due to his declining health. Pickens also founded the Pickens Fuel Corporation, which was reincorporated as the Clean Energy Fuels Corporation in 2001.

T. Boone Pickens/Getty Images

Political Activities

Pickens was often involved in political activities during his career, mostly on behalf of the Republican Party. He made major donations to both the Texas and national campaigns of George W. Bush, and also donated heavily to Republican 527 organizations. Infamously, Pickens helped finance the "Swift Boat" challenge, in which he offered $1 million to anyone who could dispute claims the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth made against John Kerry in the group's political attack ads.

Alternative Energy

Somewhat paradoxically for an oil and gas man, Pickens was substantially involved in the push for clean energy. In 2007, he announced his aim to construct the world's largest wind farm by installing wind turbines in four counties in the Texas Panhandle. However, Pickens abandoned the project in late 2010 due to utility companies declaring wind power too expensive.

In the summer of 2008, Pickens announced the Pickens Plan, a major energy policy proposal advocating for a radical reduction in the US's dependence on foreign energy resources. The Plan promotes an increase in alternative energy such as wind and solar, and also calls for the country's commercial transport sector to leave behind OPEC diesel for natural gas.


Pickens was very active on the philanthropic front. He made over $1 billion in donations to his alma mater of Oklahoma State University, helping to create an athletic village north of the Stillwater campus. Other contributions went to academics. Pickens also made various humanitarian donations during his life, including to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort and to a pair of University of Texas healthcare institutions. Among his other contributions, he donated to the medical faculty at the University of Calgary; the Downtown Dallas YMCA; Jubilee Park; and Happy Hill Farm, a residential school for at-risk youth.

Personal Life and Death

Pickens was married and divorced a total of five times. He was wed to his first wife, Lynn O'Brien, from 1949 to 1971; they had four children named Deborah, Michael, Thomas III, and Pam. Pickens was married to his second wife, Beatrice Carr, from 1972 until 1998. Subsequently, in 2000, he wed Nelda Cain, whom he eventually divorced in 2004. The year after that, Pickens married Madeleine Paulson, the widow of Gulfstream Aerospace founder Allen E. Paulson; they divorced in 2012. His fifth and final wife was another widow, Toni Brinker, to whom he was wed from 2014 to 2017.

On September 11, 2019, Pickens passed away at his home in Dallas following some years of declining health. He was 91 years of age.

Mesa Vista Ranch

In 1971 Boone purchased just under 3,000 acres of land in Roberts County, Texas. Over time he added increased his acreage to 65,000 and added palatial private estate that he called Mesa Vista Ranch. The sprawling primary mansion has 5 bedrooms and a 30-seat movie theater. There are a half dozen guest houses and a 33,000 square foot lodge that has seven bedrooms. There's also a 12,000 square foot lake house that has 4,000 square foot porch. At one point, Boone purchased his childhood home in Oklahoma and had it transplanted into the Texas estate. The property also featured a runway and an airplane hangar where he stored several private jets, allowing him to fly in and fly out at his pleasure.

Here is a video tour:

Two years before his death, Boone listed the ranch for sale for $250 million. It was finally purchased several years after his death, in February 2023, for $170 million.

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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