Richest BusinessWall Street
Net Worth:
$2.8 Billion
Jun 1, 1943 - Sep 27, 2015 (72 years old)
Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Investor
United States of America
💰 Compare Richard Rainwater's Net Worth

What is Richard Rainwater's Net Worth?

Richard Rainwater was an American investor and philanthropist who had a net worth of $2.8 billion at the time of his death. During his life, Richard Rainwater helped create or fix a string of companies, ranging from entertainment (Disney) and health care (Columbia/HCA) to energy (Mesa, Ensco) and real estate (Crescent). Many regard Rainwater as the father of the modern private equity business. Rainwater grew up in middle-class home. His father worked in the family wholesale business, started by his Lebanese immigrant grandfather, which sold combs and other dry goods to retail stores. His mother worked in boys' clothing at J.C. Penney (JCP) for 25 years. He was the youngest of two sons — his older brother, Walter, became an engineer – and attended public schools and the University of Texas before accepting a scholarship to attend Stanford Business School. Rainwater first got rich working for the Bass family of Fort Worth. Sid Bass, eldest of four brothers and Rainwater's Stanford classmate, hired him to manage the family's money in 1970, when Rainwater was 26. In 16 years the two men turned the Basses' $50 million oil fortune into about $5 billion, mostly through spectacular investments in public companies.

Their flagship deal was Disney — perhaps "the best deal ever," says Bonderman. Their $478 million investment in the floundering company in 1984 became billions after they used their leverage to install new management. Rainwater had done his due diligence, seeking advice on the entertainment business from Star Wars director George Lucas, among others. So he was ready when Michael Eisner, former studio chief at Paramount Pictures, called to pitch himself for the top job, preaching the virtues of picking someone from the creative side. Rainwater always looked for a big event – a blowup in energy prices, a revolution in health care reimbursements, a real estate bubble, etc. Then he looked for a powerful way to exploit the upheaval — not just to bet the trend, but turbo-charge the bet. In March 2009, Rainwater was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). The disease is rare, striking about six people in 100,000, usually in their fifties or sixties. Frequently misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, it was not even identified in medical literature until 1963. Its cause remains unknown, and its effects are devastating. Battling for his life, Rainwater bankrolled an extraordinary, and characteristically creative, campaign to seek a cure for his rare affliction. Unfortunately, Richard Rainwater died on September 27, 2015.

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